Tarantulas wandering around in East Texas?


As things begin to heat up this summer, you may see an increase of bugs and insects.

Among those are the ever creepy tarantulas.

But are they on the rise here in East Texas?

The Texas brown tarantula is an illusive arachnid native to our part of the country.

Soon you may see them around your yard.

“Probably the most common thing people run into are the males. (They) will wander around looking for a mate,” said Joe Pase, an entomologist. “So they typically come across the male spiders in the street or in the road or something like that.”

These tarantulas primarily come out at night and look for small bugs, lizards or small frogs to eat.

Pase was an entomologist with the US Forest Service for many years.

One day while working he managed to find a female and captured it. He would later name her Martha.

“I had one that I kept at work,” Pase said. “I fed her, I probably had her four, maybe five years and every elementary school kid got to meet her at some point in time. I had requests to come and show Martha and talk about her and the kids loved it.”

Showing off an arachnid of his own led Pase to read more about them. He discovered female Texas brown tarantulas have been known to live up to 40 years.

They aren’t aggressive toward people, though if they become stressed or agitated they can be very intimidating.

“They’ll kind of back up on their back legs in kind of a threatening ‘attack’ like manner. They don’t jump and grab you or something like that, but they can be intimidating just because of their defensive position,” said Pase.

Thankfully for us, it’s rare for them to bite people. But if they do, there’s nothing to worry about.

“They’re not aggressive, they don’t attack people or chase them and that kind of stuff. The venom is relatively mild, probably less painful than a bee sting,” said Pase. “Unless you happen to be allergic to venom but that’s a rare, rare event.”

So if you’re out and about at night, don’t be surprised if you see some extra big bugs hanging around.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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