The baboon spider Pterinochilus murinus is an old-world tarantula found on the African continent, in Angola, as well as central, eastern, and southern Africa. It frequently goes by the name of the "Orange Baboon Tarantula" or "Orange Bitey Thing" (OBT) for several reasons that really appealed to us.
The OBT has an intense orange color complemented by a starburst pattern found on the cephalothorax. This spider has the dubious reputation of being one of the most aggressive spiders and is known to be confrontational and incredibly defensive at the slightest provocation. Its Latin classification is Pterinochilus or "Pterror" for short.
The Orange Baboon spiders range in size from 4-6 inches whereby females tend to grow appreciably larger than the males. The spider's abdomen, carapace and legs have the same bright orange coloration whereby it is not uncommon for the legs to have brightly colored rings. Aside from the starburst pattern on the carapace, the abdomen features a fishbone pattern which is prominently displayed on the top. The body is covered with non- urticating short hairs, with longer hair present on the legs.
Like most old world tarantulas, the Orange Baboon spider digs a burrow, or uses a burrow that has been abandoned. It lays silk threads on the entrance to feel vibrations from other animals and uses its aforementioned body hairs to sense changes in air motion. These spiders are fast growers, a male can mature in under a year with females taking a little longer. They are not as long lived as some of the other tarantulas, having a probably life span of only about 8 to 12 years.
In the wild their prey includes insects, lizards, mice, and other small animals. In captivity the Mombasa Golden Starburst Baboon Spider will do well on a diverse diet consisting of adult crickets, grasshoppers, and Dubia roaches.
Week One- Release
Our OBT arrived safely on January 20th, 2015. While these tarantulas are not known for being timid, it appeared somewhat reluctant to step out into its temporary home. Its permanent enclosure has not yet been assembled.
We tried everything to coax the PTerror out of its shipping container including staring at it for several hours, sadly, with no success. Our P. Murinus spiderling is not only ornery but apparently quite stubborn as well.
Eventually we were able to "coax" the little devil out of the shipping container into his new habitat. True to form, our OBT began a thorough investigation of the enclosure from top to bottom as evidenced in the pictures and video outlined below.
This page was last updated: June 2, 2015
Week Two 1/28/15- First and Second Feeding
Our OBT has settled into its new enclosure and has started feeding on mealworms and crickets. We have been able to achieve better visibility of our tenacious friend by moving the wood cave an inch or two away from the acrylic wall of the habitat.
As a result, the OBT has spun a fairly intricate web as seen in the two pictures below.
Click on image to enlarge
Week Three 2/4/15- Third and Fourth Feeding
This week we thoroughly soaked the coconut husk substrate with water in order to keep the humidity at a comfortable level for the Orange Starburst. This will be important at which time our tarantula friend begins to molt.
We have been able to capture several excellent photos of the spider perched in its web early in the morning. In addition, we have completed two additional feedings of both mealworms and crickets. One problem we noted with the mealworms is their tendency to burrow into the substrate before the spider is aware of their presence. We have increased our selection of both Dubia cockroaches and crickets in order to accommodate the OBT.
3/27/15- Third and Fourth Feeding
These two pictures were taken early in the morning which clearly reveals OBT's nocturnal nature. Once the lights come on I have only seconds before our friend scurries back down its funnel web.
We took this opportunity to feed OBT two midsize Dubia roaches just in time for the weekend.
May 29, 2015: First Molt
This afternoon Kelsey discovered the discarded exuvium from the OBT clearly indicating that our friend had recently molted successfully. This is always a welcome event and the first time the spider has molted under our care.