Tarantula Walks Away Without A Scratch After Causing Traffic Accident

Maxican Blond Tarantura or Aphonopelma chalcodes
© KobchaiMa/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Published: November 8, 2023

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What would you do if you saw a tarantula on the road when you were driving? If you answered braking hard and causing an accident so the tarantula walks away without a scratch, surprisingly, you aren’t alone. Generally, people swerve or brake hard to avoid large animals like wolves, coyotes, or even bears, not spiders!

On October 28, 2023, two tourists from Switzerland were driving in the Death Valley National Park in California when the driver spotted a spider in the road! To avoid hitting this spider, they slammed hard on their brakes, causing a motorcycle to crash into them from behind. The man on the motorcycle, a Canadian traveler, was taken to the Desert View Hospital in an ambulance. His injuries weren’t life-threatening, although there have been no updates on his condition. The two Switzerland tourists though were safe, and so was the tarantula, who left completely unscathed.

This incident caused the National Parks Service to release a statement urging travelers to take it slow. Although desert tarantulas can be freaky to look at, they aren’t dangerous, especially when driving. Desert tarantulas are slow-moving. They are likely more afraid of us than we are of them. These slow-moving, hairy spiders bite, but the bite is commonly compared to a bee’s sting.

Are There Tarantulas in California?

Arizona Blond Tarantula

A tarantula you may see in California is the desert tarantula. Its scientific name is

Aphonopelma chalcodes



There are multiple species of tarantulas in California. A tarantula you may see in Death Valley National Park is the desert tarantula, which is also called the western desert tarantula, Arizona blond tarantula, or Mexican blond tarantula. The scientific name for this tarantula species is Aphonopelma chalcodes. Some people shorten this spider’s name to “blonde tarantula” which refers to the tiny pale blonde hairs on the tarantula’s carapace.

This quiet and slow tarantula species has a limited range. You can find it in the southwestern United States. Although you can find these tarantulas in southern California, they are more common in Arizona and New Mexico.

Another tarantula species in California is the California tarantula. This medium-sized tarantula lives in California, Arizona, and Texas. They are covered in tiny hairs and are terrestrial. Most only reach about 2 to 2.75 inches long. California tarantulas are very docile spiders that generally stay clear of people. Although they have venom, like all spiders, they don’t pose a threat to humans. Interestingly, female California tarantulas have a substantially longer lifespan than males. They live for about 20 to 25 years, compared to males who only live up to 8 years.

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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