Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Be On the Lookout for Tarantulas

Warm Autumn Days Bring Tarantulas Out to Mate

It's getting to be the time of year when in certain parts of North San Luis Obispo County the tarantulas will be hunting at night. I first saw this one at the beginning of September in 2012 while I was walking on Santa Rita Road in Templeton. Look for them at dusk in September and October.

Tarantula, ©B. Radisavljevic
Tarantula in the Wild in Templeton, California

How Dangerous Are Tarantulas?

 Although many people are afraid of these large spiders because of their size and because they are hairy, most people have nothing to fear from them. They don't bite unless they feel cornered, and even if they do, it affects most people no more than a bee or wasp sting. Only those who are allergic need to worry.

Another defense the tarantula has is microscopic hairs or bristles on its abdomen that can break off when touched or even be thrust at an attacker. These hairs can irritate the attacker's skin. What I would really fear being stung by, though, is the tarantula's main predator, the tarantula hawk. See related articles below.

Where do Tarantulas Live?

Tarantula Burrow, ©B. Radisavljevic
Tarantula Burrow
Some tarantulas make their homes, or burrows, in trees, but the ones I have seen live in the ground. This is one of the burrows I saw near where I saw this tarantula. Notice the spider's silk around the entrance.

Learn More About Spiders in These Handy Reference Books

The books below are my go-to books for identifying and learning more about spiders and insects. The middle one is just right for children. For an even great selection, see more reference books and children's books on spiders at Amazon.

Have you ever seen a tarantula  where you live? Where did you encounter it? Are you afraid of tarantulas?
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