This Is A Subject That’s Very Close To Damien’s Heart

He’s very particular about the myths and misinformation around animals. He loves renting movies like Deep Blue Sea, Anaconda, Eight Legged Freaks, Bats, Spiders, Arachnophobia, Octopus and Python so he can pick them apart while he watches them. And in all honestly- he’s seldom wrong. One of the things that Damien gets very upset about is the confusion, or the lack of distinction between the black and brown widow spiders in South Africa. The brown widow is far more common than the black widow (a.k.a. button), and there are clear differences between the two. The brown widow has an orange to red hourglass shape on the underside of her abdomen and she can vary from pale brown with darker markings to almost black. The black widow can also vary in colour but not as extremely as the brown, and she has a red stripe starting at her spinnerets and narrowing to a point on her back. The brown widow’s egg sacs are round and spiky, and depending on the age of the spider there can be more than one in a web. The black widow also has round egg sacs but they’re smooth. They both build similar webs, big and messy, and all over the place- under furniture, under eaves, even inside drums and barrels that are left standing. As long as there’s relative shelter from sun and rain, they’ll spin a web. And unlike a lot of spiders that rebuild their webs every night, they usually stay in the same web as long as they’re left alone. Most spiders will leave you alone unless you grab them or sit on them or something. As for snakes, they have pretty much the same mentality; they’ll try and get away rather than bite you. So what’s your favourite snake? I know it sounds like a strange question- but Damien and I both love snakes and spiders, and Damien’s favourite snake is the Australian Taipan and his favourite spider is the Black Widow. My favourite snake is the Gaboon Viper, my favourite spider is the Brown Widow. We’re going on a spider walk on November 25th and I’m hoping to get some interesting photos.

*Blogger won’t let me load pictures tonight…

9 thoughts on “This Is A Subject That’s Very Close To Damien’s Heart

  1. I am not a fan of spiders at all. I am not a squealy shreiky kind of aracnaphobe, but lets just say I have a healthy dislike. It was always my job to put the firewood in the basement for winter and we had a partial dirt floor which meant that even at the height of summer it was cool and damp, which meant that it was spider heaven. There were times when I had to clear the webs from the stairs before I could even get down there. And being a basement it had a low ceiling with exposed joists so there were plenty of wonderful spots for webs. -Shiver-
    I’m not as bad as I used to be, but some childhhod scars run deep.

  2. nmotb: i do indeed- but that doesn’t stop you from catching frogs and dragon flies!!!

    keshi: i am very well thank you keshi!

    ww: he is fascinated by nature in general- snakes, spiders and sharks especially! he can take you on a tour of the zoo like he works there!

    kyk: heh heh- no, we won’t actually be walking on spiders…

    spookie: brigitte gets the prize for picking a favourite snake!

    katt: i can just imagine what all you’d find on your farm! damien is in his element on a farm of any kind!

    beads: and beads gets the prize for picking a favourite spider! they’re called garden spiders here too and belong to the orb weavers family.

  3. My fav spider would be a garden spider. I think that is their name. They are really pretty yellow and black.

  4. You guys would love it here, lots of spiders (both types of widows) and snakes. There are two snakes which one should have a healthy respect for. First one, the Black Mamba because it is known to be aggressive and it will go for you. The second, the puff adder which has just got a really BAD attitude – don’t wake a sleeping puff adder, they are seriously grumpy.

    Okay, that’s my contribution to the biology class.

  5. Ja, I don’t think I would actually do the spider walk thing, I might, but not just somma. I do know to from experience that the sac (spelling) is aggressive and may just go for you instead of running away, I saw one do this once. The “Boom Slang” is my favourite. I think he’s a pretty colour.

  6. So he’s got a real interest and knowledge in spiders and nature…hmmm.

    That’s great, an opportunity for him to focus on something he loves.

    I think it’s great, Angel, that you’re going on this spider walk. I’d love to be there.

    He’ll excel in a whole bunch of things, because of you enabling him like this.

  7. Lovely post Angel! *cold shivers*. I don’t have a favourite snake or a favourite spider – You know how scared I am of both!

Comments are closed.