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Ok, maybe not – Arizona Blonde Tarantulas tend to be solitary and docile despite their terrifying looks. We found this little one in our front yard a few weeks ago. Desert tarantulas are notoriously difficult to identify with certainty, but we think its an Arizona Blonde Tarantula. (Other common names for them include the Mexican Blonde Tarantula and the Western Desert Tarantula.)
They’re usually several inches in length, and their coloring differs depending on the gender. Young tarantulas are all a solid tan color. As they grow, females retain the same tan coloring. However, males develop black coloring on their legs and an orangish color on their abdomen. You can find a more detailed description of them here.
They tend to be most active mid-summer to early fall in the Valley, so you might see them wandering around soon if you haven’t already. Especially if you live in Apache Junction or other more rural parts of Phoenix. You’re most likely to see males out wandering in search of a mate. (The females usually stay close to their dens.)
In fact, so many come out it sometimes even becomes newsworthy, as shown in this local news article!
Not at all, really. They are venomous, but their bite and the potency of their venom are commonly compared to that of a bee sting. Also, they are known to be very docile and difficult to provoke, so you’d have to be really trying to get bitten by one. But even if you do get bit, aside for some local short-term pain you’ll likely be on about your day in no time with no medical aide needed. However, those known or suspected to be allergic should closely monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention right away if in doubt.
Aside from their bite – if they’re really agitated but not close enough to bite you, they can also propel specialized hairs from their bodies using their legs. These hairs can imbed themselves into your eyes and skin and cause intense irritation. But keep in mind – you have to be trying to agitate them to get them to this point. They don’t just start chucking tarantula hairs at you for nothing.
Tarantulas are solitary spiders and they usually live in burrows in the ground. They also usually hunt from their burrow by casting webbing at its entrance to catch prey that wanders by. If you find a tarantula in your yard or house, it was likely purely by accident as it wandered in search of a mate. To prevent these accidents, ensure you keep all doors and windows closed. If they find a way in anyway, you can easily scoop them up in a dust pan and move them outside if you’re comfortable doing so. If not, contact us! We’re always glad to help with all of your pest control needs.
Side note – here’s a cool article about an Arizona Blonde Tarantula escaping from the mouth of a Sonoran Desert Toad!
P.S. You can also find more general information about spiders in Arizona on our blog!