Tarantulas in Colorado go on a deadly quest for love and a new home
On June 29, a group of tarantulas emerged from their hiding places to seek out a mate. While the males might spend a week or more in the web of an orb weaver, the females only stay inside for seconds at a time. What follows is a story of what happens between them and the male.
I was sitting in the garden, reading a book on tarantulas, when I heard a little scream from the night garden. I was startled and looked up, wondering who had woken me. A tarantula with a broken leg, caught in a net, was struggling out of the web. It looked up at me, hissing and then scampering back into the web, hissing again. I wondered, but quickly forgot about it as I turned my attention to the problem: a large tarantula was dragging itself across the table, as if it was trying to get to me and couldn’t make its way.
I tried to grab it, but it seemed to have grown some kind of new leg. It dragged itself over and pushed its head into my hand. I knew instantly that it would be too big to swallow. I could feel its legs poking me and its antennae tickling my face. I pulled a book out of my bag and held it over its face. A single page fell out onto its face, leaving a tiny speck of dust at the bottom. A tarantula that looks like that will be dead in a few seconds.
Tarantulas are one of the biggest predators on earth. They prey on other arachnids, of which the giant tarantula is the only member. Males and females feed on one another, and are attracted to each other by scent. They mate in the dark, and when the female is ready to emerge from her cocoon, she spins a new cocoon. This is done by making a big oval web. The spider spins a sticky silk around herself, keeping the web open. She then crawls into it. This spider has to work a lot of energy to make a cocoon: four pairs of legs that stretch out to each side, the spider body, eyes, and a few