Colorado Is Being Invaded By Migrating Tarantulas

Dylan Craig | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Colorado Tarantula
The Oklahoma Brown Tarantula. Photo Credit: Bryan Reynolds

There’s no reason to panic, but southeastern Colorado is currently in the opening stages of a substantial tarantula migration. Every late summer, thousands of Oklahoma Brown tarantulas venture north into the prairies of Colorado to seek mates.

The migrating spiders are predominantly male, seeking out female spiders who burrow in the grasslands region surrounding La Junta, CO. Whitney Cranshaw, an Entomology Professor at Colorado State University, says that female Oklahoma Brown tarantulas prefer to create their burrows in undisturbed prairie rangeland, and spend their entire lives near the burrow. These female tarantulas can live up to 25 years, compared to the 12-year lifespan of male tarantulas. When male tarantulas turn eight, they migrate northward and use their senses of touch to seek out mating partners in the grasslands.

Comanche, Colorado Taraun
Tarantulas migrate to the Comanche National Grassland annually. Photo Credit: Uncover Colorado

The Comanche National Grassland, roughly 90 miles west of the Kansas border, appears to be the epicenter of these migrations. The tourism board of La Junta, a town just north of the National Grassland, offers numerous viewing tips for those seeking to see the migrating tarantulas in action. The annual migration typically occurs from late August to early October peaking around September 10th. To maximize your chances of seeing the migration, venture out on a warm day just before sunset, roughly 5:45 to 6:00 PM.

Oklahoma Brown tarantulas, while their size and hairy legs may intimidate many, are known to be especially docile and non-aggressive. National Geographic reports that their bites are essentially comparable to a bee-sting, as their venom is meant for smaller species. Their non-skittishness also makes them excellent pets, but it’s still best to respect nature and let any migrating tarantulas complete their journey.

Brown Oklahoma Tarantula, Colorado Tarantula
The Tarantula may look terrifying, but it’s essentially harmless. Photo Credit: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife

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