is offering creepy, crawly autumn hikes on Mount Diablo to see amorous tarantulas on the mountainside.
Naturalist Michael Marchiano leads the three-hour hikes, starting at 4:30 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Hikes are limited to 20 participants due to interaction with wildlife. RSVP to Save Mount Diablo at (925) 947-3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Track the Save Mount Diablo calendar here.
From a Save Mount Diablo press release:
Walnut Creek, CA (August 7, 2012) – Birds do it, bees do it – and in Walnut Creek, so do tarantulas! In September and October, Save Mount Diablo offers guided treks to see tarantulas crawling the mountain looking for mates. Although this large and hairy arachnid spends much of its time hidden in burrows, every autumn the male tarantulas emerge from their homes in search of a mate.
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 three-hour hikes, led by Naturalist Michael Marchiano, travel one to two miles 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 taking 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, while respecting their space and habitat.