Togo Starburst Baboon Tarantula (Heteroscrodra Maculate)
The Togo Starburst baboon tarantula (Heteroscrodra maculate) is a sturdy and unique looking spider. Due to not having any irritating hairs on its abdomen or legs; this makes it an old world spider. This means it relies on its nasty venomous bite as a defence. This species can be found hiding in the nooks and crannies of trees. As spiderlings they tend to spend more time on the ground, but seek higher ground as they approach maturity.
Depending on who you ask; the jury is out on the overall opinion of this tarantula. Some would say this is their absolute favourite species, others will say it is skitterish and generally cranky and aggressive.
But all can agree on its distinct and beautiful markings. You would be hard pushed to spot this tarantula against a tree. Its colouration allows for perfect camouflage. A ghostly grey base with dark spots or stripes or even starburst markings.
This little beauty hails from West Africa, being found in Ghana and in some areas of Toga, hence the name. They are an average sized tarantula growing to around 5 inches, some a little more, some a little less. Due to having thick chunky back legs; this has led some to believe that they belong to the baboon species of tarantulas. Even though their extended name suggests this; it is not counted as such.
The Toga Starburst tarantula is a species that is best to be observed from a safe distance and not attempted to be held. It will most likely not tolerate even an attempt. They are lightening fast and may end up hurting themselves in the process if spooked. Due to the nature of its aggression and nasty bite this is not recommended for beginners at all.
Tropical areas of Toga
This tarantula has a very healthy appetite. It will munch on anything smaller than itself and even the occasional small gecko. As a pet it is important not to appease your tarantula too much as this will lead to too much weight gain.
Like many tarantula species; the male lives significantly a shorter life than the female, averaging around four years. The female can stretch out to around 14.
There has been much discussion around the breeding of this species. Even though they are a generally defensive and unfriendly; they tend to breed fairly easily. Even though you will want to keep a close eye on the proceedings; it is important not to make yourself known or disturb the ritual. If the female picks up any sign of your presence then she will react aggressively and possibly in turn this will lead to a death sentence for the male.
Preferring to nest in trees and forestation, this species would be happy with a vertical enclosure with branches and leaves so it can comfortably hide away.
As a whole; tarantulas are notorious for being able to escape easily, so whatever enclosure you decide to use, make sure the opening is totally escape proof. Get creative with ideas of things that your eight legged baby can crawl and climb on. This will reduce the tarantula’s stress levels.
This species of tarantula is considered to be a slow grower and will take longer to reach maturity than many other species of tarantula
The Togo Starburst tarantula has environmental needs that need to be met in order to keep it healthy. The temperature needs to be changed during the day and the evening. Around 28 degrees during the day and 24 degrees during the evening. This will help to simulate their natural environment. During the day they would hide from the scorching sun within a log or a hollow within a tree.
This tarantula can be quite cantankerous and grouchy. It will not appreciate any attempt to handle it. It will meet these attempts with either shooting across the room at lightning speed, throwing up the threat posture or giving its owner a nasty bite.
It has been recommended to make sure before any attempt of breeding takes place that the female has been well fed and raise the humidity to simulate the dry season. If successful the female will disappear into her hidey-hole and attach the egg sac to the wall. At a maximum there should be around 200 babies.