SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Bay Area hikers are more likely to see some large hairy arachnids on local trails in the next few weeks as tarantulas hit mating season.

The giant hairy spiders are roaming near trails on Mt. Diablo, in East Bay Parks and just about any open space, according to spider expert and Director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue Al Wolf.

“At this time when they come out looking for girls,” said Wolf. “They’ll bred and die.”

If you see one of these spiders, don’t be afraid; but don’t pick them up either.

“Oh yeah, they’ll bite you, but not all the time,” said Wolf. “The tarantula often doesn’t bite you and it’s almost a nothing bite.”

The tarantula is actually considered one of the more docile of all spiders. Sonoma County Reptile Rescue Education Director Laurie Osborne actually keeps one in her house.

“They’re very sweet! She’s totally mellow,” said Osborne with a laugh. “Yeah, she’s all fuzzy and cuddly! Like a teddy bear!”

The male has special claws on two of the front legs to hold the female while mating. This prevents the female from killing him when they are done.

If you are walking around in warm weather during the next couple of weeks, keep your eyes open. The tarantula mating season only last about 30 days, so the window to see the spiders out and about won’t last long.

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