LA JUNTA, Colo. — Finding a mate is risky business this time of the year for the Oklahoma brown tarantulas that populate southeastern Colorado.
In the late summer, thousands of male tarantulas scour the plains for a mate — provided they can safely cross the roads that stripe the Arkansas Valley.
Female Oklahoma brown tarantulas can live up to 25 years. Once females make their burrows, they tend to stick close to them for the entirety of their lives.
The males live just a short time after reaching sexual maturity at age eight, hence their eager search for a mate.
"They're gonna be dead by Christmas," Colorado State University professor Whitney Cranshaw said in a 2015 9NEWS story. "Once they wander and mate and it gets cold, they don't make it."
Tarantulas in Colorado
Despite their fearsome reputation, the tarantulas are largely harmless.
"They're not a dangerous spider. They don't have venom that would hurt people. They're not going to bite unless you physically grab them," Cranshaw said.
Cranshaw hopes that Coloradans will get to better know the spiders and fear them less.
"Americans are weirder about spiders than pretty much any place on the planet," Cranshaw said. "By a long shot."
Visit La Junta will host the La Junta Tarantula Fest on Friday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife
9NEWS+ has multiple live daily shows including 9NEWS Mornings, Next with Kyle Clark and 9NEWS+ Daily, an original streaming program. 9NEWS+ is where you can watch live breaking news, weather updates, and press conferences. You can also replay recent newscasts and find videos on demand of our top stories, local politics, investigations and Colorado specific features.
To download 9NEWS+ on Roku search for KUSA.
To download 9NEWS+ on Fire TV search for 9NEWS.