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