Fall is tarantula time in the Sunol Valley. The annual ‘tarantula migration’, which, begins in September through end of fall, is underway.
Normally shy, living underground in burrows, and nocturnal, these hairy spiders are on the move. Turns out that after about five years of living alone (maturing in a burrow), male tarantulas head out in search of a female mate. If successful, the males don’t stay long. They scurry home in fear of being eaten by their new female companions.
It is not uncommon to see a trail of the hairy fellows moving slowly, but steadily across roads in the watershed. As part of the SFPUC’s continuing efforts to protect wildlife, visitors will see many of the SFPUC’s staff driving slow enough to stop and let the hairy critters cross, evident in this photo taken at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project.
Tarantulas are feared by many. They are giant, hairy spiders after all. These tarantulasare only dangerous to small insects. Tarantulas have very small venom glands and the bite of a tarantula is compared to a bee sting. Although the SFPUC wouldn’t want to find them inside the office trailers, staff are glad to yield to them on the roads outside.
The SFPUC’s goal is to keep these native species safe from harm while we operate, maintain, and upgrade our water system in our Alameda Creek Watershed lands. Staff are trained to be on the lookout for the plants and animals in this special place, so they can protect them.
Even the spooky ones!