The Rain Spiders are one of the common species of spiders in South Africa. Knowing the prime facts about the said spider is an advantage. This includes how harmful they are, their favorite habitats, body anatomy and structure, and how such spiders can be controlled. Read on to know everything about rain spiders.
Quick facts about Rain Spiders
- Genus: Palystes
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Species: P. superciliosus
- Distribution: Kwazulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape
- Body Length: 15–36 mm and a leg span of about 110 mm.
- First described by Ludwig Carl Christian Koch in 1875
The name rain spiders came from the fact that the huntsman spiders do not like living in a rainy or wet environment. During the rainy season, these creatures like seeking shelter in dry places including houses and under rocks. This implies that there is a high possibility of finding them in your house during the rainy seasons. If you live in Kwazulu Natal, Mpumalaga, Limpopo, North West, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape, then you must always be wary of these creepy animals.
Do Rain Spiders bite?
Is a huntsman spider poisonous?
Yes they do. However, aggression is always the main determinant if they will bite or not. The huntsman spider is usually not that aggressive, hence it can hardly bite unless in instances where it feels threatened.
A mere glimpse at a rain spider can inspire much fear in someone who is not familiar with them. Their hairy and bulbous features can easily drive chills down your spine. It even gets worse once you consider their total leg span and visible fangs. Anyone who screams at the sight of these animals should be forgiven because some spider species carry a very painful and venomous sting.
However, those are different. their poison is weak and in case you are bitten, you may only suffer symptoms similar to those of someone who has been stung by a bee. Their bites heal on their own after two or three days.
You may be wondering, “Can rain spiders jump??” The truth is that they do not jump but can move at high speeds especially when threatened. Their body structure, particularly the legs, do not allow them to jump.
Huntsman spider body, structure and adaptability
It is necessary to understand the structure and body form of rain spiders so that you can identify it upon seeing one. Usually, Huntsman spiders have large bodies compared to their cousins. Their bodies can grow to lengths of 15-36 mm, and the legs span up to 110 mm. The long legs are structured to aid movement. Like their relatives, the Huntsman has eight legs that may be banded depending on the species.
Most of them have a flattened body shape. This body shape is built to help them be compatible with their habitats. The flat nature of their body enables them to fit in narrow spaces including under tree barks and rocky places. You may also notice that they have legs, which do not bend vertically but forward and laterally. This posture correlates with the shape of the body, hence enabling them to hide in narrow spaces comfortably.
Their eyesight is not as developed as that of the jumping spiders. This, however, does not mean that they are not able to detect any approaching human being or animal.
Rain Spiders habitat - The preferred places of hiding
The most important fact to acknowledge is that these animals do not dwell in wet and rainy places. This means that you can hardly find them in the open. Their preferred habitats are Scrubland and Savannah woodlands but the specific areas where you are likely to find them include:
- under dry barks
- under stones
- Wood cracks
In some cases, they may crawl and make their way into the house while seeking drier places. It is, therefore, possible to see them under couches and other furniture. They can also be found underground but in rare cases, and as social creatures, they tend to hide in groups.
The Huntsman spider prey
This eight-legged creeper usually forages for his food and on his menu are
- Geckos and other big insects
The breeding and reproduction process of Rain Spiders of South Africa
After mating, the female gets ready to lay eggs. In this process, she develops a nest that will accommodate her eggs until the hatching period comes. The egg sac is round in shape and usually large enough to accommodate all the eggs laid. After constructing the egg sack, she aggressively guards it until the hatching takes place. During this period, they tend to get very aggressive and ready to strike at the slightest provocation. The rain spider nest accommodates the young spiders until they can move out.
The lifespan of a rain spider is approximated at two years. During this period, the females can hatch three times. This means that the females build nests for their eggs and their young ones three times in their entire life.
Their cousin, the Sac spider, is the 3rd most poisonous one in South Africa. They tend to creep into human houses during summer and are believed to account for over 70% of all spider bites in South Africa.
How to get rid of rain spiders in South Africa
It is apparent that you would not want to experience the bite. For this reason, it is necessary to come up with ways in which the rain spiders can be removed from your house and the compound. The primary method of getting rid of them is by first alienating them from food. In other words, killing the insects around your house first will automatically keep them away. They have the tendency of dwelling in places that provide them with ample food supply.
Besides, you can get rid of them by spraying the spider nest with pesticides. While doing this, do not come too close to the nest. Spiders running out of the nest may attack you if you keep a close distance when spraying. You can stay at least seven feet away from the nest.
Also, spray pesticides in places where rain spiders are likely to inhabit. This includes wood cracks, under the rocks, and behind tree barks. Doing so will ensure that there is little possibility of attracting them to your residence.
Applying Sevin dust around the house is also a way of getting rid of these creatures. Apply the powder around the foundation of the house, especially when there is no rainfall for about three days. Doing so will create a barrier that will limit entry of the rain spiders to your house.
Although rain spiders do not kill, their sting, just like that of a bee, can be painful, cause swelling and even take a few days to heal. In case you are attacked by more than one, the effects may be more serious depending on your level of resistance. Therefore, be sure to keep your house and compound free from these animals for your safety and that of your children.