Tarantulas Out on the Prowl in California, Ready for Love

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Even hairy, eight-legged creatures need a little love.

Its mating season for tarantulas and California residents are going to have front row seats for all of the lovemaking.

“This weekend or next weekend is going to be the biggest spider movement of all,” Al Wolf, director of the Sonoma County Reptile Rescue told CBS News. “All males will be looking for the girls so it’s going to be eight-legged love.”

After living in burrows for the first five to 12 years of their lives, male tarantulas come up during mating season, looking for females who are nestled up in their own burrows.

Male tarantulas will approach the burrows and taste the silk around to see if there is a mature female nearby, according to the Huffington Post.

Before mating, the male will spin a “hammock-shaped web and sprays it with sperm,” and rubs himself on the web, according to LiveScience. He’s then ready to mate with a female.

But it’s not all that romantic. After inseminating the female, the male tarantulas may meet a grim fate: if females are hungry, they devour a male if he’s not quick enough to escape. Even the lucky ones not to be eating alive by the females usually die by the end of mating season.

The full mating season starts in the late summer and can last up to two months. It ends around the time the first winter rains come in.

But while the tarantulas will be all over popular hiking and walking trails, Wolf says humans need not to worry. They’re bites can be painful but not poisonous,  like most humans, the tarantulas are just looking for some love.

“They look ferocious but surprisingly most tarantulas, at least those in the United States are pretty harmless.”

By spring, the females will give birth to hundreds of offspring.

Source: Huffington Post, CBS News, LiveScience