Mike's Basic Tarantula
A Basic Site for the Tarantula enthusiast
Hysterocrates gigas
Common name: Cameroon Red
Indigenous: Cameroon
Habitat: Cameroon has a tropical climate, humid in the south but increasingly dry to the north. On the coast the average annual rainfall is about 4,060 mm (about 160 in). On the exposed slopes of the Cameroon Mountains in the west, rainfall is almost constant and sometimes reaches 10,160 mm (400 in) a year. In the semiarid northwest annual rainfall averages about 380 mm (about 15 in). A dry season in the north lasts from October to April. The average temperature in the south is 25° C (77° F), on the plateau it is 21° C (70° F), and in the north it is 32° C (90° F).
Enclosure: This is a obligate burrower, therefore an adult needs eight inches (20.32cm) of substrate to burrow.
Substrate: I use three inches of substrate in vial, deli cup  for spiderlings, and eight inches (20.32cm) in a terrarium for sub-adult to adult. (I use a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, coconut fiber and dirt for firmness, as the substrate).
Retreat/Hide: This species doesn't need a hide, it will make its own burrow. When I change the substrate, I start a two inch (5.08cm) hole for burrowing in the corner of the enclosure.
Food Consumption: I first fed spiderlings fruit flies, than when she reached 1/2" I introduced baby crickets. Now I give my adult Cameroon Red two (2) - one-inch (2.54cm) B. dubia roaches or seven (7) adult crickets weekly.  This species is a good eater.
Water Requirements: I keep a water dish in the tank. I have never seen mine drink. I keep the substrate in the terrarium dry. Every four months I wet one side of the substrate, than allow it to dry out.
Growth Rate: The growth rate of this species is fast. I purchased this tarantula as a spiderling of 1/2" (1.27cm) in size. After the first year she had grown to three inch (3"). With constant feeding and with temperatures in the low to mid 80's, it reached a size of four inches (10.16cm) within two years.
Adult Size: I read that they get eight inches (20.32cm) leg length. My girl is a solid six inches (15.24cm).
Temperament: Because of their defensive nature, they aren't the best species to handle. If approached they will usually go into a defensive posture and stridulate.
Comments: This is a pet hole. You will very seldom see this species. I don't allow my obligate burrowers to gorge themselves, by doing so they stay at the mouth of their burrow waiting for prey. This allows me to see their natural behavior of stalking and get a glimpse of my tarantula.  This is a manageable OW species. Read: Handling OW Tarantulas.

This is a unique species. It is truly a communal tarantula. I have raised three 1/2" (1.27cm) spiderlings together and haven't lost one. They share the same burrow, eat their meals together, and seem to enjoy each other company. I have established several different species in a communal setup, and they seem to tolerate each other, but the Hysterocrates gigas interact with one another.

The H. gigas has also been videoed swimming and submerged in water. It is reported that they will catch fish from the water. I have a fifty-five (55) gallon aquarium that I will use for this experiment. I plan on using three-forth (3/4) of the tank for twelve inches (30.48cm) of substrate and the other one-forth
for a pond with fish. I will landscape the enclosure with live plants and rocks to simulate a natural environment that I may observe whether the swimming and fishing behavior is true and natural.
Can't you tell that I love this hobby!
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