San Francisco residents, don’t freak out—but there are thousands of tarantulas casually roaming your city right now.
The tarantulas are out and about throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area. They’re making a show not for Halloween, but because the weather has been drier and warmer than usual, causing male Bay Area blond tarantulas, the only tarantulas that are native to the region, to come out and look for a mate.
Residents have been spotting the creatures on trails, roads, and parks.
After the males successfully mate, they die. “They’re not returning home,” Cameron Morrison, supervising state park peace officer for Mount Diablo State Park, explained to ABC News. “That’s their final voyage, basically.”
The male tarantulas are up to 4 inches in length, while females are the size of a nickel. But experts say not to fear them—they are “gentle giants,” Cameron says. “They’re very reluctant to bite you. I’ve never had someone say that they were bitten by a tarantula.” Also, if one did bite you for some reason, it would be less severe than a bee sting (even though their fangs are quite large). Their hairs can cause skin irritation, though, so it’s not a good idea to handle them.
Usually, by this time of year, the male tarantulas have already done their mating and died. But thanks to seasonal weather changes, they’re still on the prowl. Lucky California!