Education Tarantula

Earlier this year while driving through Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, we encountered a tarantula crossing the road.  Instead of moving it to safety, we collected the spider and placed him on display in the visitor center.

Since we saved him from being flattened by traffic, we felt that a few months of captivity would more than repay his debt.  Over the season, the tarantula awed school children and winter visitors.  Because these animals spend most of their lives under ground, rarely seen, it was a treat to observe it up close.

Tonight, however, it was time for release.  Temperatures have risen in the desert, visitors have decreased, and the tarantula deserved his freedom.  Placing the caged spider in the Suburban, we drove down the road and parked near where we first came upon it.

With cage in hand, we followed a burro trail over a small rise and down into a ravine.  Chuck set it on the ground near a small hole in front of a creosote bush.  After encouraging the tarantula to climb onto a towel he’d placed in the cage, Chuck lifted him and laid him the ground.

Agitated, the tarantula raised his abdomen and attempted to flick hairs from his body at us.  But he soon settled down and ambled toward the nearby hole.  We last saw him disappear back into his own world.


Chuck carrying tarantula in cage:

Placing the cage on the ground:


Tarantula crawling onto towel:


Chuck holding tarantula:

Tarantula rearing abdomen:


Heading toward the hole:


Near the hole:


Entering the hole:







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