Thousands of tarantulas crawl over San Francisco in search of mates


Swarms of male tarantulas have been crawling all over San Francisco in search of mates as a result of warm weather this month, KPIX reports.

Though the hairy spiders normally come out at night, they've been known to crop up during the day as well.

"Great time of year," Sonoma County Reptile Rescue Director Al Wolf told the station. "You only get to see it once a year."

Despite their intimidating appearance, tarantulas are generally not considered dangerous to humans. Painful bite aside, tarantulas produce a venom that's weaker than that of a bee.

"It’s often the nicest spider of the groups," Wolf explained. "It’s the littler spiders that we always have problems with. These big ones often don't do anything to you."

The arachnids normally live in tropical, subtropical and arid regions and feed on insects, although some do prey on animals as large as frogs and mice, according to National Geographic.

During the mating season, male tarantulas, which can live up to seven years, spin webs and deposit their sperm on the web's surface. They then mate with female tarantulas, which can live up to 30 years, by using leglike appendages near their mouths. One mating ritual can produce up to 1,000 tarantulas.

In the U.S., most tarantulas are found in the southwestern states, Live Science notes, Currently, there are over 850 species of the eight-legged creature.

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