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Tarantula Migration in Nevada

Watch thousands of tarantulas on the march through Nevada desert

Tarantula Migration
A tarantula in Valley of Fire Park, Nevada

Tarantulas are quite common throughout the whole Southwest. However, the town of Gabbs, Nevada, is where you can witness the world’s largest tarantula migration. Every fall, thousands of desert tarantulas get out of their burrows and roam searching for a mate. Those large, hairy spiders with brown or tan hair can be seen on trails, crossing highways, on the streets, and in backyards. In Gabbs, a local high school even picked the tarantula as its mascot. The arachnids' mating season typically starts in September and ends in early November.

In Southern Nevada, the migration occurs as well. The Valley of Fire State Park is one of the best destinations for spider-spotting in the state. Spiders are often seen on the trails near Las Vegas as well. Tarantulas are most active right before or after the sunset.

It's mostly male desert tarantulas that you can spot outside. Females usually stay close to their hideouts waiting for a potential suitor. After mating, it's very common that a female spider kills and eats the poor fellow. Even though tarantulas, reaching a few inches in size, are feared by the public, it has been proved that their venom is quite harmless to people.

Practical info

When can tarantula migration in Gabbs, Nevada be seen?

The desert tarantula migration in Gabbs, Nevada happens during the mating season that starts in early September and lasts until early November. Thousands of male spiders leave their burrows to find a mate and can be observed on their march through the desert during late afternoon and around sunset. Show more

Where else in Southern Nevada are tarantulas found besides Gabbs and Las Vegas?

Tarantulas can also be spotted in the Valley of Fire State Park and the trails near Las Vegas. If you're going to Death Valley National Park, the roads leading to it can be a good place to observe them too. In Reno, you can explore Hawk Canyon for tarantulas. Be careful not to handle them, however, as they have a venomous bite. Show more

What size can tarantulas in Nevada grow up to?

Tarantulas found in Nevada can grow up to a few inches in size. Desert tarantulas are large spiders that have brown or tan hair. They are generally not harmful to humans as their venom is used primarily for killing prey rather than for fighting predators. Their fully grown leg span can reach up to 10 inches, and their body length ranges from 2-4 inches, which can be intimidating due to their large size. Show more

Do tarantulas pose a threat to humans?

Most tarantulas are not a threat to humans as their venom is not harmful. They bite humans only in self-defense, and their bites are typically not life-threatening. There may be severe reactions for a few people who are allergic to tarantula venom, but such instances are rare. If you get bitten, ensure immediate medical attention. Show more

What are the other unique animal migrations to witness in Nevada besides tarantulas?

Nevada is host to several unique animal migrations. For instance, you can spot a herd of elk migrating for food and water in the Ruby Mountains. During winter, you can watch thousands of snow geese migrating through the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. The Lamoille Canyon area near Elko is an excellent place to see various migratory birds. In the Great Basin National Park, you can witness pronghorn antelope migration. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen