The sad mating ritual of the Bay Area's tarantula population is going into full swing in time for Halloween spook season, as experts say this week's warm weather will be bringing out more and more wandering males.
In case you didn't know, there are loads of tarantulas around the Bay, particularly around Mount Diablo where spider enthusiasts annually trek to see some of this mating season up close and personal-like. As spider people will tell you, and as the local media explains every year, tarantulas tend to keep to themselves and to a pretty nocturnal schedule, but mating season brings the males out of hiding at all hours. Male California tarantulas only live about eight to ten years, and it takes them about that long to reach maturity — or mating age — which gives them a pretty small window in which to locate a willing female when these warm mating times arrive. (They typically die within six months of mating.) As the BBC bit below explains, via Patagonian tarantulas (Theraphosa blondi), females can live up to 30 years and procreate all the time, and if they encounter a male that rubs them the wrong way, they'll eat him.
Also, these South American tarantulas are a bit bigger than the California species.
As KPIX reports, wandering, lustful male tarantulas have already been spotted on the prowl in the local region. Sonoma County Reptile Rescue Director Al Wolf calls this a "great time of year" for this reason, and he claims that the biggest spiders will typically leave humans alone.
But ugh. If you have any sort of arachnophobia it's hard not to see images like the video above and just want to faint and die.
Luckily, tarantulas aren't really poisonous — if they bite it will hurt like a bee sting, and only some people experience allergic reactions to the bites, as with bee stings.
But they do have nasty fangs and hairs all over them that get into the mouths and eyes of predators, discouraging those predators from wanting to eat them, and sometimes rendering those predators blind.
If you're really into seeing all this stuff in real life, you can check in with this group about one of their reserved tours on Mount Diablo. It's your life.