When the tarantula migration season begins in early autumn, it happens nearly all at one time everywhere out west. Some of the most famous arachnid migrations occur in Colorado, but many more tarantula migrations practically go unnoticed elsewhere for a number of reasons. One reason is because the summer season tourists have all gone home and the remote wilderness destinations sit empty, so there is nobody there to see what is going on. Only the local folk remain and for them, seeing a tarantula is not really a big deal. The main reason why the prime tarantula migration areas are not boldly advertised amounts to these big spiders scaring the tourists away. Information pertaining to good places to see the big spiders migrate is not really out in the open, so a little bit of research must be done in order to make an educated guess.
Dumb luck is another good method for finding a busy tarantula migration area and all it takes to master this method is keeping the eyes peeled while driving through the wide open spaces. By intently reading the road ahead like the professional drivers do, the focus is placed upon the pavement in front of the vehicle, which makes it much easier to spot tarantulas crossing the road. Even when driving 60 miles per hour, these spiders are actually big enough to be seen, as was the case when I was cruising along on Highway 60 in New Mexico.
Before my day turned into a tarantula spotting mission, I had just broke camp early in the morning after completing a tour of the three Salinas Pueblo Missions. The plan was to head west on Highway 60 from Mountainair toward the Gila National Forest for the next adventure. I was aware that the tarantula migration season begins with the first wisp of cool air in early autumn, so I actually was looking for tarantulas crossing the road while passing through. It did not take long to spot one, but while traveling at highway speeds it was easy to overshoot the spider, so it took some effort to avoid running over the tarantula before finding a safe place to turn around.
That first Highway 60 tarantula was a big one and it certainly was in a hurry to cross the road, which had almost no traffic that early in the day. It was a Brown Tarantula, which are common in this region and they do grow to a bigger than average size. This hairy tarantula was fascinating to watch and the grassy plains of this region certainly are conducive for harboring many more.
After continuing the drive west on Highway 60, several more large brown tarantulas were spotted migrating across the road, but the volume of traffic was picking up, so stopping to take pictures was no longer safe to do. All that could be done was to avoid smashing these magnificent creatures while slowing down to get a better view. The section of Highway 60 between Mountainair and Interstate Highway 25 most definitely is a mass migration zone, so be sure to check it out in early autumn. Taking a selfie with a real live big Brown Tarantula certainly will raise some eyebrows back home!
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