Tarantula trekking begins again in Walnut Creek
Okay fearless Fosdicks, tarantula trekking time in Walnut Creek is around the corner. From the end of August through October Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and other local organizations will take you on guided, family-friendly hikes to find hairy harmless arachnids hunting for mates. Although this large, and sort of disgusting-looking creature spends much of its time hidden in burrows, every autumn the males creep up from their homes in search of a female.
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." You can learn whether or not this is a gruesome truth or just arachnophobia starting on Sunday, August 24, 6 to 8 p.m. during a moderate three-mile, two-hour hike with naturalist Michael Marchiano. These often maligned and feared spiders are completely harmless to man (maybe that’s true but count this Diva out). 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. The trip begins at Mitchell Canyon Picnic Area; parking is $6 a car. Reservations required at Mount Diablo Interpretive Association.
Other 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.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. Please note that if it rains on the day of the hike it will be canceled.
Tarantulas’ range in size from as small as a fingernail to as big as a dinner plate. Eek, they are carnivores, but thankfully choose 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.
The lifespan of a tarantula is 10 years or more with females outliving males by 20 or 30 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.
Ever hear the Tarantula Song, now's you chance, just watch the video.