I met my first tarantula a few years back, when I was living in Tucson, Arizona. The hairy creatures often tiptoed across our back patio on warm summer evenings. On one occasion, I even helped a tarantula escape from my cat inside the house.
I like tarantulas. But I had no idea, until I read Briony Penn’s article, “Surprising spiders,” in our Spring 2008 issue, that a few of their close relatives make their homes in British Columbia. Turns out, six of the seven “tarantuloids” found in Canada live right here in our province. Penn, an award-winning natural history columnist, author, and environmentalist who lives on Saltspring Island, gives us a fascinating glimpse of 10 of the more than 700 species of B.C. spiders, along with insights from the researchers who study them.