By Alisa Brewer

The itsy-bitsy spider…strike that.  Here in Tucson we know that some of our spiders, particularly our tarantulas, are not so itsy bitsy.  Just watching one walk is enough to give my husband the heebie jeebies and send him running for the house.  But before you go and wash the spider out, you should know why these gentle giants are great allies to have around.  

Tarantulas are nocturnal, so in our daily hustle and bustle it’s very rare to see one.  They will emerge from their little burrows in the evening on the hunt for insects such as beetles, cicadas and cockroaches.  They help keep these pests out of your house.  Fewer cockroaches?  Yes please!  Due to the tarantula’s poor eyesight, they typically lumber slowly around and are not interested in coming into contact with anything bigger than themselves.  They are actually very fragile and an unwanted encounter or a fall of even a couple inches could kill them.  

Monsoon season is mating season.  I don’t blame them, there is something very romantic about the desert rains.  If you happen to see one walking down the street or around your patio, consider yourself fortunate!  It is likely a male in search of a lucky lady to woo.  These wandering Romeos reach sexual maturity around 8-10 years old.  So, you’re looking at a spider that has been nearly a decade in the making!   

I get it. Tarantulas are scary looking.  Coming face to face with one can be startling.  But remember, it may be a little girl  searching your property for pesky insects or it may be a lover boy trying to take advantage of the monsoon backdrop.  Either way, the easiest thing to do is to step aside and let that slow poke pass.  Before you know it, it will be out of sight, likely never to be seen again.  And that my friends, is a happily ever after for everyone.  

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