A tarantula crossing the road in Death Valley National Park caused a traffic crash that sent a Canadian motorcyclist to the hospital, the National Park Service said.
Swiss travelers, driving a rented camper van, braked suddenly to avoid hitting the tarantula as it crossed State Route 190 on Saturday, the park service said. The 24-year-old motorcyclist then struck the back of the camper van. The motorcyclist’s condition was not immediately available Monday.
Death Valley’s desert landscape runs along part of central California’s border with Nevada and is known as the hottest place on Earth. Much of the national park’s roads remain closed following flash floods that occurred when the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary swept through the region in August.
“The spider walked away unscathed,” the park service wrote in a statement.
While tarantulas spend most of their lives in underground burrows, 8- to 10-year-old males go aboveground in the fall to search for a mate, the park service said.
A bite from the non-aggressive arachnids is reportedly similar to a bee sting, officials said, and is not deadly to humans.