The Baboon Spider in the Western Cape (Harpactirella lightfooti) (Afrikaans name Bobbejaan Spinnekop), commonly known as Tarantulas, are the only venomous baboon spiders with a bite that is extremely painful although not deadly.

they live a long life with females known to have lived for 30 years, the males having a much shorter life.

They are ambush hunters feeding on various insects, beetles, scorpions and even small reptiles. On the other hand they are hunted by birds, reptiles (lizards, chameleons), insectivorous mammals (honey badgers, shrews, bats, mice and baboons,) and even other arachnids such as scorpions.

We saw this one in the West Coast National Park, probably out looking for females.


  1. John
    26 March 2021

    This morning I found what looks like a bobbejaan spider. This was at 5am. I saw my cats looking at something very attentively. On closer inspection I found this spider which was by all intents and purposes already dead. My one cat which is a prolific hunter, making noises as if it was trying to clear his throat. He has now stopped doing this and has had something to eat and drink. I have noticed that the spider has one leg missing, Maybe the leg was stuck in his throat. How poisonous would such a spider be to a cat. At this stage I am not sure whether this is a large Rain spider or a bobbejaan spider. We live in Barrydale with lots of bush round our house and surrounding veld.
    In the morning I shall take a picture of it. Should you wish to send you the picture, please let me have your email address, I will send you the picture. The cat I am pleased to say appears OK but may take him to the vet in the morning for a checkup. Regards John

    • admin
      19 April 2023

      Hi John

      Looking at information available, neither of these spiders are harmful to cats. The hairs on the spider may have caused an irritation in the cats throat but no long term worries.

      Hope kitty is doing well now 🙂

  2. Karin Rabie
    23 April 2023

    Good morning
    I want to know if it is possible for a Baboon spider to come back to the same house??
    About 3 weeks ago we found one in our bedroom. My husband put it in a container and took it to the vineyard about 1km from our house.
    Ysterday we found one on the stoep, just outside the window were we found the firts one. Is it possible that it can be the same one?
    They are quite scares as it is only the 3rd one we have seen in 4 years.

    • admin
      27 May 2023

      We don’t really know but there is an old wives tale that says the male always comes looking for its mate?


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