Tag Archives: spider

Arachnid

Baboon Spider 1

You know you’re a Blogger when, on seeing a Baboon Spider on the kitchen wall, you stop your husband from putting it outside until you’ve grabbed your camera and taken a photo of it for your Blog!

Baboon Spider 2

I got my husband to hold a ruler near it so you can see the size. Note: This is a small one!

He couldn’t hold the ruler any closer or it would have run away. Also, out of deference to my more arachnid-challenged readers, I have made my photos small. Hopefully you do not spill your coffee this morning when you open my post!

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Baboon Spiders are harmless to us – unless of course you have a heart attack on seeing one! As I said, this one is a small guy and yes he most likely is a guy, as the females tend to stay in their nests while the guys roam around looking for mates. They normally live outside in my vines (not the grape vines – the other ones) where the female can build a large egg sac of folded over leaves, wound round and sealed with silken thread, keeping her babies safe inside.

Still, they do give me a bit of a fright when I come across one when trimming the vines. They are just so big!

Even so, I have seen a wasp kill one and drag the heavy body up the side of the house to stuff it in a crack in between the bricks, where it will lay an egg on it. The wasp was pretty big too and had those dangly stingers which really hurt if they just touch you.

OK my post is over; you can open your eyes now!

 

Scary Visitor

Jumping Spider 1

Jumping Spider 1

That moment when there’s a spider on you and you suddenly turn into a black belt karate master.

– Anon

 

When I opened my daughter’s bedroom curtains the other morning this little jumping spider fell out onto the duvet cover. It stayed absolutely still, so I had time to fetch my camera and take a few photos. You can even see its little eyes!

Jumping Spider 2

Jumping Spider 2

To see how small it is, compare it to the paper clip on the right of the photo. (The bendy white thing, shaped like this to hold up the solar lights on the pelmet.)

Jumping Spider 3

Jumping Spider 3

I think she is holding onto her skin or exoskeleton (the stuff underneath her on the right of the photo). Maybe she was moulting and in the process of shedding it? Spiders do this so that they can grow bigger.

 

Who is she?

She’s definitely a jumping spider. I think, specifically, a female Grey Wall Jumper, Menemerus bivittatus.

If you’re into spiders, here’s the gallery I was looking through last night in order to identify the little spider. Yes, it did take me a while to get to sleep after that!

Jumping spiders (salticids) actively hunt their prey then pounce on it.  They don’t spin webs, but do make little silken shelters under leaves. Isn’t that cute?

Jumping spiders do produce venom, but are not considered medically threatening. However, let me tell you from past experience, if they do happen to bite you when you’re sleeping, you will wake up to a very swollen, painful face!

And though she is a little scary, I think she’s also a little cute . . . As long as she’s not on me!

 

Incy Wincy Spider

Eeeuuuwww! Spider!

Eeeuuuwww! Spider!

That was a very close call!  I was sorting the pool out and got tangled up in a large cobweb when I first leant forward to switch off the pump. I did the usual “spider dance” – you know Whuuuuuuugggghhhhh! Running my hands over my head, shoulders and back in an attempt to rid myself of any potential spider actually on my person. Then I carried on as usual, figuring, ‘Hey, it’s an old web’.

It must have been a big spider though, since the web stretched across an open expanse of a few feet between trees. It wasn’t “cobwebby” – that flimsy white stuff they show in movies. No, this was the tough elastic string stuff, that stuck to you and came away with you as you backed out of the ropes.

Well, I carried on with the pool maintenance; empty pool basket of leaves, backwash to empty excess water before the pool overflows, rinse etc. Each time I had to go backwards and forwards between the pool switch and the pool, and pretty much each time I got tangled in the web. I don’t know why! Just naturally gifted I guess!

At one point I took another close look at the web. To my horror I saw a massive, nasty-looking spider slap bang in the middle there. Now, we are used to large spiders here in Cape Town; the huge Baboon spider for example, which although very large, grey and hairy, is fairly harmless (I think).

However, THIS spider beats them all. The striking yellow and black markings scream BEWARE to me. I tried to get a photo with my hand near it, for a size comparison, but my arms weren’t long enough to have one hand by the spider, while the other took the shot, without me being in the web – something I was avoiding at all costs. Even so, the shot is a little blurred – maybe I was shaking? You’ll just have to take my word for it that the body of this spider was at least 2cm (3/4 inch).

My daughters tell me this is a black legged golden orb spider, nephila fenestrata. You can find more info here  and here. If you scroll down in the second link you’ll see the massive web.

I’d just like to know what it is doing in my garden? Somehow I don’t think this is a good tourist attraction for Cape Town!

 Incy Wincy Spider – Go on – you know you want to hear kids sing the song really!

post script: Kids are not born scared of spiders; they learn it from others. Growing up  in England, I was terrified of all bugs, and determined that I would not let that happen to my kids, growing up here in Cape Town. Apparently, I took this to a whole new level of blasé!

The girls had a sand pit outside with a plastic cover on. When they took the cover off to play they always found lots of spiders and their egg sacs there. I told my kids to just ‘shoo’ the spiders away, and that the poor arachnids were more scared of them than they were of the spiders. Years later my daughter told me that the spiders were in fact highly poisonous black button spiders!