The hunter awaits…
Disclaimer: You DEFINITELY want to avoid this entry if you suffer from arachnophobia – a fear of spiders.
The trail was a haven for insects and wild life indeed and after all that shooting I was getting tired. I managed to reach the end of the short trail. No, I did not reach the other park which was Telok Blangah park. I noticed that the trail is only a short path and to reach the other park will take more walking through some residential areas. The time was like 5:30pm and I wasn’t keen on pushing towards the other park. So I decided to go off trail from the path, entering some forested areas.
It seemed like a fruitless walk as I don’t see anything of interest. There were spider webs hanging around some of the leaves of the trees but the occupants seem to be long gone. Finally, I came across this web where I saw some small spiders crawling around the web. Like finally! A home with an occupant. I leaned towards the web for a closer look as the spider was really small, maybe a centimeter or so. As my eyes scanned the web, something caught my sight. Something which got me taking a few quick steps back and shouting “FUCK!”.
Introducing to you, my friends, the Giant Wood Spider (Nephila maculata).
Some quick facts about the spider (which is also known as the Golden Orb Web Spider) I gathered from the Internet. The giant wood spider constructs the largest and strongest webs among all spiders in the animal kingdom. Photographed above is a female which can grow up to 20 cm in length (from toe to toe) while the male is only 1/10th of this size.
This is the biggest damn spider I have ever seen in my entire life (not counting the ones I’ve seen on the idiot box or the ones held in a tank in zoos). I was thrilled, excited and scared all at the same time. Thrilled and excited because hell, you don’t see such a great specimen everyday. Scared because I thought it was dangerous. As with most cases in nature, bright colors equal danger. The yellow colors on the spider were literally screaming, “You don’t wanna mess with me, bitch”. It was a fight or flight decision. (Actually the spider is quite harmless, it rarely bites and its venom is generally not venomous to humans).
Eventually, I decided to fight. I wanted to do a closeup on the spider’s face but that was tough as the spider was hanging upside down and her back was facing me. I can’t go to her front either because there were shrubs blocking my way. I decided to force my way into the bushes and shrubs. I have to admit that I didn’t dare go too close either as I was not sure how she will react. So this is the closest shot I manged to get.
Before long, I felt that my legs were itching like mad. I dismissed it thinking that it was probably the grass and shrubs. Soon, the itchiness got worse and started to spread. Die lor I thought. Some random insect must have activated some allergy of mine. I took a closer look at my legs and to my horror, ants were swarming up my legs and biting me. I had accidentally got on the way of a trail of ants. I thought I could endure it but I realize the bigger soldier ants (with giant mandibles!) were also coming at me. I decided to retreat.
Ants 1 – 0 Vincent 😦
After brushing every ant off my legs, I decided to call it a day. I would’ve loved to get up close and personal with the spider and to shoot from more angles but alas nature itself seems be denying me the chance. I am disappointed that I couldn’t get better shots. It’s not everyday you run into such a great creature. But I am contented that I got at least some photos of this magnificent spider. Let’s hope our paths meet again.