All power to the baboon spiders

2013-10-27 14:00

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It was a forced relocation, but the residents didn’t put up much of a fight when Eskom moved them to make way for the Medupi Power Station near Lephalale in Limpopo.

That’s because the “residents” in question are baboon spiders – 300 of them.

The relocation project is one of the only success stories to come out of the troubled Medupi project.

Eskom and its mining partner, Exxaro, moved the spiders to specially constructed burrows at two locations in April.

Six months on, the hairy little beasts are living it up at the old Matimba Power Station’s ash dump and Exxaro’s Manketti Game Reserve.

According to a statement released by Eskom, ecologists could not wait for the spiders to dig new burrows, because the time they would take to complete the process would have left them vulnerable to predators.

The burrows are between 20 and 30cm deep.

Each man-made burrow was logged with a GPS, allowing the ecologists to check up on the spiders and ensure their new accommodation was working out.

Two species of the huge spiders were moved: the golden-brown baboon spider (Augacephalus junodi) and burst horned baboon spider (Ceratogyrus darlingi).

Baboon spiders are quite common and can live for up to 17 years. They are popular pets, and despite their foreboding looks, they are harmless to humans.

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