Quote Originally Posted by HelpYouWalk View Post
Kicking hairs? Sorry but I've never heard that, mainly because I'm not a spider person. Can you explain for me. Thanks
Excellent question and more than happy to. For a basic guide to tarantulas I would suggest reading this thread. It touches on some of it.

First off, urticating (literally nettlesome or irritating) hairs are not "hairs" as we would think of them. They are rather extensions of the exoskeleton and are technically called trichozomes (I think, would have to look it up to be positive). Calling them hairs is useful as that's what they look like and people are lazy.

In tarantulas they are only found in new world (Americas) genera. If I remember right all new world genera except Psalmopeus have them. The purpose of them is to serve as a defense mechanism. They are typically located on the abdomen (opisthosoma) of the tarantula, with some a few exceptions such as the genus Ephebopus, where they are found on the pedipalps of the tarantula. When threatened a tarantula can kick them off using a hind leg to form a cloud of hairs that can pierce the skin and otherwise irritate the target. Some genera such as Aviculariacan't kick their hairs, rather they press them into the target. Which I hear is worse.

The severity varies by species and by target. There are a number of kinds of hairs and they range from a little itchy, to painful and blistering. They can have a chemical component as well. For humans it's not so bad usually. Some people are allegic. Others (like yours truly) seem immune. For smaller creature getting "haired" can be lethal as it can be inhaled and cause edema. For humans getting hairs into the eyes or nose is BAD and will require a visit to the doctors office but with proper care it should not be a problem.

I can go on but I have Christmas presents to buy!