The wet weather this month (December 2013) saw a number of smaller inveterbrates wandering indoors, including this large Rain spider. It had a leg span just short of 10 cm. It was most likely on the hunt for insects attracted by a kitchen light in a home at Beacon Bay.
These spiders are common and widespread throughout southern Africa and are not known to be harmful. A gray cushion-like egg sac holds between 70-100 eggs and is guarded by the female – spiderlings emerge after about 3 weeks.
At rest or in defence the legs of these spiders are charateristically drawn back and held close to the body, but in aggresion the front legs or first two pairs of legs are raised high over the head.
References: Southern African Spiders (An Identification Guide) by Martin R. Filmer and Spiders of southern Africa by Astri and John Leroy