SAN ANTONIO – Is it just us or has there been an increase in people seeing all kinds of different critters in the San Antonio area this year, including tarantulas?
Just recently, one KSAT viewer sent in a photo of a Texas tan tarantula that was crawling up a patio door, and another viewer from New Braunfels sent us a photo of one walking down their sidewalk. (pictured above)
We reached out to entomologist Molly Keck from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in Bexar County to ask about the seemingly more-frequent sightings.
“I’m not sure if there are actually more tarantulas this year, or we are all just home and noticing them in our landscape more often,” Keck said.
She tells us this time of the year is normal to see tarantulas active as the males are out looking for females.
Keck also believes the weather may be a factor.
“As it heats up and dries out, the tarantulas will leave their burrows and search for moisture,” Keck said. “When we get soaking rains they may get washed out of their hiding places as well, so probably a combination of many factors making them seem more noticeable to us.”
Everything you need to know about the tarantula:
- They are the heaviest spider in Texas by weight and their body length is about 1 1/2 inches.
- They are common in Texas.
- There are 14 species of tarantulas in Texas.
- Females can lay 100 to 1,000 eggs and spiderlings usually hatch in July or later in the year.
- Females can live for over 25 years, but males rarely live more than two to three months after maturity.
- They have fangs that inject venom into their prey.
- As a shelter, they use burrows, natural spaces under logs or stones, spaces under loose bark and even old rodent burrows.
- A bite from a Texas tarantula is usually not serious to humans.
- They keep the pest population down by eating crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas and caterpillars.