Best time to travel to New Mexico

Tarantula Migration in New Mexico

Thousands of spiders can be spotted on roads, trails, and even in backyards

Best time: September–October

Tarantula Migration

The Desert Tarantula, also called the Desert Blonde Tarantula, is common in New Mexico. These arachnids usually keep to themselves, spending most of their lives in burrows. However, in the fall, you can spot them almost everywhere, in particular, on the desert highways and roads. These large spiders covered with brown or tan hair leave their hideouts and roam the desert in search of mates. Their mating season lasts from September through October,

Tarantulas are abundant in Northern New Mexico, around Santa Fe and Albuquerque. They can usually be easily spotted on Santa Fe Desert County Road 42. In Cerrillos Hills State Park, employees sometimes do guided tarantula-spotting tours. The best time to look for spiders is in the afternoon around sunset.

Eight-legged tarantulas eat insects, which they kill, stinging them with venom. The venom is usually harmless for humans, but if you get bitten by a tarantula, you might feel a sting, similar to a bee's. Male spiders live only until they reach adulthood and can mate. They die shortly after mating unless female tarantulas kill and eat the poor fellows in the process of reproduction. On the contrary, females can live up to 25 years, giving life to thousands of offspring. A tarantula hawk is the only natural enemy for these arachnids.

Practical info

When can Tarantula migration be witnessed?

Tarantula migration is best witnessed in New Mexico from September to early October. Male Tarantulas come out of their burrows during this time to mate, making them more visible. Afternoons until sunset is the ideal time to spot them. Show more

What is the favored New Mexico spot to observe Tarantulas?

Tarantulas are seen across Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas in northern New Mexico. Santa Fe Desert County Road 42 is a favorite spot for tarantulas. Another spot is the Cerrillos Hills State Park, where tourist staff sometimes lead Tarantula watching expeditions. Show more

What are the ways to join Tarantula-spotting tours?

Guided tours for observing Tarantulas in their natural habitat are available at the Cerrillos Hills State Park. These sunset tours are popular and should be pre-booked. Another option is to hire a local animal or nature guide to show you the best Tarantula spots. Show more

Does a Tarantula’s venom cause any harm to humans?

Tarantulas can bite and inject venom; however, it is not hazardous to humans and causes no more than a bee sting's pain, redness, and light swelling. People stung by poisonous spiders or who have venom allergies should immediately seek medical attention. Show more

What is the expected lifespan of female Tarantulas?

Female Tarantulas’ lifespan can reach up to 25 years. During this time, they usually mate several times, producing thousands of offspring. In contrast, male Tarantulas have shorter lifespans and typically die after reaching maturity after mating. Female Tarantulas are known to be hazardous as they sometimes hunt, kill, and eat their male partners after mating. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen