Thousands of Tarantulas Are Crawling Around Colorado for Mating Season

PaulWolf/iStock via Getty Images
PaulWolf/iStock via Getty Images

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it—and so do tarantulas, which are currently crawling by the thousands around southeastern Colorado in hopes of shacking up with mates before cold weather comes.

CNN reports that the migrants are all male Texas brown tarantulas that have reached sexual maturity, which means they’re around 10 years old. With a 4- to 5-inch (very furry) leg span, the creatures are justifiably shudder-inducing, but there’s no need to fear for your life if you see one. Mario Padilla, head entomologist at Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, explained to CNN that “this specific group of tarantulas is completely docile. They’re not looking to harm humans.” Even if you accidentally provoke one into attacking you, its venom will affect you only about as much as a bee sting would. And, much like smaller spiders closer to home, these tarantulas are actually helping rid the area of less desirable pests like cockroaches.

Since the independent arachnids prefer to travel alone, you won’t likely get caught in a nightmarish stampede. They’re seeking undisturbed prairie rangelands, where females often dwell in burrows, and their mating technique is unexpectedly polite: Once a male locates an occupied burrow, he’ll simply tap outside it until the female appears. The females, however, are not so polite—like other types of spiders, they sometimes eat their mates after the deed is done. Even if a male is lucky enough to evade that particular demise, his days are numbered anyway, since males only live a few months beyond reaching sexual maturity.

Some spiders have already begun their journey, and the migration will continue into October. Arachnophiles hoping to catch a glimpse of one (or even adopt one as a pet) should stake out grassy areas in Colorado during the hour before sunset, as recommended on the tourism website for La Junta, Colorado. Keep an eye out for tarantula hawks—giant wasps that feast on tarantulas—who might spot their prey better than you. If you’re lucky, you might even see the tragic, premature end to a tarantula romantic’s quest for love.

[h/t CNN]

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

You can get 44 percent off all styles if you order today.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Your Dog Follows You Everywhere

Crew, Unsplash
Crew, Unsplash

Depending on your mood, a dog that follows you everywhere can be annoying or adorable. The behavior is also confusing if you're not an expert on pet behavior. So what is it about the canine companions in our lives that makes them stick by our sides at all times?

Most experts agree on a few different reasons why some dogs are clingy around their owners. One is their pack mentality. Dogs may have been domesticated thousands of years ago, but they still consider themselves to be part of a group like their wild ancestors. When there are no other dogs around, their human family becomes their pack. According to Reader's Digest, this genetic instinct is also what motivates dogs to watch you closely and seek out your physical touch.

The second reason for the behavior has to do with the bond between you and your pet. As veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack told the American Kennel Club, puppies as old as 6 months can imprint on their human owners like they would their own mothers. Even older dogs will bond with the humans in their lives who show them care and affection. In these cases, a dog will shadow its owner because it sees them as an object of trust and security.

The last possible explanation for why your dog follows you has more to do with your treatment of them than their natural instincts. A popular training tactic is positive reinforcement—i.e. rewarding a dog with treats, pets, and praise when they perform positive behaviors. The point is to help your dog associate good behaviors with rewards, but after a while, they may start to associate your presence with rewards as well. That means if your dog is following you, they may be looking for treats or attention.

A clingy dog may be annoying, but it usually isn't a sign of a larger problem. If anything, it means your dog sees you in a positive light. So enjoy the extra companionship, and don't be afraid to close the door behind when you need some alone time.