The Creepiest & Crawliest Spiders of Africa

by Sandy Salle on May 15, 2012

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Image to the left taken from GoAfrica.About.Com.


They’re hairy. They’re creepy. And sometimes they’re even poisonous. The spiders of Africa are not critters you want to come across while on an African safari vacation, unless, of course, you’re an entomologist or other type of insect lover!

But if you’re like me, you’d rather read about these insects or view them with binoculars, rather than find one by surprise . . .

Below I’ve spotlighted just a few of the most frightening African spiders:

Baboon Spider (depicted in the image above): Commonly referred to as a tarantula, the baboon spider got its name from the appearance of its back legs, which strongly resemble the appearance of baboon fingers. There are more than 40 species of the baboon spider found throughout Africa, and all of these species are covered in hair that ranges in hues of brown, black, yellow, and gray.

These nocturnal hunters can grow up to three inches in length and females can live for nearly 25 years! These creepy critters are found lurking about the ground or in their silk web burrows. At night, baboon spiders await patiently at the mouth of their burrows, waiting for prey to approach before they strike. They can also sense the vibrations of the soil and silk web threads when prey is approaching.

The baboon spider’s diet consists of a variety of small insects and other creatures, including crickets, ants, beetles, cockroaches, cicadas, other spiders, reptiles, snails, frogs, and lizards.

In terms of its venom, the baboon spider does not have a deadly bite; however, a bite can be very painful and cause swelling and itching around the bite site.

Image to the right owned and shot by M. Kuntner and taken from GoAfrica.About.Com

Darwin’s Bark Spider: You’ll definitely want to watch where you’re going when you’re around this spider! Known for its skillful web architecture and for creating the biggest webs known to planet earth, Darwin’s bark spider is found throughout areas of Madagascar, as well as South Africa. These spiders create their world-famous webs using a tough biomaterial over rivers, spanning from one side of the bank to the other. The largest web ever recorded of Darwin’s bark spider was 30 square feet!

Another interesting element about this spider’s silk is that it’s approximately 100% tougher than all other silks known to man, which makes the Darwin’s bark spider’s silk the toughest biological material known to man.

The Ogre Spider: Although frightening to look at, the ogre spider is a harmless arachnid that is famous in the insect world for its unique web and two huge eyes (with a set of 6 smaller eyes). It’s also frequently featured on documentaries because of its fascinating hunting techniques.

When a prey comes in contact with this spider’s net-like web, the ogre spider grabs the edge of the net and pulls it over the victim to engulf the prey. And for flying prey, the ogre spider simply flings its web to catch the prey.

Image above owned and shot by Jurgen Otto and taken from GoAfrica.About.Com

Image to the left taken from GoAfrica.About.Com

The Six-Eyed Sand Spider: Arguably the most venomous spider in the world, the six-eyed sand spider can be found burrowed beneath sand in desert regions, including the Western Cape, Namibia, and the Northern Province. Its venom is hemolytic, which can cause tissue breakdown and cell destruction. Although it is feared for its venomous bite, this spider is extremely shy and there have been no recorded human deaths from this spider’s bite.

Which of these spiders seems the creepiest to you? My top choice is the ogre spider!

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