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|immature P. murinus|
The baboon spider Pterinochilus murinus, an old-world tarantula, was first described in 1897 by Reginald Innes Pocock. This species is found on the African continent, in Angola, as well as central, eastern, and southern Africa.
Among those who keep tarantulas as pets Pterinochilus murinus is known as "OBT," which means "Orange Baboon Tarantula" or "Orange Bitey Thing," and also as the "Pterror," a pun on its Latin genus classification: Pterinochilus. These nicknames reference a particular orange color form that is prized in the hobby for its beauty and confrontational personality. It is also known as the Mombasa golden starburst tarantula.
This species is incredibly defensive and should not be held. The bite of this species, while not serious, is extremely painful. Moreover, the species is more than willing to inflict such a bite before presenting the typical threat display. Caution when dealing with this species is advised.
Female P. murinus can grow to 4–6 inches in size (measured from the tip of the front left leg, to the rear right leg), while males typically range from 3–4 inches. The spider's abdomen, carapace, and legs have the same basic coloration, though the legs typically have brightly colored rings. The carapace has a star-shaped pattern, with a fishbone pattern present on the abdomen. The eyes are clustered together on a raised part of the carapace (in common with all tarantulas). The body is covered with short hairs, with longer hair present on the legs.
There are currently 4 known colour variants of Pterinochilus murinus:
TCF - Typical Colour Form, UMV - Usambara Mountain Variant, RCF - Red Colour Form, DCF - Dark Colour Form.
These colour variants are found in different geographical locations, and the colouration is thought to be related to the type of soil present where each variant lives.
The Orange Baboon spider is found in Angola, as well as Central, Southern, and Eastern Africa. The species has also been recorded on the island of Zanzibar.
Like most old world tarantulas, the Orange Baboon spider digs a burrow, or uses a burrow that has been abandoned. They lay silk threads on the entrance to feel vibrations from other animals. Also, it has lots of hairs on it that detect motion in the air. The Orange Baboon spider has no urticating hairs, and is very defensive. It also is not a good choice for pet owners that have recently started, and has a painful and venomous bite.
These spiders are not common in pet stores but are very popular in the pet trade. They need a 5- to 10-gallon tank. These spiders build a tunnel shaped web and need 10 to 20 cm of bedding. Feed them crickets, cockroaches, and grasshoppers. Though they can kill small vertebrates (mice, small lizards, birds, snakes). Overfeeding can cause a tarantula's organs to not develop properly, thus cutting short its life. It is not recommended that this species be fed beetles and beetle larvae (superworms, mealworms, etc.)
These spiders are attractive but are normally very aggressive and have one of the worst bites of all tarantula species, having been known to have a bite more painful than that of a rattlesnake. Although their venom may not kill a human, it is advised to avoid handling this species.
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- Platnick, Norman I. (2009): The world spider catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History.