A year ago, I learned that our part of the San Francisco Bay Area is home to tarantulas and that autumn is mating season for these fine furry fellows. For my birthday last year, I dragged everyone out tarantula hunting. Sadly, though, we went out too late in the season and saw no tarantulas.
I had to wait a year, but today I got to see my first wild tarantula. I went out hiking with Ken-ichi (a Flickr friend), and some of his pals, with the goal of seeing amorous male tarantulas. The weather was blazing, the hike was done at a good clip, and we didn't see a single tarantula on the trail.
Failing that, we drove up and down Mount Diablo, scrutinizing every single thing along the side of the road. I'm proud to say that my "bright eyes" did not fail me, and I spotted our one and only tarantula, sauntering down the middle of the road.
Tarantulas weigh almost nothing. They feel like velvet. They are quite docile and very fragile, and we were extremely careful in handling this astonishing creature.
Tarantulas do not bite humans (in fact, they eat nothing bigger than crickets). When they are alarmed, they will raise their abdomen aloft, and use their legs to flick their prickly hairs at their attackers. Our friend had his abdomen raised at times, but nobody went home to pluck spider hairs out of their arms.
Robb opted to spend the afternoon at the pool, instead of going spider-hunting. The trail would have been impossible for him to manage. While he was curious, he wasn't overcome with my fervor for spider snuggling.
But, oh boy! Did I enjoy my opportunity to cuddle up with this fine specimen of manhood!