Cape Leopard Trust

The Cape Leopard Trust team learns about creepy crawlies!
In March 2021, the entire CLT team, including postgraduate students and interns, had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the Cederberg attending an arachnid training course presented by Jonathan Leeming. A lot of fun was had by all and even the worst arachnophobes among our team left with a new appreciation for and understanding of this much maligned group of creatures!

Measuring Venom Toxicity

Have you ever noticed that everyone has their own opinions of how venomous an animal is? When we watch TV, we see programs such as the 10 Most Deadly Animals In The World, or Snakes Of Death... and they list different animals in their top 10 most venomous? That's because measuring toxicity is not as […]
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Factors Influencing Symptom Severity

Envenomation from venomous creatures is influenced by several factors. These factors should be taken into consideration when assessing the potential severity of the expected symptoms. Strength of venom. Amount of venom injected (number of bites or stings). Location of the bite or sting. Age of patient. Body mass of patient. Pre-existing medical condition of patient, […]
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Violin Spider Bite On Hand

There is an email that has spread throughout the world. There are many different variants, but the images and general contents are the same. It’s responsible for some of the Violin Spider mass hysteria. It shows the hand of a “Violin Spider bite victim”, together with a photo of a Violin Spider. The following email […]
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Natures Arms Race

The question of why some animals are venomous is a very good one. Why would an animal possess venom so potent, that it could kill a human being, yet it has no intention of eating us? It all comes down to Natures arms race. The answer lies in the millions of years of evolutionary pressure […]
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Camel Spiders In Iraq

First reported in 2004, the email reports the venomosity of Camel Spiders (Solifugids) and includes a couple of photos. Subject: Camel Spiders From someone stationed in Baghdad. He was recently bitten by a camel spider which was hiding in his sleeping bag. I thought you’d like to see what a camel spider looks like. It’ll […]
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Argument From Ignorance

Although we as humans consider ourselves as superior beings, we suffer from several flaws of the human mind. These flaws propagate sightings of the Yeti, Elvis, the Loch Ness monster and occurrences spider bites. Argument from ignorance is not a unique feature of the easily fooled, but a a phenomenon that occurs in every culture […]
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Found A Small Scorpion in Gauteng

There is a small reddish-brown scorpion that commonly enters houses in Gauteng (and Bloemfontein, Kuruman, Bethulie and other major centres) which has causes a lot of drama for no reason at all. This scorpion is called Pseudolychas ochraceus and is unusual because it thrives in the urban environment. Their natural habitat is riverine valleys and […]
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Is it dangerous?

There is a common question that is asked when discussing snakes and their medical importance - How dangerous is it? Traditionally authors have attached danger ratings to venomous animals in an attempt to indicate the consequences of being bitten or stung, however, all that danger ratings convey is a superficial understanding of how we interact with the natural world.
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Should We Be Afraid?

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Scorpions of Debshan Ranch, Zimbabwe

Debshan Ranch is a 45,000 hectare cattle ranch located about 100km north of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. The below quick guide is a result of the Debshan Ranch scorpion survey held between April and March 2018. Debshan Ranch is part of the Diamond Route properties. This project was funded and supported by Oppenheimer Generations. Download this quick […]
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