In September 2013 I spent one week in Kenya within the Masai Mara and at the Mathews Mountain Range in the Samburu district. Basically I was there to see the Great Migration in the Mara but of course I was also looking for some arachnids.
The Masai Mara consists mainly savanna and shrubland with some single trees and bushes. At night it gets really cold there and also at daytime it was quite chilly.
Especially around the rocky areas I was able to find some larger burrows with silk around them. They pretty much looked like the burrows of Theraphosid spiders and at first sight I was quite happy to find many of them.
Burrow , covered with silk
But after taking a blade of grass to get the inhabitant out I saw that it was used by a Lycosa sp. and no Theraphosid spider
I was walking around a lot and I also had great support by the local kids but what I found out is that in the Masai Mara they habe never seen Theraphosid spiders but only Lycosidae
Here one can see my support :
Anyways one should always be careful while walking around because it is not only spiders hiding in the bushes
Even though I was a bit disappointed not to find Theraphosidae the Lycosidae were quite large and
It was also common to find thorn bushes covered with silk. These were the communal nests of a Stegodyphus sp. which belong to the family Ersididae
After visiting the Masai Mara I took a plane towards the Mathews Mountain Range north of Nairobi within the Samburu National Park. The Samburu Park is quite dry but inside the mountains it is much greener and there are also some parts which reminded me of cloud forest. Also here the nights get very cold. I experienced one night with zero degrees celsius.
Mathews Mountain Range
Also here one has to be careful because of elephants and buffalos which are much more dangerous
than lions and leopards which also inhabit this area. For this reason people walk around armed.
Inside the forest especially Gasteracantha spp. were common
I was able to find a Nephila sp. next to small creeks
Of course we were also looking for larger spiders ....
But also here it was the Lycosa sp. I already saw in the Mara. I was told that Theraphosid spiders have never been seen at that Altitude but in the lowlands of the Samburu District.
But there were not only arachnids to find while I was walking around...also in my tent I found some
A great experience was to find a Black Mamba in the wild. Beautiful creatures !
To see all animals I found during this trip including all the large predators watch this video