While taking photos in a park I noticed these fairly large circular holes in the ground, which later in the evening on my way out had their occupant expectantly sitting at the entrance: A burrowing wolf spider! Naturally by keeping my breathing low and making as little vibration as possible, I could get close enough to get some photos of the spider in the burrow.
The best thing was how when I tried to change the angle on the photograph the inquisitive animal actually followed the lens around.
Adorable! Another thing I discovered was that these animals are very aggressive when things are popped into the burrow, obviously having a snatch and drag strategy for capturing prey. When a suitable piece of long grass was offered to the spider they became most excited and could be “pulled” from the burrow. The grip on the creature is extremely strong despite the size!
This also meant I could get the spider outside of the burrow to get some full body shots, showing just how large the arachnid actually is! I also got to observe some of them taking the little black beetles wandering around, but the action was so fast my camera couldn’t keep up with it. This is definitely something that will be on my agenda in future when I go back.
It is worth noting, for those of you curious, that if you do attempt to offer them a finger they will think it’s lunch. So protip: No poking.