Thousands of TARANTULAS are set to crawl across Colorado
26th August 2023

Arachnophobes, look away now! Thousands of TARANTULAS are set to crawl across Colorado as spiders begin their annual mating season

  • Between late August and early October, male tarantulas make a mating trek across southeastern Colorado 
  • The mature male spiders are in search of mature females with whom they can reproduce before dying before the winter 
  • Each year, enthusiasts come out to observe the spiders on their journey across parts of Colorado’s grasslands

In a few short weeks, hoards of tarantulas will begin their yearly crawl across southeast Colorado for their mating season.

Tarantulas are generally found in the southwestern United states, including southern Colorado, where some enthusiasts turn up every year to watch the mature adult male tarantulas on the mating trek or ‘mate-gration.’

Though the annual episode is sometimes colloquially referred to as a migration, what the tarantulas in reality are doing is seeking mates.

When male tarantulas, about five-inches in size, reach the age of maturity, which happens at between eight to ten years old, they begin seeking a mate. The trek usually occurs between late August and early October.

Males sometimes travel as many as 20 miles in search of a mature female with whom to reproduce. Often the males travel in groups as they search.

Each year in late summer, male tarantulas set off on their mating quest, which involves trekking as far as 20 miles in search of a female tarantula with whom to reproduce

The trek takes place across parts of the American southwest, including a small corner of Colorado’s southeastern territory

When a male finds an ideal female spider with whom to mate, he will perform a courtship dance that includes tapping his legs on a female’s web.

If she is receptive, she might reciprocate the drumming.

Once successful fertilization has occurred in a female tarantula, she constructs a golf ball-sized egg sac, in which she will lay her eggs.

She then protects the egg sac from predators until potentially hundreds of little spiderlings hatch.

After mating, males typically die relatively quickly. Threats include predators, cars, and a general lack of interest in eating anything. In some cases, the female spider may eat the male.

Female tarantulas have a typical lifespan closer to 20-25 years. 

In some cases, tarantula hawks – the largest wasp in the US – inject the spiders with paralyzing venom and drag them back to a burrow.

The wasp, always a female who is ready to lay eggs, then stuffs the paralyzed tarantula down the hole of the burrow and lays her eggs atop the paralyzed spider.

When the eggs hatch several days later, the larvae feed on the still-living tarantula.

Tarantula migration in La Junta Colorado best time to see them is the beginning of September. #tarantula#tarantulasoftiktok#mustsee#colorado#coloradocheck#foryou#foryoupage#4u

Enthusiasts come out every year to observe the male tarantulas on their mating trek

The male tarantulas typically die not long after mating

Tarantulas are most active during the afternoon, especially the final hour before sunset

A director of the Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado – America’s first non-profit insect zoo – Sara Stevens told a local outlet where she believes people can go to observe the tarantulas during their trek.

Stevens said Highway 109 on the Comanche Nation Grassland is a good viewing spot, as are parts of La Junta, which hosts the La Junta Tarantula Fest.

The mate-gration has clearly become an integral part of La Junta’s municipal identity, as the festival includes a parade, vendors, and tarantula tours, among other things. 

The Comanche National Grassland, right on the southeastern tip of the state, is a state Grassland, where Stevens says there is usually a higher concentration of tarantulas. 

Tarantulas are most active during the afternoon, especially the final hour before sunset.

They are not poisonous to humans, though bites can be painful. 

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