‹‹ Colorado Matters

A Mass Tarantula Migration May Sound Scary, But These Spiders Are Just Looking For Love

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Photo: Colorado Tarantula
A male hairy brown tarantula typically found in the warmer areas of southeastern Colorado, such as La Junta and Pueblo.

It turns out that as the weather cools, tarantulas also abide by cuffing season. Starting in late September and running through mid-October, the big hairy spiders appear en masse, and they're looking for love.

There are two varieties of tarantulas in the Centennial State: A larger, brown spider found in southeastern Colorado, and a smaller black tarantula that calls the state's southwestern locales home.

This time of year, males from both species emerge from their burrows to find female spiders. Love is a risky game for male tarantulas: If they're smaller than the object of their affection, and if she happens to be hungry, he could become a meal instead of a mate.

If you find a tarantula, don't be afraid. You can even go and observe them up close. No one has ever died from a tarantula bite, and while a nibble will hurt, they won't sink their fangs into you unless you scare them.

Arachnologists Paula Cushing, of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Brent Hendrixson, of Millsaps College in Mississippi, talked to Colorado Matters about Colorado's tarantulas. Cushing runs an annual spider survey. Hendrixson will deliver a talk at the nature museum on Friday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m