Monday, October 26, 2009

Shy Spiders

Well, this should be the time of year that we have the opportunity to see the seasonal tarantula migration throughout the Diablo range. At Henry W Coe they even have an annual festival to celebrate the hairy arachnids in early October (already past). Of course it’s not really migration in the purest definition of the term. The spiders don’t pack up and move to a different geographic region. It’s more like a roving mating season. Every year the male tarantulas embark on an odyssey of searching throughout the terrain for available mates. The females rarely leave their burrows whether in the ground or in a tree. The males have the job of finding them, mating, and then escaping before they become lunch. They have been known to travel extraordinary distances in search of their partners. In the parks and wild land areas, they are protected, but thousands of them are killed every year by ignorant humans who mistakenly believe them to be dangerous. But like most any wild creature they are really no threat to humans if you let them be.

We were at Coe last Saturday hoping to get some new photos of large hairy spiders. We’ve been there before when you even had to be careful not to run them over on the road. A couple of years ago we moved several of them off the road to keep them from becoming road kill. This year however we struck out completely. The picture displayed above was taken in 2006. All day we didn’t spot even one tarantula. In talking to one of the volunteer rangers, he told us that at the recent Tarantula Fest, there was only one spider spotted during the whole event. I will not jump to any conclusions about why, but this year, it’s been hard to find them. Maybe some of you other hikers have had better luck. If so please feel free to leave a comment. Anyway it was a really nice day at Coe, with perfect weather. We got a late start, did a short headquarters loop, and were off the trail by about 2:00. Since I didn’t get any (new) spider photos, I settled for a few partial panoramas of Coe terrain.

No comments: