Rrabobi!

Some of you may remember Millie, a large rain spider that Joe discovered in our house when he first moved in (a couple of weeks before I came to South Africa). If not, you can read a short post about her here.

I’ve got nothing against spiders, but I’d rather not run into a salad-plate-sized arachnid on my way to the bathroom at 3:00 a.m. (That prospect actually terrifies me so much that I sometimes lie in bed and hold it until morning.) So I was glad when Millie vanished before my arrival and never showed up inside again. I did spot her outside on the drainpipe once — scroll to the bottom of this post for a pic.

Last night, Joe was closing the curtains in the living room and burst joyfully into song. “RAH-boo-BEE! RAH-boo-BEE!” he sang, bouncing up and down, to the tune of the Spiderman theme song. Here’s what prompted the outburst:

A rrabobi spotted inside the Lucky 5 Star last night. “Rrabobi” is a seTswana term for spider. Photo courtesy of Joe. (There isn’t a chance in hell that I’ll voluntarily get this close to a rain spider. Not even for the blog.)

I don’t think this rrabobi is Millie, as Joe says s/he is larger than Millie was. Fantastic! I didn’t venture close enough to make an accurate comparison.

In the 1980s there was a South African version of the Spiderman show, called Rabobi (sic), which aired on network TV. It seems that most South African boys in our generation grew up watching this TV show. I found a YouTube video about Rabobi, which I imagine my South African readers will enjoy.

Warning: If you click the link below you’ll be singing Rabobi for the rest of today, and maybe tomorrow too. This is actually a more recent rendition of the theme song by a band called Slug of War.

I begged Joe to put Rrabobi outside, but he refused. Instead he stood on a chair and spent 20 minutes photographing Rrabobi, who had since crawled up the curtain to where the wall meets the ceiling. Poor Rrabobi — I think the lens frightened him. I cowered on the other side of the room.

Rrabobi was about an inch from the camera lens. It almost looks as if he’s motioning for Joe to step away. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

I must admit that I love the word rrabobi almost as much as I love Wonderboom.

I tiptoed out of the bedroom this morning and crept as close as I dared to the area where Rrabobi was resting last night. Nothing.

I suspect this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Rrabobi.

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17 Comments

    • Reply 2summers March 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      Joe might have exaggerated a bit on the size. I agree the video is scary.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough March 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Love the end of this post. I suspect he/she will be back, as well.

    I think you need to get Lisa over at Notes from Africa to identify your visitor. She’s good at getting to the bottom of arachnid issues!

    • Reply 2summers March 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Yes, Lisa is great with spiders! I don’t see half as many interesting ones in Joburg as she sees in her neck of the woods.

  • Reply Gary de Beer March 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Love the post. Thanks for bringing back good memories.

    Isn’t it funny(ironic) that in the apartheid years we ‘advantaged’ youngsters did not care that the Spiderman series we had on TV was dubbed in a language we did not understand and even more so that it is what most of us now lovingly remember as a highlight of our youth. (Along with Liewe Heksie and Bennie Boekwurm – Ask Joe..)

    Had a chance recently to watch an episode of that animated series in english, but somehow it just wasn’t the same… 😉

    • Reply 2summers March 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      Yep, every kid loves Spiderman. The language hardly matters. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply eremophila March 17, 2011 at 12:37 am

    As a gardener, I’m quite fond of spiders. Where I can see them. I have to admit I prefer them not crawling over me – I think spiders tap into a deep fear within most of us. At least this spider doesn’t have a fatal bite. I’d keep it around to keep the mosquitoes down, that’s for sure!
    PS – keep a torch by your bedside 🙂

    • Reply 2summers March 17, 2011 at 7:26 am

      I actually kind if like looking at them too but would be prefer it to be outside the house. Oddly I have the same feeling about rats. I find them interesting when I see them outside, but the thought of one in my personal space is terrifying.

  • Reply amblerangel March 17, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Thanks for the warning on the video- I watched it anyway. I hope this Spiderman relies on his web producing apparatus on not his arms to pull himself up the side of the buildings- he’s looking like he could use a few trips to the gym before powering up…

  • Reply Slowvelder March 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

    haha – love it! I lived in a home once that had so many rain spiders – I learned how to walk them out of the house using a feather duster.

  • Reply chris green March 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    that’s a real ‘familie spinnekop’ These guys run after their prey and overpower it rather than using a web, The two classes of spiders are called megalomorphs or aranaeomorphs , power vs web! Arane =web in latin. Megalo=big i.e strong in Greek!Those who do not enjoy mosquito bites ae glad of such company. The really dramatic South African spider that I love is the golden baboon spider, or wolf spider. There are two species in SA: the golden one lives in the eastern parts and a greyer one out west. These guys live in holes and can be persuaded to come out. They are also known as ‘tarantulas’ though they are not really tarantulas at all. Just look great! They live a long time and are able enlarge their burrows but not make a new one so if one finds one you should leave it in peace, they are harmless to humans despite their scary looks. Rain spiders are skinny fellows by comparison but welcome to have at home!!
    chris

    • Reply 2summers March 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      I have heard of these baboon spiders before. They sound fascinating but I think I’d rather pass on an in-person meeting…

  • Reply clouded marble March 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    LOL. Again?!

    I think you’ll be seriously freaked out if you lived in my house – or it might “cure” you. Rain spiders just love to visit me 🙂 I’ve chased one or two around – up and around curtains and curtain rods, or running over the tiled floor – trying to get a good shot. Right this minute I’m so very tempted to send you some photos, but then you might not sleep, or something.

    Sorry, I know it isn’t funny for you. I guess I’ve gotten more used to them being around – but I’m definitely with you on the personal space rule. Except if I break it myself in the name of photography, of course 😉

    • Reply 2summers March 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Hahaha. It’ not funny to me at first, when the rrabobi first appears, but I can appreciate the humor later and I’m almost getting used to the idea of having them around. I remember the pictures from your old post about rain spiders…Eek! I’m glad they are not quite as common in JHB.

  • Reply Richard Brooksbank March 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Great blog Heather. Have you seen a “Rrabobi” nest yet?

    • Reply 2summers March 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

      No, I haven’t. But that sounds really scary.

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