Generally unseen unless you are actually looking for them, many creepy crawlers are hiding in plain sight in the Kruger National park. Reptiles, insects and spiders play a major part in the eco-systems of Kruger. They live amongst the rocks, in the trees, they are even often spotted in the rondavels of the camps.
But not all of the creepy yet fascinating creatures in the park are insects. If you are a little squeamish about reptiles and amphibians, we’re going to give you a heads up. The park is filled with them!
Take a look up in the trees and you are sure to find yourself looking at one of the many Blue-Headed Agama’s living in the park. These lizards are plentiful in the trees of the Kruger National Park and are easily recognisable by their blue heads. In the same category but found on the ground is “Peters’ Ground Agama” which has a mottled skin which provides them with good camouflage for the rocks that they live on. Both these lizards feed mostly on ants and termites and grow up to 12cm.
Found in most accommodation in the Kruger National Park is the “Common Tropical House Gecko”. Easily recognisable, it is normally quite pale in colour as they are nocturnal creatures. They will come out at night when the lights are on and all the moths and mosquitos are out. These unusual lizards are not often seen in the day but be sure to look around your accommodation at night. You will see them hard at work removing all the bugs that fly in at night. They are known to make a clicking sound, so don’t be alarmed if you hear a clicking in your room at night!
Roughly 50 various species of bats can be found in the Kruger National Park. Letaba is the most “bat rich” camp in the Kruger, but they are found in most accommodation facilities in the park. When walking into your bungalow, be sure to look up and most times you will find these little creatures “hanging out” in the day, neatly attached to the thatch. Eating up to 2000 insects at night, these little creatures have a lifespan of 2-20 years. Bats are actually very clean and preen themselves much like a cat does. It is also a myth that they will fly into your hair or suck your blood. Most bats will avoid all contact with humans and eat “pest” insects, so they are really a good creature to have around.
By far, for most people, the creepiest crawler is the spider! The Golden Orb Web Spider (pictured above) so named because of the golden colour of its web, can be seen all over the bush in the Kruger National Park. Its frightful colour and size make it frighteningly recognisable, but the truth is that it is completely non-aggressive and will only bite if severely provoked and even then its venom is quite harmless. Kruger is home to no less than seven species of “Baboon Spider”, but for most of us, one species will look no different from the other. Although their hairy features and large size make them formidable to most humans, Baboon Spiders are not aggressive and will only deliver a very painful, but non-deadly bite when severely provoked.