Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula (Idiothele mira): Full Guide

The blue foot baboon tarantula (Idiothele mira) is an Old World terrestrial spider that is native to South Africa. Interestingly, this species is one of only a few true trapdoor tarantulas.

Their color pattern is primarily comprised of black and gold, and they have a distinctive “starburst” pattern on their carapace and have striking electric blue “toes” (tarsi and metatarsi), which makes them extremely popular amongst hobbyists.

The blue foot baboon is an excellent choice for any arachnid enthusiasts who may be looking into getting their first Old World tarantula. If you’re considering adding this beautiful spider to your collection, here’s everything you need to know!

Quengsalinas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula Care Sheet

Species NameIdiothele mira
Family NameTheraphosidae
Common NameBlue Foot Baboon Tarantula
CategoryOld World
TypeFossorial, Trap-Door
Native LocationSouth Africa
Body Length2 inches
Leg Span4 – 5 inches
Growth SpeedFast
Urticating HairsNo
DietInsects: Primarily Crickets and Roaches
Temperature79-82°F (Summer), 72-75°F (Winter)
Humidity75-85% (Summer), 65-75% (Winter)
LifespanFemales: 10 to 12 years/ Males: 2 to 3 years
Experience LevelIntermediate

Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula Overview

As mentioned above, the Idiothele mira earned its common name from its stunning blue toes. However, this spider is also known as the “trap-door tarantula.” This is because they are one of the few true trapdoor tarantulas. A trapdoor tarantula is one that lives in a silk-lined burrow with a hinged cover that acts as a “trap door.” When the Idiothele mira senses the vibrations of their prey, they quickly spring out of their burrow to grab them and pull them in.

The blue foot baboon tends to be more docile than other Baboon spiders, but if they feel threatened and have nowhere to hide, they may become very skittish or assume a threat posture. Not much scientific research has been conducted on their venom, but it is likely painful, as is the case with most Old World species.

Appearance

The blue foot baboon is an absolutely amazing tarantula. In fact, the name Idiothele mira originates from the Latin word “mirus” which means wonderful. This is in reference to its colorful blue toes, which have made it a popular choice amongst hobbyists. 

This spider is wonderful indeed. Its body contains hues of brown and gray with a mesmerizing black and gold carapace. Their carapace has a beautiful black “starburst” pattern.

While they have a stunning appearance, they’re quite small for an Old World tarantula, with females having a maximum body length of about 5 inches. As is true of other arachnids, females are much larger than males.

Price

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula is an exotic species. Spiderlings of the species cost around $70-90. You can expect to pay around $200-300 for an adult female.

As always, be sure to buy from a reputable source that sells captive-bred spiders.

Behavior and Temperament

Since this is a fossorial species, they like to spend a lot of their time burrowed. It is important to provide them with lots of quality substrate to ensure that they can follow their natural burrowing instincts.

You can expect to see them mostly at feeding time when they come out of their burrow to catch their prey. However, watching them spring into action is well worth the wait!

Since they are an Old World tarantula, they are more defensive than New World species. However, they are also considerably more docile than other Old World species.

They tend to be skittish at first, opting to flee when they feel threatened. However, if they are provoked and have nowhere to go, they will take a defensive posture (and may even bite).

They may not be the best fit for a beginner. However, because of their relatively docile temperament, they would make a great first Old World tarantula for someone who has a bit of experience with more docile New World species.

Do note though that they spend a lot of time in their burrow. As such, they’re not the best display spiders.

Caring for a Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula

Quengsalinas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Temperature and Humidity

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula comes from subtropical terrain. Because their natural habitat is in the southern hemisphere, their summer and winter months are opposite of what is typical in North America or Europe. Their typical summer months are October-April and their winter months are May-September.

This species is accustomed to temperatures of 79-82°F with 75-85% humidity in the summer and temperatures of 72-75°F with 65-75% humidity in the winter.

If you keep the temperature in their enclosure in the 70 to 85 °F range with humidity around 70% they will be more than satisfied.

Keep in mind that enclosures with high humidity are vulnerable to mold and parasites. You can combat this by making sure your enclosure has proper ventilation.

Substrate

Since the Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula is fossorial and spends so much time burrowed, giving them enough substrate to burrow is critical.

It is best to base the amount of substrate in their enclosure on their size. For the BFBT, it is best to have a substrate depth that is (at minimum) two times the size of their span width. This will give them enough space to create their burrow.

One possible substrate for these tarantulas is a coco fiber and peat moss mixture.

Tank

Like their substrate, tank size is best determined by the size of your tarantula. However, the ideal minimum size is at least a 12”x12”x12” tank. It is important to keep in mind that most of the tank’s height should be filled in with substrate so that they have adequate burrowing room.

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula typically doesn’t require much tank decoration. If you choose to decorate their tank, it is likely they will end up rearranging it in their burrowing process. 

Feeding

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula should eat a diet consisting of insects.

Spiderlings should be fed fruit flies approximately twice a week. Once the tarantula reaches a size of half an inch, you can introduce baby crickets into their diet.

For juveniles, you can feed a medium-sized prey item approximately once a week.

Adults can eat one large prey item (such as a roach) every four to six weeks.

The insects that you feed to your spider should be captive-bred and not wild-caught to prevent the spread of parasites.

Keep in mind that the amount of food your spider needs can vary. Keep an eye on the size of their abdomen to see if you’re over or underfeeding them.

An important thing to note is that you should stop feeding them when they’re in pre-molt. Furthermore, make sure that you do not feed them right after they finish a molt because they need time for their fangs to harden.

Furthermore, you should ensure to remove uneaten food within 24 hours to prevent mold growth.

Watering

A water dish should be fine for keeping your blue foot baboon hydrated. These spiders tend to prefer dryer soil, so make sure that you do not over-moisturize the substrate.

Be sure to keep an eye on your water dish though; like other tank decors, they may move this or turn it over in its burrowing process. Be sure to refill it when you find it empty so that your eight-legged friend always has plenty of water available to drink.

Social

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula is not a social species and cannot be housed communally. They can be quite territorial and communal housing can easily lead to cannibalism. Make sure that you house them solitarily to keep them safe.

Health and Lifespan

The Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years for females and 2 to 3 years for males.

They’re relatively easy to keep healthy. The biggest threats they have in captivity are mold, bacteria, and parasites. You can prevent mold and bacteria from growing by removing uneaten food and ensuring that they have ample ventilation in their enclosure. Parasites can be prevented by feeding them exclusively high-quality captive-bred feeder insects.

Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula Facts

  • The Idiothele mira was first described in 2010
  • They’re native to Ndumo and the Tembe Elephant Game Reserves
  • Females have 25 to 45 spiderlings in their egg sacs, considerably less than some other species

Final Thoughts: Is the Blue Foot Baboon Tarantula right for you?

This gorgeous tarantula is a wonderful addition to any hobbyist’s collection. Again, the blue foot baboon is not necessarily suited for complete beginners who have never cared for a big spider before. For beginners, it’s best to start with a docile species such as the Greenbottle Blue or the Arizona Blonde.

However, for someone with a bit of experience in the hobby, this spider would be an excellent contender for someone who’s considering delving into Old World species.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to start caring for these magnificent spiders!

Jesse A.