Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Is this the spider that bit Peter Parker?

I have occasionally longed for super powers – especially when slogging up a steep hill, or most recently – clambering around cliffs and crags looking for the Jackal Buzzard nest. Wouldn't it be nice just to cast a web and fling one's way to the top of a valley, Spiderman style? So the other day I was meandering back from a mission in the hills, when I see this spider intently scuttling towards me – well, probably not aiming to bite and maim me – but I could see how a naïve person might see it that way.

But it wasn't just any spider – this thing is very colorful with the beautiful contrasting red on black. It's a bit reminiscent of the hourglass of an upside down venomous black widow. Except, my spider book has not left me any the wiser as to what it could be. Apparently we have 2000 spider species in southern Africa – and we don't have a comprehensive field guide to species level. So, my best guess at this stage is that it is a type of burrowing spider – this would explain why I have never seen one before. It may have been fleeing for its life from marauding baboons wont to turn rocks over and eat the things they find beneath. Not that a super-spider would have to do such a thing – it would of course reduce a troop of baboons to liquified rotting remains in a few jumps and bites.

While I briefly toyed with the idea of picking up the spider for closer inspection and the chance for a bite, I concluded that Spiderman powers would not do me much good as we don't have anyone to wander around after me picking up the super strength webs I would leave behind. I also like my life as it is – with no power comes no responsibility; and a red and blue tight suit would just not fit in with our green and brown landscape. The nail in the coffin of my desires for super-powers was the realization that Peter Parker, despite being able to climb walls, just isn't all that good with the girls. As such, spider and I scuttled towards our separate destinations leaving each others lives physically untouched, but perhaps both wondering about the bizarre other creatures that inhabit this planet.

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