Note: Nintendo altered the spawn rates of bugs in an update. While it is still possible to 'create' a tarantula island (or a scorpion island, depending on the time of year), an increase in Giant Water Bugs will make it a little more difficult to chase off bugs that you don't want to catch (like Wharf Roaches). Throw in mosquitos in the summer months and it becomes an even more complicated task - islands without water (bamboo islands) won't attract Water Bugs, of course, so they're probably your best bet.
If you've been reading our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides for all the best Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips and tricks, you're probably already something of an expert when it comes to earning Bells and reaping the best rewards, but here's something we'd never have dreamt of trying - and probably still won't.
Should you want to infest your game with hundreds of the most terrifying inhabitants available - tarantulas - this little trick will come in super handy. The downside is that you'll be running around screaming for your life for the rest of the day, desperately trying to snag them in your net before they knock you unconscious with their hatred-filled venom, but the plus side is that you can cash them in for a lovely sum. Tarantulas are worth a whopping 8,000 Bells each.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Tarantula Island Guide
How to catch a Tarantula
To catch a Tarantula, you need to be aware. Don't run around the island with your net at the ready as you'll often find that the tarantula spots you before you have a chance to react. If you want to find them without running the risk of getting attacked, put your net away – they will not attack if you're not holding a net.
The moment one spots you with your net, it will turn towards you and raise its legs before dashing towards you. If you don't time the swing of your net just right, it will hit you and stun you, knocking you out in the same way a wasp sting does.
To successfully catch one, approach it slowly with your net held up (you do this by holding down the A button) and wait for it to raise its legs in the attack position. When it does this, stop – the Tarantula will return to its normal pose and you can creep up on it again.
If the worst comes to the worst and the tarantula runs at you, you can – if you're quick enough - run in the opposite direction, put a bit of space between you, and then quickly turn around and swing your net. It's tricky to do, but it is possible.
Another tactic is to dig a series of holes but leave a space in the middle. When you spot a tarantula, jump over the hole and the tarantula won't be able to get you – you can then grab it with a swing of your net.
How to find Tarantula Island
The mystery islands you access through the game's Nook Miles Tickets are entirely random, but one of them is known as Tarantula Island. This island has a massive selection of the six-legged beasts for you to collect – assuming they don't bite you first, of course.
However, while this island appears randomly, it is possible to create your very own Tarantula Island...
How to spawn Tarantulas on a mystery island
Twitter user Voxels provides the following list of steps to make this nightmare come true. Simply head to any island accessible through the game's Nook Miles Tickets, and complete these tasks:
- Nighttime only (past 7PM)
- Chop all trees and remove stumps
- Pick all flowers (pick, not uproot)
- Remove all rocks
- Dump resources on beach
- Clear island of all bugs
One thing to note is that you're not guaranteed to land on a tarantula-spawning mystery island every single time – you might land on one which won't spawn them, so just keep trying until you do.
Other bugs will still spawn and this can limit the number of tarantulas that you see, so you might want to
If you can't find a tarantula on your island, walk around and remove any other bugs that have spawned in the meantime. This isn't a quick process – it sometimes takes a while to completely fill your inventory with tarantulas, so be patient!
Doing all of the steps above will cause the tarantulas to come out in full force, leaving you in a situation like this:
Another Twitter user, kuraine, explains how it all works:
kuraine goes on to say that the main exception to this rule right now are mole crickets, "because once they spawn you have to dig them up or else they’ll never go away".
Another exception is a three-tiered island, which won't spawn any bugs at all – so if you land on that, you're out of luck.
If you have a reasonably clear inventory, you could make between 200,000 and 250,000 Bells per trip to an island – as long as you're prepared to put the time in, that is. Make sure your pockets are as big as possible!
Just to reiterate, this isn't a trick for your own home island, but rather the other islands you can visit through the Nook Miles system. Don't go destroying your lovely home paradise by mistake!
Also, all of the above applies to scorpions, too, so if you're in the 6-month period where tarantulas disappear from the game, you can farm scorpions in exactly the same manner.
This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which includes a Complete Fish List, Complete Bug List and Complete Sea Creatures List. If you're looking for specific fish or bug, we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Mahi-Mahi, Giant Trevally, Stringfish, Golden Trout and all the Sharks and Beetles, along with a full list of Critters leaving at the end of the month. We've also compiled a Complete Villager List and a Complete List of K.K. Slider Songs, as well as the Best Custom Design Codes and Islands we've found so far, and the best islands to visit using Dream Address Codes.
We can also help with How to Spot Redd's Fake Paintings and Statues, How to Make Bells Fast, How to Breed Flowers, How to Get more DIY Recipes, How to Upgrade Nook's Cranny, where and when to find special characters like Gulliver, Sable, Label, Wisp, Celeste, Pirate Gulliver and Jack, plus tips on using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, Cutting Down and Moving Trees, using amiibo on Harv's Island, How to Back Up Your Island Data, How to Time Travel, How to Get a 5-Star Island Rating and a whole lot more.
And finally Where to Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game.