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Tarantulas emerge from the Underground to mate in the San Francisco Bay Area



  • A wave of warm weather in the San Francisco Bay Area has prolonged the mating season of tarantulas.
  • Hikers have reportedly spotted male spiders scurrying across paths in search of females.
  • Tarantulas look scary to some people, are harmless to humans.
  • For more information, visit the Business Insider homepage.

Every year, when the summer ends, male tarantulas make an advertising season. The fuzzy arachnids flit across the streets and parks in the western United States and travel up to a mile in search of partners (though male tarantulas often die on the fangs of their spider lovers).

Typically the mating season of tarantulas begins in late August and ends in the second week of autumn. The warm, dry weather in Northern California has prolonged this year's mating season there, so residents of the San Francisco Bay Area spotted tarantulas this week. Many determined men have stayed on the trails in Mount Diablo State Park.

"Great season, seen only once a year," said Al Wolf, the reptile rescue director of Sonoma County, to CBS San Francisco.

for this particular spider

North American tarantulas (50 species that fall under the genus Aphonopelma) are known to cover up to 1

mile – a long walk for a spider whose legs are as long as our fingers – to find a partner. Usually, however, the males prefer to stay a few inches away from their burrows.

As soon as a tarantula finds the lair of a potential companion and fights off other males for advertising rights, she almost knocks on the front door: Burrows are Covered by a silk net, the worshiper knocks on the net and tries to lure the woman outside.

When she agrees and comes out, the female tarantula picks up the sperm of the man who has conveniently already placed the spider on the net. But then she will eat him if the arachnid in love lasts too long.

"If the woman is hungry, she can make her fearful worshiper her next meal," said the National Park Service.

Even men who survive their sexual encounter are usually dead in early November.

 Tarantula

A tarantula creeps through Tulare County, California.

David ~ O / Flickr


Tarantulas in action

Male tarantulas typically weigh less than an ounce and are 2.5 inches long. They move alone and prefer traveling at dusk, so spider detection is challenging.

Californians looking for a tarantula are facing an extra challenge this week as Pacific Gas & Electric has shut off 800,000 customers across the state. The move is designed to reduce the risk of sparking, which can cause fires in dry, windy conditions.

California is not the only state where an annual migration of tarantulas takes place. In August, tens of thousands of brown Oklahoma tarantulas roamed the area around La Junta, Colorado, in search of females.

Read More: Thousands of Tarantulas Move to Colorado Area

Tarantulas are safe for humans, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, though they look scary to some. The toxins released by their fangs are not detrimental to a creature of human size, though the burning hair on their tummy may cause mild skin and eye irritation.

"It's often the most beautiful spider in the group, it's the smaller spiders we're always having problems with, those big ones often do you nothing," Wolf told CBS.


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