Aug 18, 2023 - News

Tarantulas scurry through San Diego as mating season begins

Illustration of two tarantulas enjoying a romantic spaghetti dinner.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Thousands of tarantulas will be on the prowl across San Diego County over the next few weeks — a trek of fatal attraction.

What's happening: Mating season began this month for the California ebony (or black) tarantula and the San Diego bronze tarantula, two species native to the area.

  • Residents have started seeing the world's largest spiders crawling around their neighborhoods, and more are expected through September around El Cajon, Ramona and Poway, CBS8 reported.

The intrigue: Male tarantulas abandon their burrows and track down a suitable female by following her scent, according to the San Diego Zoo. They "dance" and then, if the female likes what she sees, they mate.

  • If they aren't killed by the females' fangs, males usually die from starvation a few months after mating.
  • Yes, but: Females can live 25 years or more.

Threat level: Some people keep these creepy crawlies as pets (ew!) and they're generally harmless unless provoked.

  • Their bites can be painful like a bee sting and their barbed hairs can irritate your skin.
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