Mike's Basic Tarantula
A Basic Site for the Tarantula enthusiast
Poecilotheria smithi
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Common name: Yellow Backed Ornamental
Indigenous: Sri Lanka
Habitat: Because Sri Lanka is situated near the equator, the climate is generally hot and humid. The hill and mountain areas, however, are cool, and the humidity is relatively lower in the dry zone. The average annual temperature is about 32°C (about 90°F) in the lowlands and about 21°C (about 70°F) in the higher mountainous regions.
Precipitation is characterized by wide seasonal and regional variations. The monsoon season in the southwest is from May to November, at which time the rainfall is exceptionally heavy. In the northern dry zone the main precipitation of about 1,020 mm (about 40 in) annually occurs during the monsoon season, which begins in the first week of November
Temp/humidity: This species live in the lowland areas of Sri Lanka, therefore I keep the temperature between 78°-82° (25.5°-27.8°C) and the humidity at 65%-75%. The substrate in the terrarium is kept miost; I mist once a week, and monthly I wet the substrate, than allow it to dry out completely.
Enclosure: This is a aboreal tarantula. As spiderling or juvenile, I put a twig in the vial so it may climb. When they get between three and four inches (7.76cm-10.16cm), I housed them in their permanent enclosures. They should be given a vertical branch or cork to climb upon. Their enclosure should be taller than longer. I use a round, vertical critter cage for their terrarium.
Substrate: Use one inch (2.54cm) of substrate in vial, deli cup  for spiderlings, and two inches (5.06cm) 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: A ten inch (25.4cm) vertical bark leaned against the cage.
Food Consumption: I introduced one-forth inch (.635cm) baby crickets to the spiderlings. Now I give my Yellow Backed Ornamental two (2) -one inch B. dubia roaches or five (5) adult crickets weekly.  This species is a excellent eater. For variety, I give my girl one (1) house gecko every six (6) months.
Water Requirements: I glued a small bottle cap to the bark that is leaning against the cage for water and I also mist.
Growth Rate: This is a fast growing tarantula. I bought her at one inch (2.54cm). The first year she attain a leg length of three inches (7.76cm).
Adult Size: I read that this tarantula can reach a leg length of seven (17.7cm8) inches. My girl is a relaxed five inches (12.7cm)
Temperament: This is a very fast moving spider. It is not what I would consider a defensive tarantula, but will probably bite if provoked. It has never given me a threat pose, but can be flighty.
Comments: As an introduction to this species, I suggest you get a large, Avicularia species. The species in the Avicularia Genus will give you an experience with a large fast moving arboreal without the potent toxin.
This Pokie species has a ghostly appearance with beautiful markings. The leg underside is a bright lemon yellow. It is reported that the toxin from this tarantula is stronger than most tarantulas. Because of its speed, and toxin, this species is not recommended as a beginner tarantula.