SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Football, Oktoberfest, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes can only mean one thing: Tarantula Mating Season is here again. The hairy spiders will be on the prowl from now through Halloween, looking for love. Horrifying to think about, but ultimately they’re harmless to humans. Here’s everything you need to know.
Karen Shackleton, tarantula Hike Leader at Mount Diablo State Park explains that female tarantulas can live to be 25 to 30 years and the males out there mating are 3 to 7 years old. And no, the female doesn’t always devour the males. That only happens if it’s been a long time since she’s eaten; just watch out if she’s “hangry.” The males do die soon after mating, but it’s usually due to predation, exposure, or starvation!
Tarantulas usually eat insects, but some varieties make meals out of frogs, toads,and even mice. But never humans. Their bites are painful, but their venom is weaker than a bee’s. But that doesn’t mean you should go man-handling them. They’re very delicate, with very fragile exoskeletons. And they have one real method of defense: barbed hairs that they flick from their abdomens- and you don’t want to get those in your eyes.
Tarantula experts remind us that when out on a hike, the best way to capture wildlife is with your camera. We’re already itching all over, so you don’t have to tell us twice.