Summer Time – Spider Time

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When the weather gets hot and humid many different species of Golden Orb Spiders build their webs along and across the roads on Thanda. Part of Bheki’s job at this time of the year is to take down the webs across the roads before they reach our guests.

It is good to know that spiders do not like large warm-blooded mammals and therefore avoid any contact with humans. Even in the rare case that one touches Bheki’s fingers it immediately descends and gets away from him. That also means that one can walk or drive safely beneath their webs – they do not drop on people 🙂

These beautiful creature occur in many color variations.

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More about Golden Orb Spiders:

The Golden Orb Spiders (genus Nephila) are a genus of spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. Nephila consists of numerous individual species found around the world. They are also commonly called Golden Silk Orb-weavers, Giant Wood Spiders, or Banana Spiders.

Golden Orb Spiders usually reach sizes up to 5.1 cm (2 in) in females, not including leg span, with males being usually 2/3 smaller (less than 2.5 cm, 1 in).

They are the oldest surviving genus of spiders, with a fossilized specimen known from 165 million years ago.

These spiders do not seem to form either beneficial or harmful relationships with humans. An (unlikely) bite causes local pain, redness, and blisters that normally disappear within 24-hours.

Hope

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These Vultures were hoping that the Lions would move away from their nearby kill soon. This picture was taken in the early hours of the day before it started heating up.

All images are of  White-backed Vultures, the most common vulture species to be seen on Thanda.

20121223 - CS2_4711 - E - SIG 20121231 - CS2_5741 - E - SIGAbout White-backed Vultures:

The White-backed Vulture is a typical vulture, with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage. This is a medium-sized Vulture with a wingspan up to 2.25 m (7 ft).
Like other Vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring high over the savanna. It often moves in flocks. It breeds in trees , laying one egg. The population is mostly resident. Its conservation status is “Endangered”.