Awesome Arachnids and Roving Reptiles

Cast your eyes away from the looming lion pride in front of the game viewer and observe the ground, the surrounding low-lying thickets and the rock crevices. For these are the places where the fascinating small creatures dwell. Awesome arachnids and roving reptiles have their own story to tell and they’re an integral part of the delicate eco-system of the Kruger’s Balule Nature Reserve.

So, the next time you’re walking to your chalet or enjoying a guided walk in the bush, take in your surrounds. You might just spot an industrious baboon spider building a trap or see a cold-blooded reptile sunning itself on a rock.

There is a world of wonderful and ingenious creatures out there in the Balule. Just recently, Jochen came across two rainbow skinks and a horned baboon spider while staying at the Ezulwini Game Lodges. Let’s look at his photos and find out a few facts about these mighty creatures.

The Horned Baboon Spider:

  • The Kruger is home to 7 species of baboon spider. The horned baboon spider boasts a rather large, protruding horn out of its carapace.
  • The baboon spiders don’t build webs but prefer to dwell in a series of burrows underground. They have a funnel into the ground, which looks like a small snake hole. The funnel is normally covered by intricate interwoven covering of silk.
  • The horned baboon spider has an incredibly hairy body. The hair serves as a type of sensory organ which is used to feel vibrations and pick up scents.
  • The prey of a baboon spider includes an array of small invertebrates such as grasshoppers, beetles and mice.

  • Horned Baboon Spider - Balule

    Baboon Spider

    Horned Baboon Spider

    Rainbow Skinks

  • The most commonly seen diurnal lizards in the Kruger are the striped skinks. The rainbow skinks are slightly more elusive and prefer more rural habitats than their counterparts. These colourful lizards thermoregulate and are often found sunning themselves on a hot rock.
  • Young rainbow skinks have electric blue tails and the females maintain this colourful tail into adulthood. Male skinks, when they mature, develop an dull orange tail and white flecks appear on their body.
  • Skinks have a bright tail in order to distract predators. They have the ability to self-mutilate and will discard their tail when under threat. The tail will keep moving in order to “fool” predators into thinking their intended target is alive.

  • Rainbow Skink

    Rainbow Skink

    Rainbow Skink - Male

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