If You Live Here, Prepare to See Thousands of Tarantulas, Experts Say
Residents of this one area of the U.S. should prepare for a major influx of these furry spiders soon.
Catching an unexpected glimpse of a daddy longlegs spider in your home can make even folks who'd barely call themselves arachnophobes jump. A wolf spider sighting outdoors can frighten even the most intrepid explorers. And encountering a hairy tarantula can cause virtually anyone to freeze up.
Unfortunately for folks of one particular area in the U.S., there's about to be an influx of not just a few or a few hundred, but thousands of tarantulas in the near future. Read on to discover where you can expect these furry arachnids to show up this year.
Colorado will see an influx of tarantulas starting this month.
Starting in August, Colorado—particularly the southeastern part of the state—will see a sudden uptick in its tarantula population.
The sudden influx of thousands of tarantulas, which typically begins between late August and September, according to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences (via The Gazette), is part of the arachnids' annual migration. For the Aphonopelma vogelae tarantula, more frequently found in the southwestern portions of the state, migration peaks in October.
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The tarantulas die off shortly thereafter.
While seeing thousands of tarantulas descend on your area may be disconcerting, their presence is typically short-lived.
According to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences, following their migration, the tarantulas are active for a short period of time, but "all normally perish within a couple of months."
Multiple states will see an uptick in tarantula activity due to mating season.
The Colorado-based tarantula migration isn't the only major shift in habitats these furry arachnids may be making this year, however.
According to Christopher Vitek, PhD, an associate professor of biology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (via ValleyCentral.com) during their mating season between March and October, tarantulas frequently emerge from their usual habitats in states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
If you encounter a tarantula, do not touch it.
While tarantulas are unlikely to do harm to most humans, it's wise to give them a wide berth if you encounter one in the wild.
"Their venom is of no medical significance, and contrary to popular belief, nobody has ever died from such a bite; most people compare the bite to that of a bee sting and experience no lasting ill-effects other than mild to moderate pain and slight swelling at the site of the bite," explains Brent Hendrixson, PhD, chair of biology at Millsaps College. Hendrixson says that if you do find a tarantula somewhere it shouldn't be—inside your home, for example—and don't feel comfortable picking it up, gently coax it into a jar with a soft-ended object like a paintbrush and remove it from the premises.