If you go out in the bush today, you might be in for a big surprise… Just like rangers Ryan and Ruan, who recently rescued an African rear-horned baboon spider found inside the camp. They built a new house for the arachnid, released it, and it’s been cozy ever since.
But why all this fuss about a spider? Well, Ceratogyrus darlingi (commonly called the burst horned baboon or African rear-horned baboon), are unique due to the distinctive horn projecting out of their carapace, sadly making them sought-after specimens for collectors and to be kept as pets. And that’s why they’re classified as ‘commercially threatened’ in terms of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red Data List.
In 1987, three species of the baboon spider, including the horned baboon spider were added to Schedule VII of the Transvaal Provincial Nature Conservation Ordinance as Protected Invertebrate Animals. Today this restriction is still in place in all South-African provinces. Thus, without a permit, these animals may not be collected, transported or kept. If you see one – leave it be!
Some spider facts:
- The baboon spider is a theraphosid spider. This means it is part of the Theraphosidae-family of spiders: very large, chiefly tropical spiders with four spinnerets and their eight eyes in a compact group. Examples include the bird spider, eurypelma, tarantula and theraphosa.
- The baboon spider is found in southern Africa, mainly in Botswana and Lesotho.
- They reach a body length of about 130-140mm, and can live up to 12 years!
- The baboon spider is a tarantula. It gets its name from two physical characteristics:
- The spider’s last two leg segments resemble that of a baboon’s finger
- The spider’s hairy appearance and black pads on their “feet” resemble the pads on baboon feet.
Ranger Ruan Roos captured Camp Jabulani’s African rear-horned baboon spider on film: here are some pics of it, its new home, and the relocation.
Written by ranger Ryan Bates