When people first experience the bush here in Africa, the focus on all the big wild animals around especially the ‘Big 5’ but as you settle in and get accustomed to your surroundings you start to notice the little things and how the ecosystems work. I love finding puzzles in the wild to ponder on and come up with possible solutions.
A few weeks ago when my family came to visit, we spent many hours watching a spider who was clever enough to build his huge web over one of my outside lights. This was a really bright move because the light attracted insects at night so he caught loads and loads of food. It was wonderful watching him repair his web every morning after a night of carnage.
Here is a photo I took when a large praying mantis got caught up in the web.
Spidey was a little startled by this mantis because it was wriggling frantically and causing a large amount of damage to the web. He went and checked on it a few times and then backed off when it struggled to free itself. After about 30 minutes of this, the spider made up his mind and set about cutting the mantis free of the web and releasing it. How kind is that? It kept us enthralled for hours and so Mr Spider became a permanent resident at our little hide-away in the bush with his huge web obvious to all who visited. I suspect many thought I was just a really bad housekeeper who didn’t dust away spider webs.
Now the really sad puzzle I need an answer to is this. Mr Spider was murdered. Yes – murdered. I suspect that we will need to call in Dexter to help (as I don’t watch television I THINK he is the dude who reads blood splatters?)
We found his body one morning, about 3 meters from his web. I could not believe a spider had so much blood, and it looked like he had hit the ground with quite an impact.
What puzzles me is that murder in the bush is normally followed by a feast and the remains we usually find are skeletons. Mr Spider’s murderer left him intact for us to find. So…… who dunnit?
RIP Mr Spider.