What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug Man,
I wanted to know what this guy was. I live in St Kitts, W.I. and the students call them donkey spiders. The only thing I found about “donkey spiders” on the internet was just other students talking about them. I think this one came in my apartment to read his last rights before dying. He wasn’t very lively. Do you know what they’re really called? Thanks you
R Fields

Hi R. Fields,
Though we have never heard the name Donkey Spider, we like it, and we are ready to add it to the common names for the Giant Crab Spider, or Huntsman Spider, or Banana Spider. This is a harmless nocturnal hunter that feeds on cockroaches. Thanks for adding a wonderful new name for these fascinating spiders.

Update: (02/05/2007)
About ‘Donkey Spider from West Indies’
Hi again Daniel and Lisa Ann,
I was interested to see the Giant Crab Spider or Banana Spider (Olios sp.) from St. Kitts; images which R. Fields sent in on 1/25/2007. I vacation on Nevis each year and St. Kitts is the sister island, only 2 miles away. English names are notoriously unreliable, but I believe that the creature which is usually referred to on St. Kitts and Nevis as the ‘Donkey Spider’ is the Antillean Tarantula, (Acanthoscurria antillensis), which is furry and colored like a donkey. The image of the one I found on Nevis is on your Spider Page 8, listed as ‘Caribbean Tarantula (10/05/2006)’ and described as a Donkey Spider. On the same page there is an image of what is probably the same species, ‘Tarantula from Dominican Republic (01/05/2007)’. I believe that on St. Kitts and Nevis, the giant crab spider (Olios sp. of the Sparassidae) is usually called a ‘Banana Spider’ or a “Yellow Spider”. Of course the two species are not at all closely related, but they are the two biggest spiders on those islands, they both only come out at night, and so I suppose some people might confuse them one with the other. They both can bite if you hassle them enough, but neither is dangerous to people. Best,
Susan J. Hewitt

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: St. Kitts, West Indies

7 Responses to NOT Donkey Spider but Giant Crab Spider from West Indies

  1. Trudie Hall says:

    My husband and are moving into a different house on Nevis. We noticed there are literally hundreds of “holes” in our yard, yes, hundreds. We were then told they are the homes of the “donkey spider” im not in to wiping out a species, but I’m equally not sure if I can actually live with hundreds of these hairy guests. any ideas?

    • bugman says:

      We hope this does not come off as glib, but if you know that you cannot live with the native wildlife, and you know that the wildlife is present, and you know you do not want to wipe out a species, we don’t understand what makes this new home so desirable. We have been doing some additional research into the Donkey Spider, and we now believe the individual pictured in this posting is not the true Donkey Spider, which is a common name for a Caribbean Tarantula. Tarantulas are not aggressive spiders, and we would urge peaceful cohabitation. The individual in this posting is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider and they do not live in holes in the ground.

  2. Trudie Hall says:

    Good afternoon,
    It was only after leasing the property and doing landscaping/cleanup prior to move in did I notice the holes. That being said, it probably wouldn’t have kept me from moving in, I was told by a neighbor that the holes belonged to ‘tarantulas’ and another stated they were donkey spiders. I am a geologist and also have a degree in wild life biology, so I’m used to common names not being accurate. I haven’t seen one of the spiders yet, as we haven’t moved in. I will post a pic when I can photograph one. The property has been empty for a couple of years, with only minimal upkeep. I’m hopeful once the debris is cleared and the dogs and cats are patrolling the outside, the majority of the spiders will find a more quite location.

  3. Cathy says:

    As to the donkey spider comment, they are tarantula’s, but as everything in St. Kitts Nevis has a nickname, so do the tarantula’s. You will find numerous holes that they live in, but I’ve lived here for over 7 years and rarely do I see one. Maybe when it rains torrentially which isn’t happening now. There are also land crabs that will make large holes in the ground. Also, very rarely seen. Now if only I could find a photo of the spiders I have been seeing lately, I would be happy. I am very freaked out by spiders and haven’t seen these huge red spiders that I found in my bathroom and unfortunately my shower one evening. Even if it doesn’t have a nasty bite, I don’t want it in my house! Where would I find more photo’s so I can identify it and find out more about it?

    • bugman says:

      We have an extensive archive and a pretty decent search engine. We will also attempt to provide you with an answer.

    • Heather says:

      Check out whip spiders. I lived in St. Kitts in the 80s, and my first night in our new home, I encountered one. Scariest thing I’ve ever seen, but I’ve learned that they are totally harmless. They don’t even bite. But they look like Lucifer himself!!

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