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Annual Tarantula Migration Underway in Texas This Summer

Every summer, thousands of tarantulas wander across Texas in what is now known as an annual tarantula “migration.”

Starting in May and lasting through July, the large spiders, most of whom are male, actively search for their female counterparts to mate.

“One of the most spectacular spider events in Texas occurs for a few weeks each summer when male tarantulas actively wander apparently seeking females,” a Texas A&M field guide said. “This phenomenon is not well understood and may be related to migration more than mating.”

After mating, female tarantulas will lay between 100 to 1,000 eggs in a web constructed like a hammock. The eggs will hatch in about 45 to 60 days.

It’s easy to spot a Texas tarantula due to its large size — usually about 1.5 inches long, the National Park Service said. The giant spiders also have a dark brown head-thorax and legs as well as a brown-black abdomen.

The arachnids are common in grasslands and semi-open areas, sheltering under burrows, natural cavities under logs or stones, spaces under loose bark of tree trunks and old rodent burrows. Tarantula shelters may also have webbing with a few lines of silk on the ground in front of the shelter to help detect passing prey.

Although they are not harmful to humans, tarantula bites can still be painful due to their sharp fangs. Any venom they inject is also not dangerous. Tarantulas also defend themselves by releasing hairs found on their abdomen, which can cause irritation if the hairs come in contact with eyes or skin.

Source: Beaumont Enterprise