Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Mating season lures Texas tarantula from burrows
Valley Morning Star ^ | May 22, 2005 | FERNANDO DEL VALLE

Posted on 05/22/2005 7:17:50 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch

HARLINGEN, May 22, 2005 — As the sun sets on the Rio Grande Valley, car headlights splash shadows that crawl like black hands across the road.

When spring blooms in South Texas, it’s mating season for tarantulas.

From his front door, Bryant Williams sees the fat, furry spiders creep into the night.

“I see them mostly late at night, like around midnight under the street light, scurrying around,” said Williams, a U.S. Border Patrol agent who lives near the Arroyo Colorado, a nesting ground for the native Texas tan tarantula.

“A lot of people don’t like them because they look scary,” he said. “But they don’t bother me. I grew up in South Texas. We used to play with them as kids — catch them and keep them in aquariums. You’d keep them two or three days and turn them loose if you got a bigger one. Like a goldfish, we’d look at them and see what they do.”

In South Texas, mating season lures the Texas tan tarantula out of its winter burrow for about six weeks, said Genaro Lopez, an entomologist at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

“The males and females will come out of their tunnels and they’ll look for each other,” he said.

About eight years ago, Jacob Taylor’s grandmother gave him a tarantula that she captured in her garage.

Ever since, he’s kept tarantulas as pets.

“It took a little time to get used to the idea of handling them — you hope they don’t bite you,” said Taylor, 20, a computer science major who works at a Brownsville pet store. “Everybody’s afraid of them. It’s something that’s interesting — that people are afraid of them, but you don’t have to be.”

Like many tarantula species, the Texas tan spider is “docile,” Lopez said.

“When people try to mess with them, they’ll try to bite as a last resort,” he said.

While its fangs can leave “a little puncture wound,” the tarantula’s bite packs as much venom as a honeybee’s sting, he said.

Still, the 4-inch tarantula preys on man’s primal fears, Lopez said.

“It’s an arachnophobic type of stereotype,” he said of the spider’s mystique. “Instead of seeing them as creations with intrinsic beauty, tarantulas are taking it on the chin, with people driving over them or spraying them.”

When Brownsville’s resacas crawl with the spiders during mating season, about one in 10 of his customers in the area want him to kill tarantulas, said Sergio Cordova, field supervisor with Esparza Pest Control in Edinburg.

“Around this time, it’s the worst,” he said. “They climb up the walls and get into cracks or vents. Some people will see one and think they’re everywhere — and most of the time they’re right. Anybody who lives near the arroyo or a resaca — be prepared.”

While the tarantula strikes its share of terror, Lopez sees its beauty.

“I love them,” he said. “They’re part of creation. What would you rather have in your house — roaches or a tarantula?”


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: tarantulas
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-77 next last
"What would you rather have in your house — roaches or a tarantula?”

I think I'd take the roaches, Jacob!

1 posted on 05/22/2005 7:17:50 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

That was a scary bed-time story...


2 posted on 05/22/2005 7:20:14 PM PDT by blueberry12
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

yeeeuch!


3 posted on 05/22/2005 7:23:37 PM PDT by Nachum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Send a few my way. I'll sneak them into the girl's dormatory. ;)


4 posted on 05/22/2005 7:25:56 PM PDT by explodingspleen (http://mish-mash.info/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
While its fangs can leave “a little puncture wound,” the tarantula’s bite packs as much venom as a honeybee’s sting, he said.

Nope. The honeybee sting hurts a lot more. I speak from experience.

5 posted on 05/22/2005 7:26:01 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Speaking of tarantulas...my brows need a trim.


6 posted on 05/22/2005 7:26:59 PM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Here is a pic.........


7 posted on 05/22/2005 7:28:54 PM PDT by cmsgop
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cmsgop
Here's another.


8 posted on 05/22/2005 7:32:22 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Andrew Heyward's got to go!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: cmsgop; Sweet_Sunflower29; TLI; TX Bluebonnet; evilgringo; rocksblues; conservativecorner; ...

Texas Tarantula Ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.


9 posted on 05/22/2005 7:39:43 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Remember, this is only a temporary exile!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Tarantulas also come out in droves near Henrietta, Texas, in the Spring. Henrietta is in North Texas. They search out warm places like roads in the sun when they come out. I love blowing by them driving fast and watching them in my rear view mirror tumble like paper.
10 posted on 05/22/2005 7:42:56 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Come here, my little snugglebunny...

11 posted on 05/22/2005 7:43:40 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: vetvetdoug

I love blowing by them driving fast and watching them in my rear view mirror tumble like paper.

** You,sir, are a barbarian. I must inform PETA.


12 posted on 05/22/2005 7:44:35 PM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

I guess these beat the Palmetto bugs we used to get every full moon in Honolulu... swarms of them... their tenatacles are as long as their bodies... and their bodies are about 3 inches long...


13 posted on 05/22/2005 7:45:04 PM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cyborg

Odd thing. this thread make me think of you. and there you are.


14 posted on 05/22/2005 7:47:15 PM PDT by patton ("Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Is your ping to me here your way of telling me a chilling beddy time story???


15 posted on 05/22/2005 7:47:49 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

They are great deep fried. Dip them in some egg and roll them in corn meal/chili powder and toss them into hot peanut oil. Tastes great with 2 quarts of Jim Beam (before you eat them).


16 posted on 05/22/2005 7:49:09 PM PDT by Blue Screen of Death (/i)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: patton

Yeah :D


17 posted on 05/22/2005 7:54:24 PM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

I'll take spiders over roaches any day.


18 posted on 05/22/2005 7:55:40 PM PDT by cajungirl ({no})
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cajungirl

Amen!


19 posted on 05/22/2005 7:56:09 PM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

No, but the pics of Maw Richards and Molly Ivins will keep me up half the night


20 posted on 05/22/2005 7:57:12 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Remember, this is only a temporary exile!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Spiders and insects don't bother me a bit. I let spiders and even bees and wasps walk on me because I know they won't bother me unless they feel threatened.

Snakes, on the other hand, always give me the willies!


21 posted on 05/22/2005 7:59:04 PM PDT by spinestein
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Blue Screen of Death

Well, I am up for the two quarts of Jim Beam. You can keep the darn bug.


22 posted on 05/22/2005 7:59:59 PM PDT by patton ("Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Alright. This is a very appropriate thread to tell a funny.

We are members of a children's museum. They have a woman that use to be a curator of the Smithsonian's reptile display. She does hands on zoological educational overviews for the kids.

She had her tarantula out for the kids to 'shake hands' with. A child would stick out his finger, the spider would put a leg on it and tap the child's finger.

My daughter was hiding behind a pillar, not wanting to even catch a glimpse of the spider. I don't like her to have irrational fears ::I hate spiders!::. I don't want her to be afraid of things for no reason ::all spiders should be killed::. So I sat down next to Bernice (the curator) stuck my finger out and called to my daughter, "Look honey, mommy is touching the spider" ::kill it!::. My daughter pokes her head around shaking her head at me. Bernice (she knows me from the museum) lets the spider ::the monster!:: crawl onto my hand ::AHHHHHHH!:: Through gritting teeth, I call to my daughter again, "Look honey, mommy is holding the spider" ::AHHHH GET IT OFF ME!!:: Well my words didn't fool my daughter. She broke out in laughter at the sight of my face.

I will say, I'm very proud of the fact I didn't throw that creepy creature into the wall. I didn't scream. I didn't faint.

I didn't succeed in convincing my daughter that she shouldn't be afraid of spiders ::kill them all!:: either.

Just a funny for the evening.
23 posted on 05/22/2005 8:01:40 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
“A lot of people don’t like them because they look scary,” he said. “But they don’t bother me. I grew up in South Texas. We used to play with them as kids — catch them and keep them in aquariums. You’d keep them two or three days and turn them loose if you got a bigger one. Like a goldfish, we’d look at them and see what they do.

Bwwwhahahahah. Ok, try this. Pick out the largest female tarantula you can find. Try to put one in a shoebox. Dare you...

My brother and I found out three things, tarantulas's hiss, tarantula's jump, and tarantulas attack when threatened. The shoebox is still sitting by some old blacktop road in Texas....

24 posted on 05/22/2005 8:01:53 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia
Not funny, sweet. You're nuts, but sweet. ;-)

There was a very funny bit a couple of years ago about a bunch of ballplayers who set up another bunch with a phony breakfast commercial. The victim would prattle to the camera (running, of course) about how great this particular breakfast food was, pick up the cover on the plate, and there, on top of an omelet, was a live tarantula.

One guy sat there expressionless, raised his eyes to the camera, and said that it was a good thing the table was covering his pants...

25 posted on 05/22/2005 8:05:56 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia
OMG, I am LOL. Good try, Mom. We all try for our kids, eh?

But sometimes they see thru us. Better try to fool a dog.

26 posted on 05/22/2005 8:07:11 PM PDT by patton ("Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill

I didn't need my pants covered either. And someone posted a picture above with a tarantula in their hand ::shivers:: That brought back the sensation of that thing walking on me!

Darn thing is, now that I got that sensation in my head, I'm even more afraid of spiders than I use to be!


27 posted on 05/22/2005 8:09:24 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

I am actually slightly less scared of tarantulas than other spiders. I think its because they look more like an "animal". I can't handle daddy-long legs, and mosquito eater bugs creeps me out, but I don't tarantulas as much.


28 posted on 05/22/2005 8:10:48 PM PDT by Celtic Rose (It may be prudent in me to act sometimes by other men's reason, but I can think only by my own)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: patton

>>>Better try to fool a dog.

I never in my life knew that kids would know you better than anyone else.

You are right, I can't fool them about a darn thing. I was even teasing my 5 y.o. and he looked at me and said, 'no! you got your lying face on'. I never knew I had a lying face.


29 posted on 05/22/2005 8:12:36 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

I can but smile.


30 posted on 05/22/2005 8:15:21 PM PDT by patton ("Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Y'all can keep them spiders.

I'll keep these handy.
Breed 'em big enough and they're great for guarding our Bush-Cheney signs in the yard.
31 posted on 05/22/2005 8:19:52 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RandallFlagg

I love hatching praying mantis! I order their cocoons (I can't spell crysolits) every year.

They get as big as sparrows!


32 posted on 05/22/2005 8:26:07 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

LOL! The asides are priceless!


33 posted on 05/22/2005 8:28:18 PM PDT by skr (May God bless those in harm's way and confound those who would do the harming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

You really have to get rough with them to get them to bite (I guess it's just to much effort for them) but they will lunge and jump at you to scare you off. After awhile they figure out that you mean no harm and will let you handle them. Then you get bored with them and let them go. At least that's how it works with the ones we have here in North Texas.


34 posted on 05/22/2005 8:28:44 PM PDT by fella
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
It was several years ago when I worked in the gas fields around Laredo that I found out just how many tarantulas there are in South Texas.

One day several of my gas compressors went down in one area and I was called to go check it out. Getting near the location I noticed that a gully washer had occurred recently and being as the countryside was mostly flat it was all covered with about 4 inches of water. The highway was the only thing that was not covered with water, but it was covered with hundreds of thousands of tarantulas seeking higher ground. They would pop and fly up as I drove over them and the ones I missed would blow about like trash.

When I reached my compressors the water had subsided but I found out what made them go down. The spiders looking for higher ground got sucked up in the breathers and stopped them up. Also many of the tarantulas had climbed onto the exhaust pipes and mufflers and had fried to death. It stunk to high heaven, and removing the spiders from the breathers (some still alive) still gives me the willies when I think about it.

35 posted on 05/22/2005 8:29:45 PM PDT by Between the Lines (We are enabled to see the Lord at work if our eyes and our hearts are open." - George W. Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: skr

Asides? I'm sorry, was I talking out loud? ::smiles::


36 posted on 05/22/2005 8:30:25 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: fella

Fella, if you really need something to play with, I will gladly send you a football or something.


37 posted on 05/22/2005 8:31:43 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Celtic Rose

I'm the opposite. If I can see the face of an insect, it's way too big and scary.


38 posted on 05/22/2005 8:34:32 PM PDT by skr (May God bless those in harm's way and confound those who would do the harming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

There's a lot where I used to work that around this time of year, there's about one mantis for every 20 square feet of the area. I'll have to check there this year to see if they're still around.


39 posted on 05/22/2005 8:35:00 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Between the Lines; SwinneySwitch
::screams::

::Shakes with the onset of insomnia::

SwinnySwitch! I now hate you!

::visualizes spiders everywhere::

40 posted on 05/22/2005 8:35:58 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: RandallFlagg

If there isn't, this is where I get mine: http://www.insectlore.com

Excellent site for kids projects!


41 posted on 05/22/2005 8:41:06 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

42 posted on 05/22/2005 8:41:28 PM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lockbar

Yup, that is what is in my head now.

SwinneySwitch, you better ping me to a butterfly thread or something!


43 posted on 05/22/2005 8:42:57 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Lockbar

Heh-heh! Clint Eastwood's fourth acting job: napalming a 500-foot spider from the seat of a fighter jet.


44 posted on 05/22/2005 8:52:09 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

SWEEET! Saving to favs. Thanks.


45 posted on 05/22/2005 8:52:58 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: RandallFlagg

If you have kids, we ordered the butterfly pavillion from there and painted ladies every season.

We hang the pavillion in the middle of the living room. When the butterflies morph it is such a sight! ::until we have to let them go :( ::

We have not been successful in getting them to lay eggs in the pavillion yet. So we let them go before their life span is up. Painteds only live 2 weeks.


46 posted on 05/22/2005 8:56:24 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Question: How many known human deaths have been attributed to tarantulas (according to "Animal Planet")?


47 posted on 05/22/2005 8:57:12 PM PDT by DennisR (Look around - there are countless observable clues that God exists)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Calpernia

We have a insect "Zoo" called The Butterfly Pavillion about 5 miles from our home. They're still trying to get me to hold a tarantula there. No chance!


48 posted on 05/22/2005 8:59:19 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: RandallFlagg

Butterfly Pavillions are about just as relaxing as fish tanks.


49 posted on 05/22/2005 9:02:44 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: RandallFlagg
Yup Clint played the great great grandson of Rowdy Yates in this flick!
50 posted on 05/22/2005 9:05:06 PM PDT by SeaWolf (Orwell must have foreseen the 21st Century Democratic Party when he wrote 1984)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-77 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson