Massive tarantula migration to start this month in Colorado |

Massive tarantula migration to start this month in Colorado

Steven Adams

Why do thousands of tarantulas cross the road? To get to the side where their mates live.

The annual spider migration is about to commence in southeast Colorado and Highway 109 south of La Junta is a good place to watch, according to the town’s tourism team.

Large populations of Oklahoma brown tarantulas living in the Comanche National Grassland begin to search for mating partners in August and can continue into early October. The La Junta site says the spectacle peaks around Sept. 10, in case you want to plan your vacation near — or very far away from — the area.

The female spiders tend to stay in their grassland burrows while the males, around the ages of 8 to 10, roam around looking for them, explains Whitney Cranshaw, Entomology Professor/Extension Specialist at Colorado State University.

Highways are good place to spot the creatures as they cross the pavement.

Here are some more spider viewing tips from the friendly folks in La Junta:

• September is the best to view the tarantula migration – specifically around September 10.

• Pick a warm day for your scouting, preferably with little wind.

• Active begins in late afternoon then really picks up in the hour before sunset — around 6:00 p.m. — and lasts about an hour.

• Look for tarantula hawks, the wasps that prey on tarantulas and other large spiders.

• Be alert for cars and trucks on the highway.

Tarantulas are mostly harmless to humans unless you are allergic but can still deliver a powerful bite, according to The Gazette. They can also launch their irritating hairs in defense.

Steven Adams is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Steven at 412-380-5645 or [email protected].

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