Annual migration of arachnids starts this month near La Junta.
Leggy lotharios will be taking to the grasslands in southeast Colorado in search of that thing that makes the world go 'round: love.
Tarantulas will be crawling their way across Colorado from late August through early October for mating season. The annual migration is massive in more ways than one: First, tarantulas are one of the largest spiders in North America, and second, there will be thousands of them on the march.
"I just want to be your friend!"
To be fair, those headed our way are not quite this large.
A majority of the Oklahoma brown tarantulas making the journey are likely to be 10-year-old males in search of a few short-term soulmates. They are headed to southeast Colorado, mostly the Comanche Grasslands near La Junta.
"Whitney Cranshaw, Entomology Professor/Extension Specialist at Colorado State University, explains that the spiders, which are of the Oklahoma brown variety, are common in Southeast Colorado because the females like to make their burrows in undisturbed prairie rangeland. Those females then stick close to their burrows for the entirety of lives, which can be 25 years long," says VisitLaJunta.net. "The male tarantulas — when they reach about 8 years old — gang up in groups and set out, using their senses of touch and vibration to locate the females."
Do you want to be a witness to this eight-legged-lover parade (or maybe want to avoid it like the plague)? Check out these tips from La Junta Tourism's website to get the best view (or best time to avoid La Junta).
- September is the ideal time of year to view the tarantula migration—specifically around September 10.
- There will still be some in October, and some are crawling about before that.
- Venture out on a day that is warm, and preferably not too windy.
- Some tarantulas will be active in late afternoon.
- Things really pick up in the hour before sunset.
- Around 5:45–6 p.m. or so, and peak lasts about an hour.
- Scout area where there are tarantula hawks, the spider hunting wasps that prey on tarantulas and other large spiders.
- Ideal viewing south of La Junta on Highway 109 on the Comanche National Grassland.
- There are cars and trucks traveling the road at all times. People have to keep them on their radar!
So, what do you think? Are you running for the hills yet? Sound off in the comments below.