Shipping Tarantulas USPS

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Shipping Tarantulas USPS

Proposal to redefine and allow the shipping of tarantulas, including theraphosid spiders and other harmless pet arthropods and similar animals used for research in general from section 8.5 (Harmful Matter—General), of the USPS Domestic Mail Manual currently categorized as “harmful” in section: 601 Mailability, part “b”.

I’d like to propose slight changes or at least some consideration thereof regarding the “mailability” of tarantulas in USPS regulations. In short (and upon request I can provide citations, references and scientific literature supportive that) tarantulas are not harmful, nor medically significant to people. In a general sense, tarantulas (as per USPS guidelines and biological definition) are initially covered as “mailable” under the category “small, harmless cold-blooded animal”.

However, current USPS guidelines section 8.5 item “b” further defines tarantulas as not safe to ship, or as they word it, harmful, quoted as follows:

“Harmful Matter—General
Except as provided in this document, any article, composition, or material is nonmailable if it can kill or injure another or injure the mail or other property. Harmful matter includes, but is not limited to:
a. All types and classes of poisons, including controlled substances.
b. All poisonous animals except scorpions mailed for medical research purposes or for the manufacture of anti-venom; all poisonous insects; all poisonous reptiles; and all types of snakes, turtles, and spiders.
c. All disease germs or scabs.
d. All explosives, flammable material, infernal machines, and mechanical, chemical, or other devices or compositions that may ignite or explode.”

Item “b”, although not technically accurate excludes tarantulas from USPS shipping because they are “poisonous” in the same sense we refer to such animals that are “venomous”. Semantics aside, tarantula venom is not considered harmful to humans and thus any live tarantula should be considered a "harmless arthropod".

It should be noted here that the shipping of scorpions and bees are allowed under regulations for specific reasons. Despite any exceptions made by USPS to allow their shipping, bees and scorpions are certainly medically significant to humans, a fact no one can dispute. Scorpions and bees cause significant recorded numbers of human deaths annually. There are no recorded human deaths attributed to the bite of a tarantula.

It may be noted here that tarantula venom is currently the subject of a wide variety of scientific research. Live specimens are needed at research centers. Recent studies reveal that peptides in the venom may provide the key to discovering long-range cures or treatments for MS and heart disease in humans. Tarantula venom varies widely in chemical composition and their effects on people. Other than routine concerns over a small puncture wound, bite symptoms range from none to mild swelling and pain depending upon the individual. The most important distinction for tarantulas is they do not cause human deaths. Scorpion and bee stings are accountable for many deaths, thus are more worthy of special handling procedures and earning the label “hazardous”.

Another point to consider in these troubled economic times is the exotic pet trade. Although a small percentage of pet sales overall, the tarantula hobby as we know it depends on the ability of the pet trade and our favorite exotic animal dealers to ship animals to us safely and inexpensively on demand. Those of us participating in arthropod breeding projects, educational endeavors, and private research rely upon the postal system to ship male and female specimens of rare species. If there were no means to transport our animals safely and cheaply around the country the entire infrastructure of the hobby would collapse, bringing down small business owners as well. So, a part of this proposal to change existing regulations in favor of shipping tarantulas is meant to ensure that small businesses can continue to operate, educational/research projects can proceed, and captive breeding of livestock may continue unobstructed as well.

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As a tarantula owner, I would love buying and shipping through USPS. It would make buying and selling them much easier. They are harmless animals that make great pets, you can't get them just anywhere though!
Iawoman a tarantula pet owner I deal with all kinds of tarantulas everyday and love them as if it were a dog or cat though you can not ship dogs or cats in mail and someone looking for a cool pet go for Tarantula's please take it in consideration that these animals are harmless and will not hurt anyone i have tons of tarantulas if it wasn't for hobbyist like us or researchers some of these animals would be extinct but because there are people like me and others alike we have saved millions from extinction these animals are the best pets and we love them and the education is fun to learn please. We ask you to look upon us and give us this chance to share this hobby with others alike.
I have been breeding, selling, shipping tarantulas for over 8 years. I use fedex for shipping and the process are outrageous. How is it that when considering tarantula "venom" to be a reason why it is "harmful" to ship......even though you can ship scorpions, they have venom as well......all scorpions and tarantulas have venom but the majority are harmless. Tarantula venom is milder than what you attract from a bee sting and NOT medically significant. I've never heard of anyone dying from a tarantula bite. I HAVE heard of people dying from scorpion stings. How is it that you allow shipment of one animal that has been known to cause deaths.......and refuse to allow the shipment of an animal that has no "recorded" human deaths by bite?
They are not poisonous creatures. They are V-E-N-O-M-O-U-S. Big difference. You can eat a scorpion. It's not poisonous. But don't get stung by one. It's venomous...the widowhunter, JP.
This is absolutely ridiculous, allow the shipping of tarantulas, our nation is being run by pussies
I agree, tarantulas are harmless as long as you respect them. My 3 year old and 4 year old daughter's love to hold even some of my biggest species. Thanks for listening.