Animals

Tarantula mating season returns to Central Coast

Native, harmless male spiders seeking females

Cental Coast tarantula mating season...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The annual tarantula mating season on the Central Coast happens mainly in the inland valley areas away from the coast.

The Central Coast tarantula is once again making himself known in certain neighborhoods in his annual search for a female to mate with.

"Anyone that you encounter walking around now is going to be a male, females don't walk around, they're going to be in their burrow", said Cuesta College entomologist Ron Ruppert, "males are out trying to find those burrows, trying to find those females, and probably mostly by chemical that they sense where the female is."

Tarantulas are native to the region and, despite many myths, are mostly harmless by nature.

"The thought that they're deadly is not true", Ruppert said, "its very rare that they bite, I don't know anyone that's been bitten by a tarantula, I've handled lots of tarantulas myself never once been bitten by them."

Because they're nocturnal, the local tarantula is mostly seen before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down.

"One of their habits is to crouch down when you approach them so they might be walking along and all the sudden they crouch down", Ruppert said, "then when you disturb them with a stick or something like that they suddenly come up right, that's their startled response."

The tarantula mating season is an annual rite of Fall on the Central Coast and happens to coincide with human festivities.

"This is the time of year when people start asking, bringing tarantulas to me, you know, what's going on, asking those questions", Ruppert said, "it ties in pretty nicely with Halloween, so it tends to be a lot of interest, spooky, that kind of stuff."

Many male tarantulas are killed as they cross local roads and highways in search of females,

If that encounter happens, the male tarantula typically doesn't live much longer afterwards.


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