J’ba Fofi

Through the years tales of a strange creature located deep in the Congo Jungle have arisen. It goes by the name J’ba Fofi and is said to be a spider of incredible size with a 6-foot-across leg span and is said to feast upon monkeys, birds, and even small antelopes. J’ba Fofi translates to the ‘great spider.’

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One of the earliest stories is from R.K. Lloyd and his wife in 1938. It scurried across the road in front of them and they believed, at first glance, it was a monkey scurrying. However, they soon realized it was a gigantic spider.

However, locals have reported seeing this strange creature long before the Lloyds saw them in 1938. In addition to their grotesque size, they are brown in coloring (and said to be darker and darker the older they get) and have a large purple mark on their abdomens. They are said to live similar to the much smaller trapdoor spider (in burrows at ground level).

It is not just their size that makes them dangerous but also the way they hunt. As mentioned above they are able to hunt large prey (or, at least, larger than other spiders’ prey) and they d this by creating intricate and almost invisible webs. These webs are constructed between two trees with a ‘trip line’ across them to alert the spiders when an animal is about to be caught. When the animal hits the trip line they are forced into the web and pounced upon by the J’ba Fofi.

Many locals say that the J’ba Fofi used to be much more prevalent and feared in the area however continued human encroachment, development, and expanse has led them to be seen less and less.

So, why haven’t we seen any? Well, Giant invertebrates were once a reality. So, were the locals seeing the last of a long-preserved but dying breed? Or, had the stories ben passed down for so many generations that perhaps, just maybe, a human did once lay eyes on the J’ba Fofi? Other sources believe that the locals weren’t seeing spiders at all but very large land crabs, similar to the frightfully large coconut crabs. Perhaps the J’ba Fofi is a land crab who, like the coconut crab, burrow underground.

Thanks to John G. for the suggestion!

The above image is unrelated to the story and is by Flickr user patchattack, entitled web. It is licensed under cc-by-sa 2.0.!