Tiger Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria Tigrinawesseli)
The Tiger Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria Tigrinawesseli) is a unique parachute spider that inhabits trees, plants and bushes. Commonly found in the Eastern Ghats of India, this spider features a light greyish hue and has morphologically similar traits as the Salem Ornamental.
Unlike many other Indian tarantulas, the Tiger Ornamental has a strikingly beautiful pair of legs. While the first two pairs are yellowish in color, the fourth pair has a slight bluish-grey tinge to it. Like their legs and body, the femurs of these spiders are equally attractive. With a black band that medially ends with a narrow, yellowish line, their femurs are spectacular to say the least.
The Tiger Ornamental is often touted as pokie, and like the other species of their family, they often hide themselves in the hollows of trees and along the cracks and crevices of rocks. Pokies do not frequent human habitations, and if you do happen to chance upon them, they’ll immediately scurry to their hiding spots. Being old world species, these do not have urticating hair.
It goes without mention that Pokies are defensive, and their bite, if not fatal, can lead to immense pain. The usual symptoms from their bite range from mild pain, stiffness around the affected area, and nausea. Fortunately, most of us aren’t really allergic to pokie bites and although the pain lasts for a while, it can be cured with proper medication.
Pokies are generally found in the Eastern Ghats of India, and certain parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Preferred natural habitat
The Tiger Ornamental thrives in moderately dry and arid areas. This explains their origin in the dry parts of Eastern Ghats. Ideally, they’d survive in a temperature that averages between 25 degree Celsius and 40 degree Celsius.
Preferred food in the wild
Like many other tarantulas, the pokies too hide behind the crevices to trap and devour their prey. In the wild, they prey upon cockroaches, crickets and smaller spiders.
Tiger Ornamentals are pretty fast and defensive, but they also tend to be quiet shy. When you do spot a pokie, you’d find them running and hiding instead of standing up and fighting. The only time they tend to be aggressive is while they’re trying to catch a prey. Pokies demand respect. So if you manage to be respectful, they won’t harm you at all.
Feeding as a pet
If you own a pokie as your pet, try feeding them small crickets. Once they start growing up, try introducing adult crickets and roaches. The roaches should be around one to three inches.
In case of water, try attaching a small vessel (with water) to the case where you’ve kept your spider-lings. Since Tiger ornamentals are voracious eaters, you can also try experimenting with their food. So if you’ve been feeding them roaches and crickets for some time, try introducing geckos, once in a while.
Life span both male and female
Both male and female pokies have a lifespan of 10+ years.
Pet enclosure type
Since pokies are arboreal tarantulas, you should ideally keep them in an enclosed vial that has quite a few twigs. These twigs will let your spiderling climb around and move freely. Once they grow up and reach around 2-4 inches, start housing them in a permanent enclosure. For their maximum comfort, add a short vertical branch/cork so that they get to climb on it. Additionally, their enclosure should be tall and long. You can also use round critter cages to keep them safe.
Pet enclosure habitat layout
You can add one inch of substrate in a small cup for baby spiders. Similarly, try adding the two inch variants for the sub-adult/adult species. You can make a concoction of peat moss, coconut fiber, sand and dirt to make the layout stronger.
Mating / reproducing
In order to mate pokies, you will have keep your male spider in an all-male vial and then slowly introduce him to the female in a new vial. Let them co-habit for a week after which you can remove the male. While mating, the temperature of your tank should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. After a week, you can soak the tank and spray it once a week. Follow this up by increasing the temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. After around three months, you will find the pokie webbing a retreat and producing an eggsack.
Pokies tend to grow pretty fast. Within just one year, an average Tiger Ornamental will attain a leg length of around three inches. Over the next couple of months, they will reach a leg length of around 7.62 inches.