I have featured this tiny crab spider before, but newer readers may like to see how it made itself comfortable on the magazine I was reading in January 2020:

Here is a closer view of its crab-like appearance:

It sprang to mind yesterday when I came across this fresh-water crab in the road – of course it scuttled into the grass as soon as I approached it!

I followed it until it finally stopped to glare at me from next to a rock:

Appearance-wise, these two creatures have a lot in common.



These photographs were taken in the Hout Bay – Llandudno area:

I enjoy the rippling of the sand on this dune.

Even a dead crab causes the sand to form a pattern around it.

A child’s footprints on the wet sand make an appealling pattern.

The curl of low-tide waves before sun set.

A view of Hout Bay from the Chapman’s Peak road.


I recently published this photograph of a rain spider on its nest tucked under a roof outside our kitchen:

My attention was focused on the large spider and how protective it appears in this photograph. Some of the comments indicated much the same focus. At the time I wondered about the fluffy appearance of the exterior of the nest and I even peered into those holes, leaving none the wiser. The sharp-eyed among my readers kept silent, perhaps taking what they observed for granted. This morning I noticed that the spider had disappeared and, in its absence, peered at the nest more closely for those fringes of fluff had a definite shape to them. Hooray for the magnifying qualities of a cellphone camera:

The ‘fluff’ are clearly the skins sloughed off by the hundreds of tiny spiders that must have hatched within the nest! This leaves me wondering what their survival rate is.


This shiny black beetle with eight white spots was easy to see against the greenery in the garden as I walked past:

A closer look revealed it likely to be a White-spotted Fruit Chafer (Mausoleopsis amabilis), which feeds on decaying plant matter, fungi, dung, and flowers. This one appears to be eating a leaf.

Although these chafers are common to most habitat types in Southern Africa, I haven’t seen many of them in my garden before. In the picture below, you might spot an insect I didn’t see at the time – a brown spiky-legged creature on the leaf in the foreground.


THE SNAIL – William Cowper (1731-1800)

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all

Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
                                                Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house, with much

Where’er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
                                                Whole treasure.

Thus, hermit-like, his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And if he meets one, only feeds
                                                The faster.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind,
(He and his house are so combin’d)
If, finding it, he fails to find
                                                Its master.

This poem came to mind after seeing so many snails moving about the garden and in the streets after our recent rain – a change from coming across empty shells!