Oklahoma brown tarantula
Oklahoma Brown Tarantula, Crest: Zenhaus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hey hey hey! Colorado gang! It’s almost that time of year once again. The weather will begin to get cooler, trees and plant life will start to melt away, and thousands of tarantulas will make their way across Colorado!

Colorado Tarantulas, made up of three to five different species, tend to be large, hairy, and often dark brown or black. They’re mostly found in Southeast Colorado, in counties bordering the Arkansas Valley and further south. Tarantulas are most commonly spotted in the state around late August-September, when the mature male creatures partake in a large “migration” in search of female mating partners.

The male tarantula spider tends to mature in about 7-10 years after egg hatch. The spiders partaking in this large “migration”, those who have reached sexual maturity, have completed their final, or “ultimate” molt. For the male, mating is almost always the final step in life, and will almost always perish over the following couple of months. They may be eaten by a predator, hit by a car, starve to death, freeze to death, or even be eaten by the female tarantula. The female tarantula, which is much harder to spot in the wild, can often survive for over 20 years.

Chris A. Hamilton, Brent E. Hendrixson, Jason E. Bond, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While they may be quite spooky, tarantulas can do no more than give a fairly painful bite. Their venom is less powerful than that of a bee, so you don’t have to worry about visiting the hospital if you think you’ve been bitten.

The mating season tends to begin as soon as it starts getting cooler at night. If you wish the view the tarantulas, it’s best to begin in mid-September. The spiders may begin their search in late-afternoon, but around 5:45pm-6pm is usually the best time to start your search. Seek natural prairie land, as the tarantulas won’t burrow in disturbed farm land.

Keep in mind, while thousands of spiders will be out and about throughout southeast Colorado, this is over quite a large area. You won’t see buckets of tarantulas swarming a field. Instead, you may see a few here and there, or you might see none. It’s more like bird watching than anything else.

Larry Smith, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Featured Image Credit: Zenhaus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons