It’s time to dip our toes into the exciting world of tarantulas! And as I’m the person writing this, I will be starting with one of my personal faves, the orange baboon tarantula. Look how beautiful it is!
Quick Spider Facts
Latin name: Pterinochilus murinus
It lives in several areas of Africa, being most common in Angola. Its colour varies with location, as it is intended to camouflage it against soil.
Its body size varies from 7 to 15 cm, with females much larger than males.
This spider is highly aggressive and quick to bite. While its bite is not a health hazard, it is extremely painful.
Tarantulas are often classed into two categories: ‘new world’, from the Americas, and ‘old world’ from elsewhere. While new world tarantulas tend to be drab in colour and calm in disposition, old world tarantulas are much more colourful and aggressive. This is likely because new world tarantulas possess urticating hairs, bristles on the abdomen which they can shoot at a threat. These cause irritation and act as a deterrant, without forcing the spider to risk giving a bite. Old world tarantulas did not develop these, so their bite is their main line of defence.
P. murinus is an excellent example of an old world species, having earned itself the pet trade nickname of ‘Orange Bitey Thing’ (a derivative of its acronym OBT). Yes, despite its angry angry nature, it is very popular among exotic pet enthusiasts because of its beauty and its feisty personality.
As with the Brazilian wandering spider, the orange baboon tarantula has an obvious threat display with raised pedipalps and front legs and an upright posture. Unlike the wanderer, P. murinus uses this sparingly, preferring most of the time to simply bite whatever has angered it. Unsurprisingly, handling this spider is not recommended.
tldr look but don’t touch