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While large chunks of my reading list has been running screaming from spiders this week, I quite pleased, as I finally saw my first wild tarantula today.

It's the start of mating season up on the Diablo Range and, driving down from the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton this afternoon, I had to swerve more than once to avoid a 3 or 4 inch long beastie crossing the road. However, the closest I got to one was as it wandered around in a trailhead car park. The spider was a good six inches long, with a two or three inch long body. I managed to get a few photographs of it, as it wandered across the gravel.

There were plenty more at the sides of the road, and I suspect there'll be a lot more up on the trails. Apparently last year was a good year for them (the males only mature after seven years, though they can live for up to thirty...), so this year may well be another one for arachnophobes to avoid the mountains...

Wild Tarantula

Actually, I'm not particularly fond of spiders myself, so it was odd that I got so close to this one. I suspect it just didn't trigger my spider senses, as it moved very differently from the spiders back home.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 22nd, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
COOL! You are so lucky to them native!
Sep. 22nd, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
omg!! Rather you than me :)
Although when you mentioned that they can live up to 30 years, my immediate thought was that they'd make good pets... err...
Sep. 22nd, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Some people do have spiders as pets - my brother had a shed tarantula skin courtesy of a friend who kept spiders. It looked like a real spider!

I can't think they'd be very ... pettable, tho'
Sep. 22nd, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)

And I had no idea they could live so long.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, gorgeous!
Sep. 23rd, 2007 07:48 am (UTC)
They're very cool. However, the males of the (the "California Brown" - it's currently unclear how many species there are - could be one, could be as many as 45) do usually only live about seven years in the wild. Once they're mature the males go wandering after the girls and don't eat, drink, or rest until the mating season is over. By which time they've weakened so much that somebody's probably eaten them, often their second or third mate.

Tarantulas can make wonderful pets - but get a girl if you get one, they don't have this hormonal problem. They're mostly not petable - bit it's because when you pet them the hair tends to come off. But it can be fun interacting with them - but the really see humans (once they get used to us) as an interesting rock to crawl around on.
Sep. 24th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC)
Wow. That's a big, hairy, impressive fella!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )