The largest spider at Red Rock Canyon also tends to be one of the more docile invertebrates as well: the desert tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius). These spiders size up at two to four inches across and often avoid contact with people. When spotted by visitors, they’ll normally stay still and wait for the visitors to leave. If you do get too close and touch, they will show fangs and bite.

Desert tarantulas hunt down insects and small lizards.  To defend themselves from predators, these spiders will rub hairs off their abdomens to irritate the predator’s eyes and nose. During the fall, you have a good chance of seeing males scurry across the desert floor during sunrise and sunset times looking to find & mate with a female. Female desert tarantulas can live over 20 years old out in the wild, while males tend to live much shorter lives and may be eaten by females during mating.

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