Usambara Baboon Spider (Pterinochilus murinus)
The Usambara Baboon Spider, also known as the OBT (Orange Baboon Spider, or as some like to call it Orange Bitey Thing!) are truly awesome spiders. They are Super Fast and Super Aggressive, and are a great DISPLAY animal. If agitated in any way they will not hesitate to lift their front legs up in the air exposing their fangs in a defensive posture just waiting to bite anything that gets in their way. Handling these spiders is not such a good idea as there is a strong possibility that it will bite you, and it will hurt. So it best when moving your spider to use something like a paint brush with a long handle to gently encourage it to go where you want it to go.
The Usambara Baboon Spider is striking bright orange in colouration with a few black spots and markings on their abdomen and cephalothorax. They can grow 12-14cm in size, making it quite an average sized spider compared to the Tarantulas from South America, however its size is probably the only thing average about this spider.
The genus Pterinochilus ranges from East Africa down to South Africa. Scientists still have a lot to learn about the taxonomy and the different species of this genus. These spiders lack the urticating hairs of the New World Tarantulas, but make up for that with their aggressive behaviour. The colour of spiders in this genus tend to vary from brown to greys and some even are quite red, but none compare to the striking orange of the Usambara Baboon Spider. Usambara Baboon Spiders are found near the Usambara Mountain Range north east of Tanzania. The natural habitat is fairly dry and semi arid so humidity does not need to be maintained as high as other tarantulas need it. A good humidity level is around 55-60%. Temperature needs to be quite warm as East Africa has a warm climate so temperature should be maintained at about 27-29′C. These spiders are semi-arboreal which means that they live on the ground and in trees, although these spiders are more likely to live just off the surface of the ground at the base of shrubs, not actually in the trees.
Adult Usambara Baboon Spiders will be happy in a cage about 30x20x20cm. An ideal substrate for these spiders is a 5cm thick layer of substrate of 50/50 peat moss and vermiculite, which holds moisture well and also allows for good burrowing. Although these spiders are kept dry they will need a bit of spraying with water maybe about once a week. A shallow dish of water should always be provided in your spiders enclosure and must be cleaned every second day or so to ensure no bacteria can grow in the water which could be harmful or even deadly to your spider. A small hide and a few decorations can also be placed in your spider’s enclosure, such as a plant pot cut in half which your spider will probably use as a hide and plastic plants. Usambara Baboon Spiders produce lots of web and once settled into their enclosure they will find a suitable spot and build a thick white web in which they will take refuge during the day. Some spiders may even build a thick tubular web near the top of the cage. If so be careful when opening the cage as these spiders are fast an aggressive and are quick to defend themselves, even when you not attacking!
Usambara Baboon Spiders are greedy eaters and won’t hesitate to take down large crickets, mealworms, superworms and some will even eat pinkies (new born mice). If all the requirements are met your Usambara Baboon Spider will thrive in its enclosure and grow fast, eating once a day as it’s growing fast and then once every three days as it gets older. Breeding these spiders is quite easy and even though they are very aggressive, they seem to tolerate each other when it comes down to mating and it doesn’t seem like much trouble.
All in all the Usambara Baboon spider is a relatively easy tarantula to take care of, and although it is aggressive nature can be quite intimidating, it’s bright colours and fiery nature truly make it a lovely and exciting tarantula for anyone’s collection. If taken care of a Usambara Baboon Spider will thrive in its enclosure can live up to 12years (females). Males, like all tarantulas, usually live about four years.