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Zion National Park asks visitors to leave its 'most startling residents' alone

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Zion National Park is asking visitors to not bother one of its most startling, yet interesting residents. (Photo courtesy of Zion National Park){ }

(KUTV) -- Zion National Park is asking visitors to not bother one of its most startling, yet interesting residents.

Throughout the summer and fall, tarantulas can be seen scurrying around the park.

Being the largest spider in the Southwest, tarantulas are often feared by many, according to a Zion National Park Facebook post.

Movies often portray tarantulas as terrifying and dangerous. That, however, could be further from that. The desert tarantula is a "very docile and interesting creature." Also, don't let the long hair fool you. It's there for protection; not to gross anyone out.

Tarantulas are capable of biting a person, if they are harassed enough. However, tarantula bites are rare. And even if the spider were to bite a person, the venom is considered non-toxic to humans, Zion National Park wrote in the post. So, there is little to worry about.

Like most wildlife, if you don't bother them, they won't bother you.

Usually, males are seen more often than females. Males tend to travel far to find a female that typically lives out of sight. The males journey is not easy. Besides trying to avoid humans, these spiders have other living species to worry about. Foxes, bats, roadrunners and specialized wasps called "tarantula hawks" are constantly looking for their next meal, a.k.a. a big hairy tarantula.

For those lucky enough to survive and find a receptive female, some are eaten by the female after mating. Such is the tarantula life.

So again, if you happen to see a tarantula in the park, please leave it alone.


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