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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

The Nature Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo is home to all sorts of wildlife—including eight-legged critters.

The outdoor area will host a night walk on Saturday, Sept. 11, to give families and community members a chance to see tarantulas and other critters up close. Participants can sign up at and must be registered or on the wait list by 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10. The walk will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Participants will have a unique opportunity to join guest leader Bob Allen for a chance to get up close and personal with tarantulas and other arthropods,” said Leeta Latham, Executive Director for The Nature Reserve. “There is new life everywhere on The Ranch, and we’re excited for the community to discover and learn.”

Get a chance to see tarantulas up close during a night walk in the outdoors of South Orange County. Photo: Courtesy of The Nature Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo

Solitary male tarantulas can usually be found roaming the trails at the Richard and Donna O’Neil Conservancy around mid-August. Males mature around this time, abandoning their burrows and wandering in search of mates, said Latham.

“I think it’s safe to say that we hope everyone who attends this special event walks away having learned something new,” said Latham. “With that education comes appreciation—an appreciation for the land and the creatures that live on it, including tarantulas.”

Other educational events are coming up at The Nature Reserve, and can be viewed at

The cost for Saturday’s walk is $10 for adults, $5 for children, and free for Reserve supporters. Participants should wear walking shoes.

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at

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