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Tenacious Tarantulas Trek Across Otero County

(La Junta, CO) -- It's happening soon, something that brings tourists from all over Colorado and neighboring states to the Comanche grasslands. The annual Tarantula Trek.

Director of Tourism for Visit La Junta Pam Denahy explains that it made sense to pursue Tarantula Tourism. They named it the Tarantula Trek and Mating Expedition. Denahy elaborates that Governor Polis’ mention of it brought more attention to the trek. Polis even visited the region with the first gentleman to see the arachnids and pose for a photo holding one in his hands and on his arm. He then took to social media to exclaim his excitement for the experience stating:

“With the annual tarantula migration through the LaJunta area happening soon, it might be the perfect time to explore southeast Colorado!”

It was soon thereafter the community of La Junta decided there needed to be a Tarantula Fest to take advantage of the excitement around seeing the tangle of Tarantula scurry to find a mate.

“That was a big big promotion for us because that kinda opened us up into his audience as well, we’ve been on a lot of different radars, we’ve had international media as well that have come and wanted to learn about it. So, we’re doing our best to promote it again in a responsible visitation and sustainable way.”

Responsible and sustainable means just leaving them alone. Denahy uses an example of a pet store in Denver that discovered someone trying to sell them tarantulas had taken them from the Comanche Grasslands south of La Junta.

“We have some researchers who have been coming down and doing research specifically on our tarantulas and we’ve heard that our tarantulas are kinda different than most tarantulas that have been studied. So, we’re excited to see that research, it sounds like the tarantulas on the Comanche Grasslands are a little more hardy maybe than some of the other tarantulas and can withstand the heat and cold differently.”

As Denahy mentions, education about tarantulas is their goal. The website for the Tarantula Trek goes into a few fun facts. The male tarantula takes a long time to mature to mating age, in fact, he’s not ready until he’s at least eight years old. The males find their mate using vibration and touch. They are persistent if nothing else. The tenacious tarantula can travel as far as 20 miles to have a mate. While it doesn’t come from Oklahoma, the tarantulas found on the Comanche National Grasslands in Otero County are called the Oklahoma Brown Tarantula.

The tarantula you see out crossing the highways are males; the females do not search for a mate. Once the male finds the female, he will do a little dance for her. He doesn’t live long after mating, a Tarantula Hawk may devour him, or sometimes the female Tarantula will eat him. The female Tarantula can live up to 20 years.

A final reminder to enjoy Tarantula mating season, Denahy reminds Tarantula Trek tourists to be mindful of staying off private land when out viewing.

Other items to consider:

  • September is best but they will still be active into October and November.

  • Ideally, a warm day with little wind is best and the hour before sunset is the best time to catch a glimpse

  • Head south from La Junta on Highway 109 on the Comanche National Grassland but be careful when pulling off the highway and pull off as far as possible.

If you would like more information on the Tarantula Trek in La Junta, head to

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