Expert Dispels Myths About Tarantulas Amid Mating Season

A spider-expert shares why these crawly creatures actually do more good than harm, despite their bad rap.

Tuesday, September 26th 2023, 10:39 pm

By: News 9

Spiders may not be our favorite neighbors -- but they play an important role in the community.

People might start seeing more of them on their blocks. An Oklahoma State entomology expert explained why people have nothing to fear. There are 8 billion people on Earth, but humans are a bit outnumbered.   

“There are twenty million different species of bugs,” said Andrine Shufran, the director of the OSU Insect Adventure in Stillwater. “For every individual person on earth, there are at least a trillion individual bugs,” Shufran said. 

Dr. Shufran wants the community to learn something about tarantulas. “I learn something new every day,” Shufran said. “We call it the Oklahoma Brown.” These spiders can grow to an impressive size. It’s the time of year when love is in the air for these male tarantulas. 

“Everything environmentally right now is just right for them,” Shufran said. “Once he’s fully mature only has a few months to live.”  

Not a lot of time to swipe right or left and he doesn’t only risk rejection. “She does have the potential to eat him,” Shufran said. 

Mating season means people could see them out making their move, but Shufran said, “Tarantulas, while they might look scary, are some of the least dangerous; least aggressive spiders that we have,” Shufran said. 

A tarantula's bite will hurt. “But it doesn’t hurt anywhere near as bad as a broken heart,” Shufran said. Spiders will not bug you. Not even the black widow.  

“A spider is not deadly,” Shufran said. “There’s never been a death from a spider that’s been confirmed ever.”  

A mosquito is worse. “They kill up to two million people every year,” Shufran said. 

Spiders eat them. “Those are our friends,” she said.  So, while some people would rather burn their house down than share it with a spider Shufran said people should break a leg and learn to live together. 

“They’re all so beautiful and elegant,” Shufran said. “They’re incredible to learn about.” 


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