Watch your step! It's tarantula mating season - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Watch your step! It's tarantula mating season

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Watch your step next time you're outside. It's tarantula mating season.

"They mate once in their life and that is it," said Susie Robertson, owner of Squeaks, Chirps & Bubbles Pet Store. 

Although tarantulas can be quite large, they are not poisonous to people. If you were to get bit by one, it would hurt in the way a bee sting hurts. 

"When you see them, this is the very first time they've come out of their burrow in daylight," Robertson said. 

A tarantula seen out in the open is on a mission to find a burrow where, hopefully, a willing female will be inside.

"They may have to go knock on several doors until a female says, 'come on in,'" Robertson said. 

She says the romance after they mate doesn't last long.

"If he decides to linger a little bit, she'll eat him. He knows to leave," Robertson said. 

If a male tarantula does find a mate, his female partner will go on to raise the babies herself.

"There could be a thousand eggs in there and she will protect that thing with all she's got," Robertson said. 

Tragically, the males that survive the mating go back to their burrows and end up only living a few more months, while the females can live up to 25 years.

For the brave of heart, you can pick up a tarantula, unless you see this warning sign: "They'll rear up on their back legs and show you their fangs," Robertson said.  

She says the key is to stay low, slide your hand next to them and don't pick them up in the air.

Tarantula mating season will last through the end of October. 

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