It is Tarantula Time in the Alameda Creek Watershed

September is the time when summer officially ends, and kids are back in school. In the SFPUC-owned lands of the Alameda Creek Watershed, September brings a different annual event: tarantula migration.  Because the 35,000 acres that the SFPUC owns are protected as a water source, they also provide a safe haven for all sorts of plants and animals.

Tarantulas in this watershed are normally shy and nocturnal. Starting in September through the fall, some of the males venture out from their underground burrows in search of romance.

The California brown tarantula (Aphonopelma sp.) at the Calaveras Dam.

If the males are lucky enough to find a lady in her burrow, they will spend a lot of time weaving webs just above ground outside. He’ll tap on the web strands outside the entrance to see if she’s willing. If successful, afterwards the males scurry off lest they overstay their welcome.

Although they look scary, these arachnids are harmless, unless you’re an insect or invertebrate. They also move slowly, so please don’t touch or harass them. They’re just looking for love, and who can’t relate?

The California brown tarantula (Aphonopelma sp.) heads out of its burrow at Calaveras Dam in search of romance.