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Animal Crossing’s tarantula island has been ruined by giant water bugs

Water bug island is not quite as lucrative

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Character wearing face mask and yellow hat holding a water bug Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

On April 1, Animal Crossing: New Horizons got a refreshed island: There are now cherry blossoms! Eggs! Zipper! These are all good things, depending on who you ask. But the April update has also done something terrible. It’s broken the self-made tarantula island, which lets players collect lots and lots of spiders — one of the more pricey bugs in the game. (8,000 Bells! And 1.5 times that if you’re selling to Flick.)

Before the update, you could create your own tarantula island by essentially razing most Mystery Island Tour islands. You’d clear off flowers, dig up trees, and break open stones; the idea is to remove most spawn items for Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ bugs, forcing tarantulas to populate the space. The problem with the April update is that it added a bug that you can’t force off the island: the giant water bug.

Tarantula island is ruined by water bugs Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Giant water bugs spawn — you guessed it — in water. They’re more annoying to clear away than the wharf roaches that live on an island’s rocks, because they’re hard to catch. You can just stomp on the roaches and they’ll scatter. Water bugs won’t flinch even if you sprint by ’em. Tarantulas may still spawn, but it’s a lot less likely.

To test it out, I cleared an island and was able to fill my inventory with water bugs without spotting a single tarantula. Others on Twitter have reported the same thing. It’s not a total loss, though. Water bugs don’t sell for nearly as much as — 2,000 Bells — but with the amount I caught, I could rack up a pretty penny.

The good news is that there’s still a chance you can land on the tarantula island, which doesn’t require destroying the place: Tarantulas will just spawn there. Until you land there, there’s a lot of water bugs in your future.

Update: The tarantula island trick still works on bamboo islands, which don’t have rivers for giant water bugs to spawn in.

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