Subject: What kind of spider is this?
Location: Southern California
September 29, 2015 12:32 am
We live in the mountains of Southern California, and this was outside our front door this morning. I am having a hard time figuring out what it is. It is probably 1.5-2″ in diameter.
Signature: Shannon



Dear Shannon,
This is a Tarantula, and if you are in the mountains, we suspect you have considerable amounts of open space that can provide habitat for Tarantulas which have been eliminated in many urban areas because of over building and habitat loss.

Thanks for getting back to me! I thought it was a tarantula, but I couldn’t be sure. Is it probably young since it is small-ish?

That is possible.  Males tend to travel in search of mates and they are smaller than females, and California Tarantulas are smaller than many tropical relatives.

Location: southern California

5 Responses to Tarantula

  1. Why burn it? Why harm it at all? Why not move it further away from your house into some brush where it can hunt. It’s not like it is poisonous or planning to attack your family.

    • Shannon says:

      That comment confused me too. This is my post, and I am more excited than anything to have found this outside my front door 🙂

      • bugman says:

        Many years ago, when we began What’s That Bug? our mission was and still remains to educate the public regarding tolerance of the lower beasts as well as the inter-connectivity of all life on our planet. Seems we still have a ways to go.

  2. Grady says:

    This is most assuredly a male tarantula; the pedipalps (those little leg-like things to either side of the mouth) are large, which is a good indicator. Additionally, close inspection of the front legs shows a bit of a “spur” on the back of the leg, immediately before one of the joints; this is used to keep females’ limbs out of the way during mating.

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