Brown Button Spider near Parklands North

Known as “Knopiespinnekoppe” in Afrikaans, Button Spiders are found from Cape Town along the south coast to the eastern and central parts of the region.

Their egg sacs have distinctive shapes, textures, and colours according to the subspecies: those belonging to Black Button Spiders (Latrodectus cinctus, a.k.a. Black Widow Spiders) are smooth, cream-colored, and about the size of a pea, whereas those belonging to Brown Button Spiders (Latrodectus geometricus) are covered in small spikes.

Button Spiders weave irregularly-spaced webs with strong, elastic silk and usually include a retreat of thick, opaque silk and debris on one side.

They have a neurotoxic venom that’s medically significant, but they are not aggressive at all – when threatened they either hide in their silk retreats or fall to the ground with their legs curled, feigning death.

Mortality from the bites of Button Spiders is less than one percent worldwide. Untreated, symptoms from bites last for about five days and are very unpleasant.

Initially the site of the note is painful, then after 10-60 minutes the pain spreads to lymph nodes closest to the bite site, and from there to the muscles and joints. Strong, painful muscle cramps develop and the abdominal muscles become rigid. The bite victim’s face becomes contorted, flushed, and sweaty, the eyelids swollen, the lips inflamed, and the jaw muscles contracted.

A toxin in the venom can pass the blood / brain barrier and attack the central nervous system, resulting in severe psychological symptoms ranging from anxiety to absolute terror.

Solifuge near Philadelphia

Despite the common names, Solifuges are neither true scorpions (order Scorpiones) nor true spiders (order Araneae).

They are an order of animals in the class Arachnida known variously as camel spiders, wind scorpions, sun spiders, or solifuges. They are also known as “Red Romans”, “Haarskeerders”, “Baardskeerders”, “Camel Spiders”, “Wind Spiders”, and “Kalahari Ferraris”.

Cape Cobra near Melkbosstrand

Also known as a “Koperkapel” or “Geelslang” in Afrikaans, the Cape Cobra is a common venomous snake that can range in colour from yellow through reddish brown to black.

When threatened or cornered, Cape Cobras are quick to spread a hood and won’t hesitate to bite. Their venom is highly neurotoxic (the most potent of any African cobra), attacking the nervous system and causing respiratory collapse (the victim stops breathing).

Cape Cobras feed on rodents, birds, lizards, toads, and other snakes.

Oviparous, they lay 8-20 eggs in mid-summer.

Find out more about this species here.

Spotted Harlequin Snake rescued near Table View

Also knows as a “Gevlekte Kousbandjie”, Spotted Harlequin Snakes average 40 cm in length and have very distinctive coloring.

They prefer fynbos, lowland forest, moist savannah, and grassland, where they can often be found in deserted terminte mounds and under rocks.

Spotted Harlequin Snakes feed on legless skinks, blind snakes, and other snakes as well as small lizards.

Oviparous, they lay 6-9 eggs in the summer.

Find out more about this species here.

Spotted Skaapsteker near Big Bay

Spotted Skaapstekers average 45 – 85cm in length and can be found inhabiting fynbos, grassland, and moist savannah throughout most of South Africa. They’re mildly venomous, but pose no danger to humans.

Diurnal (active during the day), they actively hunt rodents, lizards, birds, frogs, and other snakes.

Oviparous, Spotted Skaapstekers lay 8-30 eggs in the summer.

Find out more about this species here.

Rhombic Egg-Eater near Big Bay

Although completely harmless, people often get a fright and kill Rhombic Egg-Eaters due to their defensive posturing – they coil their bodies and rub their keeled scales against each other to produce a loud hissing noise, then flatten their head and open their mouth whilst pretending to strike.

In reality they barely have any teeth, and they are completely harmless! You can see a video demonstrating this defensive posturing here.

Mainly nocturnal, Rhombic Egg-Eaters feed exclusively on birds’ eggs. They have sharp protrusions on the inside of their spine that they use to crack an egg open after they’ve swallowed it, then they spit the shell back out.

Oviparous, they lay 6-25 eggs in summer.

Find out more about this species here.

Cape Cobra near Melkbosstrand

Also known as a “Koperkapel” or “Geelslang” in Afrikaans, the Cape Cobra is a common venomous snake that can range in colour from yellow through reddish brown to black.

When threatened or cornered, Cape Cobras are quick to spread a hood and won’t hesitate to bite. Their venom is highly neurotoxic (the most potent of any African cobra), attacking the nervous system and causing respiratory collapse (the victim stops breathing).

Cape Cobras feed on rodents, birds, lizards, toads, and other snakes.

Oviparous, they lay 8-20 eggs in mid-summer.

Find out more about this species here.

Cape Cobra near Melkbosstrand

Also known as a “Koperkapel” or “Geelslang” in Afrikaans, the Cape Cobra is a common venomous snake that can range in colour from yellow through reddish brown to black.

When threatened or cornered, Cape Cobras are quick to spread a hood and won’t hesitate to bite. Their venom is highly neurotoxic (the most potent of any African cobra), attacking the nervous system and causing respiratory collapse (the victim stops breathing).

Cape Cobras feed on rodents, birds, lizards, toads, and other snakes.

Oviparous, they lay 8-20 eggs in mid-summer.

Find out more about this species here.