Mike's Basic Tarantula
A Basic Site for the Tarantula enthusiast
Stromatopelma calcaetum
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Common name: Feathered leg Baboon
Indigenous: West Africa
Habitat: It is generally hot year round in West Africa with average temperature hovering around 85 Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) during the day. The dry season in West Africa generally falls around the end of October - March. Closer to the coast it is always a little more humid even in the dry months, but it can get extremely hot, especially at the end of the dry season in March/April. The rainy season in West Africa generally falls from the end of April - July on the coastal areas with a second shorter rainy season in September/October. Further inland toward the desert, there's one rainy season and it tends to fall from July - September.
Temp/humidity: I keep the temperature between 78°-82°F (25.5°-27.8°C) and the humidity at 60%-70%. The substrate in the terrarium is kept more on the dry side and monthly I wet the substrate, then allow it to dry out completely.
Enclosure: This is an arboreal tarantula. As spiderling or juvenile, I put a twig in  the vial so it may climb , but they normally spend most of the time webbed in at the base of the twigs. When they get between three and four inches (7.76cm-10.16cm), I housed them in their permanent enclosures. They should be given a hollow vertical branch or cork to climb into. Their enclosure should be vertical. I have observed that, if the terrarium is decorated with plants, live or artificial, it will encourage the tarantula to venture out of its hide periodically.
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: This species needs a vertical barreled cork bark leaned against the cage as a hide, and it uses the substrate in the webbing as a camouflage
Food Consumption: I introduced one-forth inch (.635cm) baby crickets to the spiderlings. Now I give my Feathered leg Baboon two (2) -one inch (2.54cm). B. dubia roaches or five (5) adult crickets weekly. This species is a good eater, but normally waits until its dark before coming out to eat. For variety, I give my girl one (1) house gecko every six (6) months. It appears that from the strategy it uses to catch a lizard, in the wild, lizards are a normal part of their diet.
Water Requirements: I glued a small bottle cap to the bark that is leaning against the cage for water and I rarely mist the cage.
Growth Rate: This is a fast growing tarantula. I bought her at one inch (2.54cm). The first year she attained a leg length of three inches (7.76cm).
Adult Size: I read that this tarantula can reach a leg length of seven inches (17.78cm). My girl is a relaxed six inches (15.24cm).
Temperament: This is a very fast moving spider. This spider is consider as a defensive tarantula, and will bite if provoked. It has never given me a threat pose, because I haven't given it a reason to.
Comments: This is basically a seclude species and needs a hide to be stress free. Periodically it will become visible and stay out for days. If not given the proper hide, it will web up its enclosure, but this process take a while and it will hover up in a corner of the cage. It will eventually web a hammock, settle in and become more visible, but the process looks stressful on the spider.
As an introduction to this Genus, I suggest you get a large Avicularia specie such as Avicularia braunshauseni. This specie will give you an experience with a large fast moving arboreal without the potent toxin.
This is a robust, African arboreal species and as an adult it is white with grey markings, making it appears ghostly looking. 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.