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Spooky sightings: Why you're more likely to see tarantulas at this time of year

Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 14, 2023

Spooky season is synonymous with creepy crawly critters, and it just so happens that this is also the time of year when you can expect to see more tarantulas around the Central Coast.

September and October are the peak of the tarantulas' mating season.

In the weeks to come, you may run into a tarantula, but experts say do not be alarmed.

“As far as deadliness, they are not anything to worry about. They are no concern,” said Cal Poly entomology lecturer Ryan Perry.

Perry says they are not any more dangerous than any other spider, but they do have one defense mechanism that could be painful.

“They do have some hairs that they might shoot at you and that will give you a rash or an itch kind of like itching powder,” Perry said.

These spiders prefer warmer climates, so you are most likely to see them in places that are hot and dry like on a hike or even just crossing the road. Tarantulas thrive in the heat.

“Usually when it's warm out in the early mornings to the early afternoon,” Perry said.

Cal Poly student Kate McCauley says the first time she saw a tarantula was when her class went outside to look for them.

“Pretty hairy and skinny legs, that's probably the most creepy part,” McCauley said.

Austin Davis lives in San Luis Obispo and says he has seen them on hikes in the Irish Hills.

“I think they are cool and unique and not a lot of people have the opportunity to experience them,” Davis said.

He describes what he saw on his hike a couple of weeks ago.

“They're really big and fuzzy. They are darker brown and black,” Davis said.

Perry says tarantulas are not out to get you.

“They're not trying to attack you. It's not like a black widow. They don't have that venom that would cause any real issues,” Perry said.

The National Capital Poison Center recommends that if you do get bitten, wash the bite with soap and water and put a cool compress like an ice pack on the bite.

If you do encounter a tarantula this season, try to stay calm. Perry says they aren't likely to bite you unless they feel threatened.