Tarantulas Take to the Streets

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - They're big, furry, and downright creepy. All of this rain has tarantulas crawling out of their holes. They've been spotted on streets, backyards and at businesses. If you're like us, chances are you've run into one or two already. But where are they all coming from and what happens if you get bit??

Rainy days like Friday are creating a lot more than just flooded roads - it's bringing out the tarantulas. You may have seen them scurrying across the highway or even crunched a few with your tires, but NewsWest 9 wanted to know if you find one in your house or business, is it dangerous??

After all this rain it's like the "ugly bug ball."

"Every day, we run into them," Midland Driver, Ermaelinda Sosa, said. "At the stores, they were all right there on the wall about the size of my hand."

"It's creepy, kind of scary," Alvin Dunson, who lives in Midland, said. "I wouldn't want any of them to come into the house or anything like that."

In fact, there are 200 tarantulas for every acre in West Texas. But why are they all over the roads? The answer is almost like a soap opera. The ones you see on the highway are males hitting the streets to find a few females.

"It's mating season, so the males who are seven years old, leave their holes and go upwind and start sniffing for females," Burr Williams, with Sibley Nature Center, said.

And if somehow you encounter one of the eight-legged critters, don't worry. Even if they bite you, there are no side effects. But here's something you may want to watch out for: brown recluse and black widow spiders. Their bites can make their victims nauseous and very sick in which case, you need to get it treated immediately.

"They are usually found in bathrooms and closets and things like that," Williams said. "Most people get bit when they pick up something where the spider is on the object and they trap it between their hand and the object."

"If you're scared to pick it up, you can easily scoop it up in a bucket or a jar and you pretty much want to take it in the direction it's going," Williams said. "If it's climbing the wall of your house, it's trying to go to the other side, so just take it outside and it will go to your neighbor's."

The tarantulas don't plan on vacating our West Texas streets anytime soon. Local insect experts say the tarantulas will most likely stick around throughout the summer even as long as September.