Sep 26, 2010 10:30 PM by Nicole Vandeputte

Tarantulas on the crawl

This story will probably make your skin crawl. Tarantulas are on the prowl. If you live in Pueblo, Southeast Colorado, or Fremont County, you might have already seen one.

The males are looking for females to mate. So last week, we went out to find them. It only took a few minutes of driving around CSU Pueblo to spot one of the large hairy spiders. We spotted one just after 7 p.m. making his way across the road near the soccer field.

These male tarantulas are on an incredible journey right now in Southern Colorado. Moussa Diawara is a Biology Professor at CSU Pueblo. He says, "From late August to early October is the time when the males are out seeking the female to mate."

Diawara says these males have waited up to a decade for their one, and only, journey outside. He says, "They die a few weeks after they mate, for reasons we don't know exactly."

So, where can you find them? The prairie lands surrounding CSU Pueblo is a good start. They've been spotted on the football, soccer, and baseball fields. Baseball coach Stan Sanchez says they've even stopped games to let those guys cross the field. He says no one wanted to pick it up.

They even slowed construction of the football and baseball stadiums. In 2007, we were told they were coming out of the woodworks during the construction of the football stadium. Sanchez says it was the same in 1993 when they built the baseball field. He says, "We saw nothing but tarantulas coming down from moving dirt and laying cement, putting up lights, building a field, building a stadium. They're everywhere."

They'll make a tough man scream. James Vickers plays offensive tackle for the Thunderwolves. He's a junior, and a pretty big guy. He says, "Tarantulas, I'm running, I'm running."

Vickers has reason to be spooked. A senior used a tarantula to prank him last year. Vickers says the senior put the tarantula on his shoulder during practice. He says, "I don't even notice it's there so I go to put my helmut on and it pokes it's legs right through there and touches my ear and I threw it off. I thought it was fake so I went to touch it and it moved. I just took off, ran down the field and screamed."

So, don't feel too bad if the sight of it makes you scream like a 5 year old girl. But, Diawara says they're harmless. They generally don't bite, and if it does the venom won't hurt you. He says, "They don't hurt anybody. When you see one you should help him find his way around.

Yea, these poor guys days are numbered. You might as well help make their one outing a pleasant one.

If you weren't creeped out before here's a little note. Tarantulas like to come out at night when it's cooler, and they will go indoors to find a cool spot.



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