Skip to comments.Mating season lures Texas tarantula from burrows
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, its 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 dont like them because they look scary, he said. But they dont bother me. I grew up in South Texas. We used to play with them as kids catch them and keep them in aquariums. Youd keep them two or three days and turn them loose if you got a bigger one. Like a goldfish, wed 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 theyll look for each other, he said.
About eight years ago, Jacob Taylors grandmother gave him a tarantula that she captured in her garage.
Ever since, hes kept tarantulas as pets.
It took a little time to get used to the idea of handling them you hope they dont bite you, said Taylor, 20, a computer science major who works at a Brownsville pet store. Everybodys afraid of them. Its something thats interesting that people are afraid of them, but you dont have to be.
Like many tarantula species, the Texas tan spider is docile, Lopez said.
When people try to mess with them, theyll try to bite as a last resort, he said.
While its fangs can leave a little puncture wound, the tarantulas bite packs as much venom as a honeybees sting, he said.
Still, the 4-inch tarantula preys on mans primal fears, Lopez said.
Its an arachnophobic type of stereotype, he said of the spiders 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 Brownsvilles 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, its the worst, he said. They climb up the walls and get into cracks or vents. Some people will see one and think theyre everywhere and most of the time theyre 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. Theyre part of creation. What would you rather have in your house roaches or a tarantula?
I think I'd take the roaches, Jacob!
That was a scary bed-time story...
Send a few my way. I'll sneak them into the girl's dormatory. ;)
Nope. The honeybee sting hurts a lot more. I speak from experience.
Speaking of tarantulas...my brows need a trim.
Texas Tarantula Ping!
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.
Come here, my little snugglebunny...
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.
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...
Odd thing. this thread make me think of you. and there you are.
Is your ping to me here your way of telling me a chilling beddy time story???
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).
I'll take spiders over roaches any day.
No, but the pics of Maw Richards and Molly Ivins will keep me up half the night
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!
Well, I am up for the two quarts of Jim Beam. You can keep the darn bug.
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....
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...
But sometimes they see thru us. Better try to fool a dog.
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!
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.
>>>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.
I can but smile.
I love hatching praying mantis! I order their cocoons (I can't spell crysolits) every year.
They get as big as sparrows!
LOL! The asides are priceless!
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.
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.
Asides? I'm sorry, was I talking out loud? ::smiles::
Fella, if you really need something to play with, I will gladly send you a football or something.
I'm the opposite. If I can see the face of an insect, it's way too big and scary.
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.
::Shakes with the onset of insomnia::
SwinnySwitch! I now hate you!
::visualizes spiders everywhere::
If there isn't, this is where I get mine: http://www.insectlore.com
Excellent site for kids projects!
Yup, that is what is in my head now.
SwinneySwitch, you better ping me to a butterfly thread or something!
Heh-heh! Clint Eastwood's fourth acting job: napalming a 500-foot spider from the seat of a fighter jet.
SWEEET! Saving to favs. Thanks.
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.
Question: How many known human deaths have been attributed to tarantulas (according to "Animal Planet")?
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!
Butterfly Pavillions are about just as relaxing as fish tanks.