Mating season for Bay Area tarantulas just got longer

Extra-horny spiders is yet-another unexpected consequence of climate change. The warmer-than-usual weather has prolonged the male tarantula's annual mass booty crawl—and, by extension, their lives.

The typical mating season for male tarantulas in the Bay Area runs from August to early October. They reach that tender age of 4-7 years old, molt their hairy husks for a shiny new shell (including a fresh set of "nuptial hooks"), then head out on the prowl, do the humpty dance, and die. "They're not returning home," Cameron Morrison, supervising state park peace officer for Mount Diablo State Park, told ABC. Mount Diablo is home to a large tarantula population, and a popular tourist destination who are really into sexy tarantula voyeurism. "That's their final voyage, basically."

Government officials have been warning the public about the possibly-jarring sight of thousands of tarantulas searching for a mate. But not because they're dangerous to humans; in fact, it's the other way around. Although their bites do sting—they are quite large, after all—their poison is harmless to humans, and they're only really likely to bite if they feel threatened.  "Hollywood and the media have made tarantulas seem monstrous, so to many people these slow-moving spiders appear ominous and threatening," explains the Mount Diablo State Park website. Nothing is farther from the truth; they are truly one of the gentle giants of the animal world."

So if you see 'em, leave 'em alone while they get it on. Consider it a Halloween blessing.

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Bay Area Blonde Tarantula – As I was going for my DSLR shots… a family drove by, saw what I had, and pulled over to check out the Tarantula. Husband, wife, and four children. The husband said they had been driving around hoping to see one most of the day. Although they were a little weary at first, I assured them the spider was harmless as long as they didn't try to grab or frighten it. Then, I stood back and photographed the family's experience as they passed the docile creature around to each other. Struck with fascination…😊 it was really cool #BayAreaBlondTarantula #fieldherping #herping #fieldherpingphotography #CaliforniaTarantula #Marriage #TarantulaPhotography #NaturePhotography #CaliforniaWildlifePhotography #SearchingForLove #TarantulaMigration #AimlesslySearchingForLove

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(Top image via Flickr)