Socotra Island Blue Baboon Tarantula (Monocentropus Balfouri)
The Socotra Island Baboon Tarantula (Monocentropus Balfouri) is an absolutely stunning old world tarantula. As their name suggests they are native to the island (Socotra) just off the coast of Africa. Due to its spectacular look it is not surprise that enthusiasts are so keen to get a hold of this beauty. The exact colouration can differ very slightly, but the legs are generally a striking electric blue with a sandy coloured body. The light coloured hairs covering their body gives them a look as if they would be satin soft to the touch. They are mid range size tarantula with the females after reaching maturity reaching within 4-5 inches in size.
This is one of the few species of spider where the female does not dwarf the male in size and weight. This is not the only thing that separates this tarantula from others. They are known to live communally and to be very good parents to their young.
Tropical desert with medium to low rainfall.
This stunning species is fairly new to the pet trade; however it is reported they have a very good appetite. Normal foods including, crickets, fruit flies, meal worms, cockroaches.
Due to this species being relatively new to the pet trade; the jury is still out on exactly the life span. It is rumoured amongst enthusiasts that the female can live to around 20 years of age.
Unlike a majority of tarantula species the Socotra baboon spider is totally unique. They are communal spiders so you do not need to be waiting with baited breath hoping the female does not turn the male into a post mating meal. A female and male put into an enclosure together (as long as there is enough space) will not only co-exist happily together, but there is an excellent chance of a successful mating.
This beautiful species is a terrestrial tarantula so it does not require much in the way of height. So an enclosure that is long will be sufficient.
Considering the Socotra is a keen burrower; a nice deep later of substrate is needed. It is recommended to use a brand of substrate that will not become sticky and attach itself to the tarantula as it burrows. This will allow this exotic beauty to make tunnels throughout. If you can get imaginative and creative with decorations it is possible this tarantula will feel safe and secure with the ornaments alone and will not feel the need to burrow. Unlike most tarantula species you will not have to be too concerned with its attempt to make a break for it. They are more likely to head for one of their burrows or hide outs if startled.
The Socotra tarantula has a mid range development rate. As they are fairly new to the pet trade world this area is still very much grey. However word from enthusiasts who are lucky enough to own this gorgeous species is that they have a mid range development; 2 inches within a year.
Temperature and humidity is a topic still heatedly debated among enthusiasts. Some believe a high level of humidity is required, while others claim theirs thrived in a very low level of humidity, around 5%. So far it is reported that the Socotra tarantula is pretty hard wearing and not overly sensitive to temperature. It seems however that 26-27 degrees centigrade is a good number to work with.
This is another area in which this species continues to surprise. Baboon species are commonly known to be aggressive and sometimes very much so. Considering it is a baboon tarantula its temperament is pretty docile. Unlike other baboon tarantulas it will not tend to throw up a threat posture for its owner simply walking past the enclosure. It is shocking to note that is the female that is generally more chilled out than the males. Also it is the young tarantulas that have the most attitude, mellowing out as they get older. If you catch your exotic beauty on a bad day you may be perplexed to find it making a barking noise at you. It is strongly recommended that this is a tarantula to be enjoyed at a distance and not to be handled. Very little is known or been reported on the severity of the effects of the bite.
If mating has been successful then you will witness something beautiful and something very rarely seen with tarantulas. There is no need to remove the egg sac from the female and artificially incubate it as she will do this herself. Her demeanor changes to the extent that she will carry the egg sac and protect it. When the slings hatch they will stay with their mother. Any food given to her she will kill then wrap in silk so her young can have their fill. One enthusiast has reported giving one cricket to the female, she would wrap it in silk and give it to her young, then taking a second and eating it herself.