I've spoken about Modjadji, the Rain Queen; yesterday I had a visit from a rain spider. This young fellow (or it could be a girl) has been visiting in our house for the past two weeks. This morning he came down close enough for me to carry him to the window and let him out where he belongs...in the garden! Called 'rain spiders' because of their propensity for seeking shelter from the fierce tropical thunderstorms of the African highveldt, these friendly and useful creatures catch pesky insects such as cockroaches and mosquitos. Not quite a spiderling, this teenager clung to the outside of a windowpane as he was quite comfortable in the house and made it clear he didn't want to leave. As they're neither dangerous nor aggressive (unless, like any good mother, the female is protecting her egg sac or young), I'm not too fussed about them in the house.
To the Amerindians, the spider symbolised protection from harm; to the Egyptians, spiders were the weavers of the world. The way I look at it is, the bigger the spider, the greater the protection. A healthy speciman of a rain spider can measure 100mm. That's a whole lot of spider and a whole lot of protection! The orange flowers in the background are strelitzia reginaes, and the purple bush is a petria. When they bloom in the garden, it's spring and the start of our rainy season. No wonder this young rain spider (or to call him by his proper name, Huntsman Spider) headed indoors!