Posts tagged with "Tarantulas"

Creepy crawlies: If you live here, prepare to see thousands of tarantulas

August 6, 2021

Catching an unexpected glimpse of a daddy longlegs spider in your home can make even folks who’d barely call themselves arachnophobes jump. A wolf spider sighting outdoors can frighten even the most intrepid explorers. And encountering a hairy tarantula can cause virtually anyone to freeze up.

Unfortunately for folks of one particular area of the United States, there’s about to be an influx of not just a few or a few hundred, but thousands of tarantulas in the very near future, Best Life reports.

Starting in August, Colorado—particularly the southeastern part of the state—will see a sudden uptick in its tarantula population.

The sudden influx of thousands of tarantulas, which typically begins between late August and September, according to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences (via The Gazette), is part of the arachnids’ annual migration.

For the Aphonopelma vogelae tarantula, more frequently found in the southwestern portions of the state, migration peaks in October.

But take heart: While seeing thousands of tarantulas descend on your area may be disconcerting, their presence is typically short-lived.

According to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences, following their migration, the tarantulas are active for a short period of time, but “all normally perish within a couple of months.”

And you won’t be the only one watching where you walk and sit. The Colorado-based tarantula migration isn’t the only major shift in habitats these furry arachnids may be making this year, however.

According to Christopher Vitek, PhD, an associate professor of biology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley during their mating season between March and October, tarantulas frequently emerge from their usual habitats in states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

While tarantulas are unlikely to do harm to most humans, it’s wise to give them a wide berth if you encounter one in the wild.

“Their venom is of no medical significance, and contrary to popular belief, nobody has ever died from such a bite; most people compare the bite to that of a bee sting and experience no lasting ill-effects other than mild to moderate pain and slight swelling at the site of the bite,” Brent Hendrixson, PhD, chair of biology at Millsaps College, recently told Best Life.

Hendrixson says that if you do find a tarantula somewhere it shouldn’t be—inside your home, for example—and don’t feel comfortable picking it up, gently coax it into a jar with a soft-ended object like a paintbrush and remove it from the premises.

Research contact: @bestlife

Should pigs fly? New DOT rules would allow only service animals

January 23, 2020

Airlines would no longer be required to accommodate emotional support animals under new federal rules proposed January 22 that seek to rein in passengers who try to bring their pets on-board, The Chicago Tribune reports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says it “wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim their pets are service animals.”

According to the Tribune, federal laws currently require airlines to permit passengers with disabilities to travel with service and emotional support animals in the cabin, although support animals don’t have to have the specialized training service animals receive. Unlike pets, service and support animals fly at no added fee.

U.S. airlines already have started tightening rules for emotional support animals over the past couple of years, citing an increase in problems with animals such as miniature horses, peacocks, and tarantulas in the cabin.

Transportation officials said last year they were working on new rules for service animals. Under the proposal, which must undergo a public comment phase before being finalized, airlines wouldn’t be required to treat emotional support animals differently than a household pet. They also wouldn’t be required to transport service animals other than dogs.

The proposal would define a service animal as a dog “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, “ the Tribune reports. Psychiatric service animals would have the same requirements as other service animals.

The carriers also would be able to limit passengers to two service animals that fit within the traveler’s foot space on the aircraft.

In addition, the news outlet notes, airlines would be allowed to require passengers to submit forms developed by the transportation department—attesting to the animal’s good behavior, health, and ability to either not relieve itself or do so in a sanitary way on long flights.

Finally, carriers could require travelers with service animals to check in an hour before other passengers to allow time to process the animal’s documents, DOT said.

Research contact: @chicagotribune