Colorado's annual tarantula 'migration' has begun

It's a busy time of year, if you're an arachnid.

Thousands of tarantulas are set to emerge across the eastern plains as part of an annual "migration." The event is becoming popular among locals, but the name isn't completely accurate. The tarantulas aren't really migrating, they're just more visible this time of year because they're out looking for mates.

In early fall, male tarantulas leave their burrows to search for females, which stay hidden. They're guided by pheromones and when they find a burrow, they will drum their legs or use body vibrations to announce their arrival.

Males typically don't live long after mating and have a typical life span of about seven years. Exposure to the elements, predators, and human activity leave them in a vulnerable position. They also tend to lose interest in food as they mature, and if they enter a burrow too abruptly or overstay their welcome, there's a chance the female, which can live for up to 30 years, could eat him.

Mating season happens as temperatures start to cool, typically at some point in September, and continue until the ground starts to freeze. Some Colorado residents have already reported tarantula sightings this year. You're most likely to see them as the sunsets and into the night, and males will sometimes prowl the streets in groups.

Tourists interested in checking out the arachnids can find recommendations on the best viewing locales online.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Mychemicalromanceisrealemo/Wikipedia CC0.