I will confess that I was in denial about this for years, but it's true that there are tarantulas in Missouri. As much as I hate to admit it, you really shouldn't fear them.

Once I learned that there really are these big hairy spiders in Missouri, I convinced myself they were only in the most extreme southern parts of the state. Missouri Department's map confirms that's not really true. Yes, they're much more common in southern areas, but their map shows you can see them in counties south of I-70.

Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri Department of Conservation

I've heard them actually called Missouri tarantulas although they're technically known as the Texas brown tarantula. Are they scary looking? From this arachnophobe's perspective, oh yes they are.

The key thing to remember (and I'll keep telling myself this, too) is that the tarantulas in Missouri are harmless to humans. Even in the unlikely event that you get bitten, it's no worse than a bee sting. Do I plan to find this out? No way.

Here's something to remember from the Missouri Department of Conservation:

In late summer and fall, Missourians in the southern part of the state may see these large arachnids crossing roads.

So I guess that road trip to examine southern Missouri roads in the fall is now off.

I felt like I should share this in an attempt to redeem myself from the "kill it with fire" article about the spider descending into the Illinois baby cradle from earlier this week. Yes, I will confess that spiders can be helpful and necessary as long as they're not within 500 miles of me.

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