News24

Spider snacks on snake

2004-02-11 22:23

Bloemfontein - An office receptionist got the shock of her life earlier this week when she found a 14cm long Aurora house snake entangled in the web of a deadly spider.

Tania Robertson, a receptionist at an electrical firm in Bloemfontein, came in to work on Tuesday and spotted the strange sight next to a desk in her office.

The snake, which had obviously died from the spider's poisonous bite, was off the ground and caught up in the web.

Leon Lotz of the arachnology department at the National Museum immediately identified the spider as a female brown button spider.

The brown button spider, easily identifiable by a red hourglass marking on its stomach, is not quite as deadly as a black widow.

He said it was only the second time in South Africa that he had heard of a snake getting caught in a spider's web.

Rod Douglas from the herpetology department identified the snake as being a young, non-poisonous Aurora house snake.

It is believed the snake got caught in the web on Monday night. But it did not take the spider long to bite it. A red mark on the snake's stomach was evidence of where the spider had started eating it.

Throughout Tuesday, the spider checked on her prey, but on Wednesday she rolled it up and started spinning a web around it.

She also kept lifting it higher off the ground, while continually snacking on it. Even a fly that accidentally landed on the snake was chased off aggressively.

Volksblad