These are fast-growing (and fast-moving) spiders
with black markings on their abdomens and a starburst pattern on the carapace.
They're generally orange with very reflective scopulae on their tarsi and metatarsi, and they have chocolate-colored undersides. Some are more reddish overall and some are golden. The "Golden Starburst" and "Usambara Reds" are of the same species, though they may be encountered in the pet trade under many different names (i.e., Pterinochilus murinus or Pterinochilus mammillatus, Pterinocihilus sp., etc.). This variation of P. murinus is often called "RCF", or "Red Color Phase" or, most recently, OBT (Orange Bitey Thing).
Leg I is noticably thicker than Leg IV, and slightly longer.
There are ten types of Pterinochilus spiders found in Africa, from Kenya to South Africa.
Click on the photo above for information about mating Pterinochilus murinus.
Usambara Baboon comes from east-central Africa, found in the
highlands of Kenya and Tanzania (the Usambara mountains)
Habitat: Semi-dry highlands, more humid climes in northeast Tanzania, under eaves, in piles of wood. . .this species is very adaptable.
Size: Not a large tarantula. Fully mature, they're about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches in legspan. I've bred females at slightly under 4", and I've had the same girls attain legspans of over 5" before their deaths of old age.
Attitude: Most are pretty defensive once they reach 2" or so. If a retreat is available, they'll usually go to it when threatened. However, they will attack if provoked enough and can't get away from a threat. They may bite the living sin out of you if you harass them, so don't. In my experience, their bites are similar to the lingering, nagging, achy warmth caused by a wasp's sting. They are fast movers and will also stridulate when annoyed.
Dwelling: These are some constructive bugs! They will build elaborate, silk-lined tunnels through the substrate. Sometimes they'll make impressive spires of web and dirt- they can't seem to decide if they're arboreal or terrestrial. One of mine lives in a sort of termite mound that it built in under 12 hours.
This male molted into maturity at
10 months of age. At little over 4" in legspan, they're not big boys.
He can be seen mating here.
This tiny li'l baby Usambara is named Julio.
Why the snake thing from Conan? Because this is way cooler than my picture of P. murinus spermathecae, and it makes it easy to remember what they look like. Other Pterinochilus spermathecae look nothing like this.
Here are some actual spermathecae from a juvenile (about 2" in legspan). See how they face sharply inward?
Ideal Setup: A
container of approx. 200 sq. in. of floor space with enough
peat/potting soil for digging in (fill it about 4-5 inches deep), or an
arboreal setup with some structure to build on.
They will readily make use of anything you put in there, such as clean,
dry sticks, cork bark, fake plants, etc. Supply a water
dish. Even the adult ones from the more tropical
highlands can deal with sparse humidity (anywhere from a normal
air-conditioned room average of 40% to an outdoor setting of 70% is
fine. I have spiders from the same sac that thrive under both
circumstances regarding humidity), so don't bother misting or
moistening the substrate too often as long as you keep the water dish
full. Give spiderlings without a dish some moistened substrate
and a bit of misting once or twice a week. Keep the temperature within
70-90 degrees F if possible. I've raised and bred them in warm, cool,
humid, dry . . . . They grow faster and reproduce more easily
keeping it around 80F with some slightly moist substrate, but
basically these are very hardy arthropods
that will do quite well in just about any environment a human could
bugs that haven't been exposed to pesticides (equivalent of 3-5
crickets a week for adult P. murinus); baby mice. Spiderlings love to
eat and will take on prey their size quite readily.
Here is information on and photos of Pterinochilus murinus mating
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