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How to find or create a tarantula island to make Bells in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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How to make big bucks with these bugs

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A villager surrounded by tarantulas in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Yes, we intentionally blurred out the tarantulas for our arachnophobic readers
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Cash rules everything around you in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and there’s plenty of ways to make money (Bells) in the Nintendo Switch game.

We’ve covered the most basic practices for farming Bells, looking out for money rocks, and even a duplication glitch you can perform with a friend. But there’s yet another way you can make a whopping 8,000 Bells per item — if you can stomach being around one of the game’s creepiest inhabitants: tarantulas.

This method involves coming across the elusive tarantula island as part of the Mystery Island Tours you can go on if you buy a ticket with your Nook Miles. While there isn’t a surefire way to visit that island at will, there are methods to turn most mystery islands into tarantula islands. If you want to take advantage of this way of farming Bells, it helps to be prepared for the task.

Here’s how to make hundreds of thousands of Bells by farming tarantulas.

Why you should sell tarantulas

Each tarantula sell for 8,000 Bells, which can net you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you increase your inventory space.

One of the Nook sons explaining the price of tarantulas in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Of course, getting to the actual tarantula island isn’t easy. In fact, getting there requires some luck.

To have a chance of landing there, you need to …

  1. Buy a Nook Miles Ticket for 2,000 Nook Miles from Resident Services.
  2. Once you have your ticket, head to Dodo Airlines — and this is the important part — after 7 p.m. local time.
  3. Let them know you’d like to fly, and choose the “Redeem Nook Miles” option to take a Mystery Island Tour.

You’ll know you’ve made it to the correct island if the one you land on has a circular river which forms a smaller island-within-the-island. If that’s where you’ve landed, get ready to catch tarantulas.

However, if you land on an island that’s not the actual tarantula island, there is a way to turn any island into one, if you’re willing to put in some work.

How to make tarantula islands

Animal Crossing character wearing sunglasses holding a spider Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

We’ve only been able to get this trick to work on single-leveled mystery islands that spawn bugs. Rain or shine, it works, as long as it’s nighttime. (We’ve only tried past 7 p.m. on Northern Hemisphere islands. People on Twitter have reported that this doesn’t currently work on the Southern Hemisphere islands due to seasonal bugs.)

Now you’ve got to clear the island. So …

  • Chop down all the trees, and clear out the stumps. You can leave the holes, too, if you like — in fact, some people use holes as tarantula traps.
  • Break all the rocks. To do this, you’ll need to eat a fruit, which will give you a strength buff that allows you to break rocks.
  • Pluck all the flowers from the ground, taking only the blooms — don’t dig them up.
  • Clear the island of bugs while you’re doing this (and it can take a while). On the bamboo island, where we were able to successfully spawn spiders, there were snails on rocks and wharf roaches on the beach rocks. Once we cleared out the rocks, the snails were taken care of, but the wharf roaches needed to be cleared more often — even once the hunt has begun.

Zach Soares, who posted instructions on Twitter, suggested dumping all the resources you get onto the beach. The logic here is that you’re removing spawn points for everything but ground bugs, making tarantulas more likely to appear.

How to catch tarantulas

Tarantulas will attack you, much like wasps. If you get bitten while on the island, you’ll pass out and wake up at the dock. There’s no penalty if you pass out more than once, which is a good thing because you may get attacked a few times before you understand the best way to approach these vicious bugs.

You can choose to sneak (hold A while carrying your net), walk up to, or run up to any tarantula but, it’s important that you must completely stop moving when they get up on their hind legs. If you move while they are in this pose, they will hop, run at you, and attack. Every attack sends you right back to the dock again.

A villager holds up a tarantula in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

We’ve found the most success in approaching tarantulas that are not next to one another because capturing one may trigger the attack animation of a nearby tarantula.

In time, you’ll know the tarantulas’s attack timing well enough to run up to them full speed without stopping to capture them. The trick is to understand that once their attack animation has started, the bug will first do a short hop, and then charge you at full speed. If you time the swing of your net correctly, you can capture them right as their running animation starts, saving you loads of time.

Regardless of which tarantula island you come across, you can continue capturing the critters until you run out of inventory space, which means the more pocket space you have when you visit, the more money you’ll have in your pockets when you return to your island.

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