We found LOTS of spiders, and the woman who took us on the little hunt slash stroll has been studying arachnids for more than 30 years. She and her husband have written a couple of books on the subject too. Damien was in his element of course. He even found what I think was a leopard gecko! We saw a beautiful wolf spider with all her tiny spiderlings on her back, a velvet spider, two other little wolf spiders carrying their egg sacs, a few comb footed spiders (which actually regurgitate food for their hatchlings but are not natives of South Africa) a spitting spider, a baboon spider, a beautiful copper coloured male sand diver (that eats only termites) and Damien- with a considerable amount of effort- caught an exquisite big black and white male jumping spider.
My Daddy Darling went with us, and am I glad we took hats- it was hot as blazes!
We really had fun though, and learned a few new things too. The “flatty” for example- can actually drop a leg or two when they’re spooked- like a starfish- and if they live long enough they can grow those legs back again the next few times they shed! Sadly, we also learned that several spiders are in trouble, the baboon and hedgehog spiders in particular- which are endemic to Gauteng- are endangered because of the rapid growth of both housing and business in the province.
…can you see the gecko?
this is a “flatty”
a new plant
a velvet spider
mois with the sweep net
damien checking the net
the “guide” displaying the possiblr size of a baboon spider