Creepy, Crawly Autumn Hikes on Mt. Diablo – Love is in the Air for Tarantulas

August 21, 2014 · 7 comments

tarantula

What: Tarantula love is in the autumn air. From now through October, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and other local organizations offer guided, family-friendly treks to find hairy, harmless Tarantulas crawling the mountain looking for mates.

Although this large, furry arachnid spends much of its time hidden in burrows, every autumn the male Tarantulas emerge from their homes in search of a mate. A 19th Century scientific expedition described Mount Diablo’s Tarantulas as “attaining the size of a half grown mouse, possessing fangs the size of a rattlesnake’s, and delivering a bite generally considered fatal.” Is this the gruesome truth or just arachnophobia? Time to find out.

Tarantulas on the Move:

Sunday, August 24, 6 to 8 p.m.

Learn about and look for Mount Diablo’s gentle giants, the California Tarantula, on this moderate three-mile, two-hour hike with naturalist Michael Marchiano. These often maligned and feared spiders are completely harmless to man. Learn why they’re only visible in the fall, where they live, what they eat, how they survive. Bring water, snacks, camera, binoculars and dress for the weather. Mitchell Canyon Picnic Area; $6/car. Reservations required at Mount Diablo Interpretive Association.

Tarantula Treks:

  • Saturday, September 6, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 20, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 4, 5 to 8 p.m.

Join eight-legged divas Mia and Scarlet for spider talk before taking a slow two-three mile walk to find Tarantulas and other crepuscular critters, including scorpions, owls, and bats in their natural environment. Bring water, snacks, camera, binoculars and dress for the weather. Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center; $6/car. Reservations required atsweettrails00@gmail.com  or mtdiablohiker@aol.com.

Arachnophobia or How I Learned to Love Tarantulas:

  • Saturday, September 13, 4:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 14, 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 20, 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 11, 4 p.m.

Learn about and look for Mount Diablo’s gentle giants, the California Tarantula, on this slow three-mile, two-hour hike with naturalist Michael Marchiano. These often maligned and feared spiders are completely harmless to man. Learn why they’re only visible in the fall, where they live, what they eat, how they survive. Bring water, snacks, camera, binoculars and dress for the weather. Mitchell Canyon Picnic Area; $6/car.

Reservations required at Mount Diablo Interpretive Association.

NOTE: Rain cancels all hikes.

About Tarantulas:

Tarantulas’ sizes range from as small as a fingernail to as big as a dinner plate. Tarantulas are carnivores. They eat a wide variety of insects, especially larger ones such as crickets and grasshoppers, June beetles, cicadas and caterpillars. Legend and lore paints them as much more dangerous and frightening than they really are. In fact, they’re essentially harmless to humans. The hikes, led by naturalists, travel over moderate terrain, during which hikers will learn to identify Tarantula burrows and site Tarantulas along the way.

Tarantulas may live for years – most species take two to five years to reach adulthood, but some species may take up to 10 years to reach full maturity. Upon reaching adulthood, males typically have a one to one-and-a-half year period left to live and will immediately go in search of a female with which to mate. Female Tarantulas have been known to reach 30 to 40 years of age, and have survived on water alone for up to two years. All Tarantulas are venomous, but only some species have venom that, while not known to have ever produced human fatalities, can produce extreme discomfort over a period of several days.

The Tarantula treks are a fascinating way to enjoy these creatures on magnificent Mount Diablo, while respecting their space and habitat.

1 Concord Guy August 21, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Too cool! I think I’ll sign up. My wife has declared that she’s staying home for this one…

2 Dorothy August 21, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Used to be a jewelry store in SF that would put tarantulas in their window at night when they closed up. Never heard of anyone trying to steal anything in that window.

3 Jimbo August 22, 2014 at 12:18 AM

Sunset is the best time to look. They like rocky areas with cracks and crevasses. You can easily see them cross the road if your riding a bike up the mtn.

4 Donna August 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Can you go without being in the tour?

5 Marissa August 22, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Who would want to go and look at huge spiders crawling all around you! I found some in my garage, can you say Bug Spray UGH!

6 Silva August 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM

This is oh so COOL!! Definatly why Claycord.com is such a community asset.

7 Atticus Thraxx August 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Donna I think the trail head closes at dusk but you don’t have to be on a tour to go check it out. Don’t go alone is my advice.
Marrisa it is alot of fun and the spiders are very docile.Check it out.
Like Killjoy mentioned bring a UV light so you can see the scorpions.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: