A tourist tries to avoid hitting a wild animal in a national park and has a car accident. But it wasn’t a bear or bison that scared the driver: it was a tarantula.
According to a press release issued by Death Valley National Park in California, two Swiss tourists were riding in a motorhome on October 28 when the driver saw the spider and hit the brakes. That is why a man riding a motorcycle, who was behind the van, collided with the back of his car.
The motorcyclist was taken to a nearby hospital. The spider, according to the park’s statement, “emerged unharmed.”
Although tarantulas are just one of the many wildlife found in Death Valley—the nation’s hottest and driest national park—they are not the most common.
As the park’s press release explains, these arachnids spend most of their time underground and only come out to find a mate. Autumn is the time when they usually come to the surface.
However, the park urges Death Valley visitors not to panic if they see an eight-foot creature.
“Tarantulas move slowly and are not aggressive. The sting of a tarantula is similar to that of a bee and is not fatal to humans.”
There have been other human-animal encounters in America’s national parks in recent years, but most are the result of people trying to get close to the animals instead of away from them.
Earlier this year, staff at Yellowstone National Park were forced to euthanize a bison cow after a visitor tried to capture the animal.
The man pleaded guilty to a crime of “intentionally feeding, touching, mocking, scaring or disturbing wildlife” and was fined US$500.
Last week, a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park in North Carolina was closed after several incidents of “visitors feeding and trying to pick up a young bear.”