Monday, March 23, 2009

Rain spider nest

Have you ever seen a strange tennis ball sized nest hanging in a bush somewhere? Ever wondered who lives there? It belongs to a Rain Spider (Genus Palystes).

Rain spiders are grayish in colour with slightly darker markings on their abdomen. Their legs are banded yellow and they are dark brown underneath. They are nocturnal hunters who build their nests of dried leaves hung in vegetation. Often if you look on the back of the nest you will see mama spider sitting there.

A couple of years ago I found a rain spider's nest in the spekboom at the main rest camp's lookout in the Addo Elephant National Park. Spun into the nest was an empty sugar packet. It probably blew away from the park restaurant across the road and the spider thought it would make a good wall.


  1. Jeanette took a photo of a nest a few months ago and then took a photo of hundreds of babies!!!! Those spiders freek me out!! We get them in the house sometimes - hubby has to do the honours of getting them out otherwise I spray them until they are white!!! Then toss them out! Found one today actually on the lawn - we (the boys and I) walked passed it several times before we noticed it! Then I get the shiver down the spine!! Had to be brave and scoop it up and toss it into the garden - ever so quickly!!!
    Also touched one which was hiding in the postbox!! Shivers down the spine again!
    Thanks for your comment - ooh! you have friends in high places (Groot Constantia) or should I say important/nice places!!

  2. Eeeeuw! I don't like them either! How fascinating is that photograph with the sugar packet??

  3. Ek het nou 'n rilling gekry van my kroontjie tot my toontjie!!! I'm really not a huge spider fan and those nests really give me the creeps - they belong in horror movies! Hat off to you for capturing them though - if I look past my own squeamishness, they are actually quite fascinating and it's amazing how they are able to create such sturdy structures. Love the sugar packet, LOL!

  4. Cool photo! The Addo Elephant National Park is still at Anne´s "To-Do-List"...
    Have a nice day!

  5. Ah! I've had one of these in my garden for some time... I always wondered what kinda nasty would appear from it. Thanks for clearing it up!

  6. saw one recently in Kirstenbosch BG there was also one last year in the same area, wondered what kind of spider it was.

  7. PLEASE don't kill them! They are wonderful for the garden and the house and eat all sorts of harmful pests like mosquitoes and flies. They won't bite either if you leave them alone. And the bite is not poisonous. If you don't like the sight of them, just put a see-thru container over them, push a piece of thin cardboard between the container and the floor/wall, and carry outside to the garden. Throw and run :-).

  8. Just found a nest in my garden. Awesome!
    They do freak me out when they decide to join me in the shower - that's happened twice already, but I would never kill them.

  9. Is there anyway of getting rid of them in your home and garden completely without harm? I have recently moved into a home with a gorgeous well established garden and had my first encounter with a rain spider last night.
    I have severe arachnophobia, so am terrified of there being more!