If tarantulas fascinate you more than they creep you out, then you’ll likely be amazed at the ‘migration’ of the tarantulas taking place this September in Colorado. Tarantulas, those creepy but docile eight-legged insects, participate in an annual “migration” that has been picking up in public interest over the last few years, mainly due to how unique it is to see thousands of these creepy crawlies come out of their usual hiding spots. Here’s how you can spot this once-a-year “migration.”
Though we keep referring to this event as a migration, it’s actually a mating ritual where male tarantulas come up to the surface and go scouting for females to breed with. The females, usually burrowed in their holes in hiding, are propositioned by the males, who drum his legs on the ‘door’ of the female’s burrow. Then the female decides whether or not to answer the call. In some cases, after mating, the female will even eat the male.
This annual “migration” has picked up public interest over the last couple of years, so much so that La Junta has used it as a bit of a selling point for their tourism. The “migration” usually takes place across the 443,000-plus acres on the Comanche National Grassland, where you can head if you’re interested in possibly catching a glimpse of a dozen or more tarantulas as they make their way across the Grassland. Fair warning, tarantulas don’t head in waves but a few at a time so while you’re likely to see a dozen or so, don’t go expecting thousands to be visible at one time.
Head south of La Junta to Highway 10, 350, or 109 an hour or so before sunset or stop by a local restaurant and ask the locals where they’ve seen them. Be patient and prepared to stay a bit later into the evening and remember that tarantulas are not typically aggressive with humans and are more likely to flee if you get too close. Also, in the recent years, there’s been a decline in the tarantula population so respect their space, as you’re the one heading into their natural habitat. Who knows how long we’ll be able to see these animals performing their biological instincts in Southeast Colorado so if you’re interested, head over.