August 6, 2021
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 of the United States, there’s about to be an influx of not just a few or a few hundred, but thousands of tarantulas in the very near future, Best Life reports.
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.
But take heart: 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.”
And you won’t be the only one watching where you walk and sit. 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 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.
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,” Brent Hendrixson, PhD, chair of biology at Millsaps College, recently told Best Life.
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.
Research contact: @bestlife