Tarantulas looking for love in California; hikers warned

LOS ANGELES — Tarantulas are out looking for love, and hikers in Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains are warned to watch out for the hairy spiders.

Tarantula mating season has begun, and it will last through the end of October, the National Park Service said Thursday.

That means the giant arachnids will spend the next two months weaving webs just above ground, outside the female's burrow, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Because females typically stay inside, if a hiker comes across a tarantula on a footpath, it's probably a male on the lookout for a mate, experts say. Males have been known to search for up to 4 miles to find a female.

Though they have fangs and are venomous, tarantulas are not considered a serious threat to humans.

The spiders move slowly, so hikers can take pictures, but humans shouldn't touch or otherwise harass the creatures, said Kate Kuykendall, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains.

While female tarantulas can live for up to 25 years, the average lifespan of the male is only seven or eight years, so their annual chances to spread their genes is limited. To make matters worse, female tarantulas have been known to eat the males if they linger too long after copulation, the Times said.


According to the park service, mating occurs when the male approaches the female's burrow and taps on the web strands outside the entrance. If the female is willing, she'll come outside and receive his sperm, which he deposits on a web that she then receives and uses to fertilize her eggs.

Man charged with shooting corncobs at neighbor's home

WESTERLY, R.I. — A 50-year-old Westerly man is charged with shooting corncobs at his neighbor's home.

The Westerly Sun reports that Jeffrey Osella was arrested Tuesday night. Police say he answered his door shirtless and had corn kernels stuck to his chest.

Police say Osella used a potato gun to shoot corncobs at his neighbor's house, which is up for sale. The gun is made of PVC pipe and uses a light accelerant such as hair spray that can be ignited.

Police say Osella and his neighbor have long-running disputes.

Osella is charged with disorderly conduct and firing in a compact area. He's free on bail and is to be arraigned Friday.

A phone number for Osella could not be found.

Osella's attorney says he can't comment until he reviews the case.

Associated Press