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A tarantula caused a car crash in Death Valley National Park

A tarantula is seen in this undated photo.
Death Valley National Park
A tarantula is seen in this undated photo.

A tarantula was the cause of a crash this weekend in Death Valley National Park, officials said Sunday.

Swiss travelers braked to avoid hitting the tarantula, which was crossing CA-190 east of Towne Pass on Oct. 28. A Canadian man on a motorcycle crashed into the back of the Swiss couple's camper van.

The 24-year-old man was taken by ambulance to Desert View Hospital in Pahrump in unknown condition.

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"The spider walked away unscathed," officials said in a news release.

“Please drive slowly, especially going down steep hills in the park,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds in a written media statement. He was the first National Park Service employee on scene at the accident. “Our roads still have gravel patches due to flood damage, and wildlife of all sizes are out.”

Officials said tarantulas mostly spend their time underground, but emerge in fall to mate. They noted female tarantulas sometimes eat the males after mating, but male tarantulas rarely live for more than a few months. Females can live for 25 years.

"Tarantulas are slow moving and nonaggressive. A tarantula’s bite is reported to be similar to a bee sting, and is not deadly to humans," officials said.

Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She curates content on, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.