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The Place is Argyle: Tarantulas found in Argyle

Profile image for Lynn Sheffield Simmons
Lynn Sheffield Simmons

When Argyle Little Free Library coordinator Patti Smith recently found a tarantula on the side of her garage, she didn't want to kill it but also didn't know what to do with it.

Since she had previously used former Argyle Animal Control officer Brian Hall with other issues, she turned to him. He was unable to make a house call to relocate the tarantula but told her what to do. He said for her to use a stick and gently push the spider into a shoe box. Then carefully transport it to the outer part of her property and slowly tip the box on its side to release the tarantula.

She did what he told her but later learned that tarantulas will jump up and run. "I would have died on the spot up if that thing had jumped," she said.

I called Hall to learn how prevalent tarantulas are in the Argyle area and although Smith found one on her garage and there was a sighting of one on the wall of the Argyle Town Hall, Brian said that they are rare to our region.

He told me that they are venomous, but the venom is similar to a wasp sting, causing it to hurt for a while. Individuals, who are allergic to wasps, will have more of a reaction, but there has not been any documented fatalities caused by the North American species of the tarantula, he said.

In describing the tarantula's behavior, Hall said it is very passive and will not bite unless given no other choice. When cornered the tarantula puts on a display of rearing up on its back legs and tapping up and down on its front legs, giving humans time to back away. When fleeing, the spider will jump and run.

"I only receive about two tarantula calls a year," Hall said.

In giving more detail about the spider, he said the tarantula is mainly found in dry places like barns, sheds and pasture areas. They live in the ground in burrowed holes and feed on insects and other spiders. They catch their prey by waiting inside their holes and pouncing on them as they pass by.

The tarantula spins a web only during egg laying times and molting. Tarantulas have often been pets.  

"They are easy to care for and can live up to 30 years," Hall said, adding that he relocates any he comes across since they do benefit the ecosystem.

For more information, contact Hall at 817-401-1861.

Organizations

Keep Argyle Beautiful will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at PointBank, 302 U.S. Highway 377 in Argyle. Keep Argyle Beautiful preserves and enhances the town's natural environment through educational and motivational programs and special events.

For more information, visit www.keepargylebeautiful.com or email Deborah Cottle at dcottle@temporah.com.

The Argyle Lions Club meets at noon on the first Tuesday of every month at Coffee Tree Café, 144 Old Town Blvd. in Argyle, and at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month following a board meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St.

For more information, contact Deborah Cottle via email at dcottle@temporah.com.

The Argyle Chamber of Commerce meets the third Tuesday of every month for breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Lantana Golf Club, 800 Golf Club Drive. The chamber office is in PointBank, 302 U.S. Highway 377.

For more information, visit www.argylechamber.org or call 940-464-9990.

The Argyle Senior Center meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St., with exercise beginning at 10 a.m. followed by card games at 11 a.m. The ASC has a monthly luncheon on the third Friday of every month at noon. Those attending are asked to bring a side dish. Anyone age 55 and older is welcome to attend.

For more information, call Stella at 940-464-7438 or Karen at 940-464-0506.

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is the founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of 10 children's books and two history books on Argyle. Her website is www.argylebooks.com. She can be reached at lynn@argylebooks.com.

FEATURED PHOTO: This tarantula was discovered recently by Patti Smith on the side of her garage at her home in Argyle. This species of tarantula is rare for North Texas, but they do show up on occasion, according to former Argyle Animal Control officer Brian Hall.