You can physically remove the tarantula fang with scissors or another tool, but you can’t truly defang a tarantula. The fang will grow back when the spider molts anyway, so the defanging will be ineffectual.
The question here is also why would you defang a tarantula in the first place? The fangs are essential for the tarantula both for attacking and self-defense, and they will also use them for eating or capturing prey.
Can You Defang a Tarantula?
It’s possible to remove a tarantula’s fangs, however, this is a cruel practice that would render the spider unable to hunt and eat, and the fangs would regrow the next time the tarantula molts anyway, so any perceived positive effects would be short-lived.
You might have heard about the phenomenon of having a defanged tarantula. This is a very common tactic by pet stores who claim their tarantulas are “defanged”, by which they’re meaning to tell you that their tarantulas will never bite you. But there’s a bit of false advertising at play here.
You can never fully defang your tarantula, even if you’d like to. The tarantula will regrow the fangs with the next molt, so doing this would essentially be pointless. If you see a pet store that is offering you a defanged tarantula, then you need to be wary of this.
If you still decide to defang your tarantula, make sure that you do it safely and that you provide it enough food for the time being. You need to know that if you have removed the fangs, you’ve made it harder for the tarantula to eat and hunt properly, so you’ll have to adjust their diet accordingly.
Why Would You Defang a Tarantula?
Some people claim that defanging a tarantula will get them to stop biting you. While this might be true for the time being when the fangs are not there, these will grow back when the spider molts anyway.
And the myth that tarantulas bite their owners is also overblown. Many tarantula owners will tell you that with good care and careful handling, the tarantula will almost never bite you.
Most tarantula bites don’t pose a serious health risk to humans, but can still cause pain and swelling as well as pose an infection risk.
The reason for this is that many people in the West and the United States own the so-called New World tarantulas – these are tarantula species that live in the West. And these tarantulas are much milder and not as aggressive as the Old-World tarantulas. They have weaker venom and are much slower to bite.
Defanging a tarantula is pointless and cruel. Many pet shops use defanging as a marketing gimmick to try to sell more tarantulas, ignoring the fact that most tarantulas are not aggressive and rarely bite.
So if you are wondering whether you should do it if you’re worried about the tarantula bites, then we deeply recommend that you don’t do it.
Reasons Not to Remove Tarantula Fangs
Here’s what you should know about defanging a tarantula and why it could potentially be dangerous for the spider.
1. Tarantulas Don’t Bite Often
If you’re worried that your tarantula will bite you with its fangs and you want to remove them because of that, then you should not worry. Many tarantulas are quite peaceful and will only bite if they feel cornered or without other options.
If you take good care of your spider and make sure that it gets plenty of food and enough space to move around, then bites will simply not happen. You will also need to be careful with how you handle your spider to prevent bites.
Read More: The Most Venomous Tarantula
2. The Fangs Will Grow Back
The second reason why you should not defang a tarantula is that these fangs will grow back anyway, which will render your efforts worthless. Younger tarantulas, especially, will grow these fangs back very quickly, because they molt often.
The fangs will grow back after the next molt, so the defanged tarantula might be without its fangs for just a few days or weeks. This is something you should be aware of if you’re considering defanging your spider.
3. Tarantulas Need Their Fangs to Eat
Perhaps the biggest reason why you should not defang a tarantula is that the fangs are such an important part of their existence. They allow the spider to survive and eat, as they will use these fangs to chop up their food and to hunt.
Defanging your spider will result in the spider losing its ability to eat properly, which in the short term, might result in starvation and potentially death. So make sure that you are aware of these factors before you consider defanging your tarantula.
The fangs are also crucial for hunting, so if you plan on letting the spider out now and then, then it will need these fangs. And without them, it will not be able to hunt insects or other animals it hunts.
Read More: What Do Tarantulas Eat?
You can defang a tarantula if you decide to remove its fangs, but the problem is that these fangs will grow back after the next molt. Also, defanging a tarantula is cruel because the spider would not be able to eat properly without its fangs.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.