Shallow Thoughts : tags : tarantula

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Thu, 05 Oct 2017

Tarantula Under Glass, and Micro-Centipedes

Every fall, Dave and I eagerly look for tarantulas. They only show up for a few weeks a year -- that's when the males go out searching for females (the females stay snug in their burrows). In the bay area, there were a few parks where we used to hunt for them: Arastradero, Mt Hamilton, occasionally even Alum Rock. Here in semi-rural New Mexico, our back yard is as good a place to hunt as anywhere else, though we still don't see many: just a couple of them a year.

But this year I didn't even have to go out into the yard. I just looked over from my computer and spotted a tarantula climbing up our glass patio door. I didn't know they could do that!

Unfortunately it got to the top before I had the camera ready, so I didn't get a picture of tarantula belly. Right now he's resting on the sill: [Tarantula, resting after climbing up our glass patio door] I don't think it's very likely he's going to find any females up there. I'm hoping he climbs back down the same way and I can catch a photo then. (Later: nope, he disappeared when I wasn't watching.)

In other invertebrate news: we have a sporadic problem with centipedes here in White Rock. Last week, a seven-inch one dropped from the ceiling onto the kitchen floor while I was making cookies, and it took me a few minutes to chase it down so I could toss it outside.

[Tiny baby centipede] But then a few days later, Dave spotted a couple of these little guys on the patio, and I have to admit they're pretty amazing. Just like the adults only in micro-miniature.

Though it doesn't make me like them any better in the house.

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[ 18:47 Oct 05, 2017    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 08 Nov 2010

No (live) tarantulas, but lots of woodpeckers

November is normally far too late for tarantulas to be on the move -- mid-October is their normal season around here. But a friend commented she'd seen some at Alum Rock last week, so over the weekend we hauled ourselves out there and went hunting.

And we saw tarantula sign -- unfortunately consisting of two dead tarantulas lying mangled on the trail. No live ones. It was an unseasonably warm day, so perhaps it was too hot and the spiders were still hiding in their holes.

[Acorn woodpecker] It was lovely walk nevertheless. We saw a six-point buck chasing a doe with two other does trailing behind him ... why were the does following? No idea, but the whole procession crashed around through the brush and eventually came out and crossed the trail right behind us. We gave them space -- you don't want to get too close to a buck during this season.

And the pecking was fierce over by the dead Eucalyptus above the end-of-the-road parking lot, where a large family of acorn woodpeckers were pecking and laughing chattering as they stored their acorns for the winter. We saw at least seven on the tree at once, though counting was tricky because birds kept flying off to find more acorns while other birds flew in.

Most of the ground squirrels have already retired for the cold season -- we only saw a few out, fattening up before hibernation -- but we heard quite a few invisible chipmunks giving their sonar-ping calls as we walked past.

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[ 23:02 Nov 08, 2010    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]