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!