During the Summer, your chances of encountering a tarantula increases. We talked with a local tarantula collector and Angelo State University Biology Teacher’s Assistant. He tells us why you may find the critters wandering around your yard.
The Texas brown tarantula or Aphonopelma Hentzi are the type of tarantulas you’ll likely see in San Angelo. It’s usually rain that pushes the males to go out on their mission.
“They start wandering around looking for females,” says Tim Maddox, a Graduate Teaching Assistant.
The females live in burrows.
“She’ll lay out some webbing around that burrow and the male is just going to wander around until they find that webbing,” says Maddox.
The male tries seducing the female.
“Once they touch that web, they’ll start playing almost like a little drum solo. They’ll start tapping on it to try to cox the female out. Once she starts coming out, they’ll start tapping on the female. It’s a very delicate dance because if she’s not in the mood or he doesn’t quite communicate that he is a mate instead of food, it usually ends up with the male being dinner,” says Maddox.
During it’s mission to find a female, you may encounter a male.
Tim Maddox says if it does sting you, which is rare, it’s likely not fatal.
“They have a very mild bite. It’s going to feel like a bee sting,” says Maddox.
If it happens to get into your home he suggests using a container or even your hand to take it outside.
“Typically our species here are pretty docile. You can pick them up really easily if you just scoot them onto your hand,” says Maddox.
If it’s outside, leave it alone. If a dog or cat gets too close, the spider scares it off by kicking out what’s called urticating hairs.
“If they get into your skin, they are very itchy. If they get into something’s nose, it’s going to steer them away,” says Maddox.
If you do see a tarantula in your yard, Maddox says you should be encouraged.
“It indicates that you have a healthy piece of land,” says Maddox. He also says they eat a lot of bugs so they’re good for pest control.