It’s tarantula mating season on the Central Coast.
Now through November, you might start to see more tarantulas out and about as the males are looking to mate.
“They're really gross,” said Ashlynne Pennington of Paso Robles. “They're really big and just frightening.”
“They're just amazing animals,” said local entomologist Dennis Sheridan.
Whether you have arachnophobia or not, tarantulas will make the inevitable trek to find a mate possibly along a street near you.
“I’ve spotted quite a few actually. There was one, one time I was going down 4th Street and it was right in the middle of the road just walking like a car would,” Pennington explained.
Sheridan says in the weeks to come, you may start to see more and more of these creatures with eight eyes and eight legs out on our country roads during dusk and dawn.
“Whenever you see a tarantula out walking on the road, it's a male on a walk-about not from Australia but a walk-about to look for a female mate,” Sheridan said.
He says their burrows are often in streambeds or low water places where they might get flooded out with the first rain so they’re out thinking ahead to survive and also to grow the population.
Sheridan says females live for 25 to 30 years while the males usually live for three to five years.
He says he doesn’t believe the drought will play a role in how many tarantulas we see.
“If it rains or not, the males are going out looking for females to mate, period,” Sheridan said.
If you do spot one, it’s just best to let them pass and carry on or you can help them out, too.
“I shew it off the road and if you're a homeowner and find one in your garage, I would gently use a broom or whatever you wish and ask it to walk out,” Sheridan said.
California tarantulas are very docile and mellow and are not looking to bite.
“They're an extremely important part of our environment and they help a lot of things go through the food chain,” Sheridan said.
A mother tarantula can lay hundreds of spiderlings and they go off on their own to collect insects to eat.