Yes, that headline is written correctly. Though the idea of migration is typically associated with birds and the elderly during the winter months, they aren’t the only ones taking a long trek in search of something better than what they’re leaving behind. In what may be one of nature’s most bizarre and unsettling phenomena, thousands of tarantulas will soon be migrating across southeastern Colorado in search of mating partners.
Taking place throughout late August and September, the annual trek brings droves of the creepy arachnids to the state. Sometimes, they even travel in large herds—as if one giant hairy spider isn’t enough.
Why Are You Running?
On first glance, there seems to be no explanation for why thousands of spiders are migrating en masse across open grasslands. However, their motive is something that most humans can actually relate to. After all, nothing makes someone do crazy things quite like love does.
That is exactly what the tarantulas are searching for. To be precise, the arachnid herds are made up of male spiders seeking out females to mate with. These savvy ladies typically hide year-round in underground nests while waiting for males to arrive.
Though a coordinated spider migration seems like something that should only happen once (or never), this event happens annually in the fall. The species of tarantula making the trek across Colorado is the Oklahoma brown variety.
Though they can look terrifying, tarantulas are mostly harmless to humans. Sometimes, they fling tiny hairs that can cause irritation in the mouth, nose, and throat. While tarantulas can also deliver a semi-dangerous bite if frightened, they typically steer clear of humans.
Optimal Spidey Vision
While the tarantula migration might make some want to set fire to the state and run far, far away, others want to see the strange sight. Fortunately, spider lovers won’t have to search far for ways to view the spiders. The Colorado Tourism Board actually compiles a list of viewing locations and even trips to go witness the event.
However, the best place to view the tarantula swarms is the Comanche National Grasslands. The reserve is just south of the city of La Junta in the southeastern part of Colorado. The city’s website says that September 10 is the ideal day to view the migration. However, spiders will likely be present around sunset on any day from now until the beginning of October.
Unfortunately for arachnophobes, events like this aren’t just limited to Colorado. Tarantula herds will also be present in Southern California, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico this fall. Perhaps they’ll even venture up to Nevada’s Area 51 to party with festivalgoers at Alienstock on September 20.
Anyone with a desire to see something truly out of the ordinary doesn’t need to go to a museum to scratch that itch. All they need to do is head out west and watch thousands of giant hairy spiders run wild. Of course, viewers should watch from a reasonable distance so as not to impede this massive quest for love—and so they don’t get bitten.