Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Seekers

Male Tarantula at Henry Coe State Park
Fall in the Diablos means, among other things, its tarantula migration season again. It’s the right time of year for large, hairy, male arachnids to go on their mass journey quest to find available nesting females. Some of them will travel amazing distances as they abandon the safety of their dens in order to search for the opportunity to mate. Whenever I see one I can't help playing the gutair riffs in my head from The Who song "The Seeker". Once they are successful in finding a suitable partner they don’t hang around. If the male suitors are smart, they will take care of business, and then get away fast before the larger, stronger, females begin to view them more as protein than company. The right motto is, “if you snooze you loose”, because they can literally become a meal for the voracious female.

The tarantulas found in this region are not dangerous. They have large fangs used for hunting, but are not poisonous to humans. Their demeanor is timid, and passive toward larger animals. If possible they will stay hidden and out of sight. The best policy toward any wild creature is to observe at a reasonable distance, but to simply leave them alone, and not stress them out. The best chance you will have to spot one is when they decide to use the hiking trails. Many wild creatures will often use the easiest path to get somewhere, and tarantulas are no different. They will be nearly impossible to spot in high grass or foliage. The biggest concern I always have is that they don’t get run over by cyclists. So if you ride a mountain bike in the Diablos in fall, please remember to look out for them. They are fascinating creatures, and play an important role in the ecosystem.

1 comment:

chrisbear said...

Good info! I'll be sure to keep an eye out on the trails!