FUZZY, FINGERNAIL-SIZED, FAB: Spring zoo babies and wild babies and babies of every stripe and horn are popping up in galleries around Onlineland. And while you'll coo over many cuddle beasties, animals who, perhaps, don't look too different from your own cat or dog, you'll likely notice that not to many spring babies of the eight-legged sort make the cute cut. Oh, that's not always true -- you'll see a spider here and there, but arachnids typically have their internet heyday come the fall, when spooky snapshots reign. Tarantulas, though, of course have babies, wee ones that might be as "small as a fingernail" (and, yes, grow "as big as a dinner plate," perhaps). Many tarantulas call Mount Diablo home, and while there are autumn treks to find the many-limbed denizens of the area, you can also head out into the spring, with the added benefit of blooms popping up all around. Wildflowers and baby tarantulas possibly emerging from burrows... who would want to wait for fall for a hike?
APRIL STROLLS: The series is through Lindsay Wildlife, and naturalist Jim Holmes'll head out every Saturday in April with the hope that a little scurrier -- or several -- might be seen. Called "essentially harmless to humans," tarantulas brim with interesting tidbits, like the fact that females may live three or four decades. Mr. Holmes will point out the burrows, so you'll learn to identify them, and discuss all of the delightful details of La Vida Tarantula while hiking two miles along Mount Diablo's north face with an eye out for "newly hatched tarantulas." Cost? Fifteen dollars per hiker, with an extra six bucks to park your car. Reserve here, nature enthusiasts.
NEWLY HATCHED TARANTULAS: That sounds like a three-word pitch a filmmaker might make to suggest a new scary film. But baby tarantulas have a lot in common with the other baby beasties we admire and sigh over. They're fresh to this world, and getting their sea legs, and ready for new adventures. Maybe a filmmaker should make an upbeat story of some tarantulas finding their way back to their burrow, with insects, wildflower petals, and other high jinks thrown in. Isn't that a bit more fun than the expected fright flick? Tarantulas, we'll coo over your babies, too.