Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula (Stromatopelma calceatum) Guide

The Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula is an Old World arboreal species native to West Africa. They grow to a size of about 6 inches and are recognizable by their patterned brown body with lots of hairs.

This spider gets a bad reputation for being fast and dangerous. She’s a defensive spider with one of the most painful venoms among baboon tarantulas, which isn’t a small feat since baboons have strong venom in general.

However, its gorgeous and unique appearance makes it one of the most popular African species. If you’re an experienced hobbyist and you’re wondering if you should get one of these spiders, here’s everything you should know about them.


Species NameStromatopelma calceatum
Family NameTheraphosidae
Common NamesFeather Leg Baboon Tarantula
CategoryOld World
TypeArboreal
Native LocationWest Africa
Body Length2.4 inches (6 cm)
Leg Span6 inches (15 cm)
Growth SpeedFast
Urticating HairsNo
SocialSolitary
DietInsects: primarily crickets and roaches. Small rodents/lizards
Temperature78 to 84 degrees °F
Humidity60 to 70%
LifespanFemale: 12 to 15 years / Male: 3 to 4 years
Experience requiredAdvanced
Minimum tank size12″x12″x12″

Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula Overview

The Stromatopelma calceatum, as it has been called since 1998, has received the name Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula in the hobby.

She’s a stunning Old World arboreal tarantula with quick movements and strong venom that she uses to catch prey by surprise. Expert hobbyists want her for her beautiful furry legs and their fast movements; however, some will even want her for her short temper and the challenge that offers.

The FLBT is known for being very defensive, combine that with her strong venom and quick jump and you get all the reasons why only an advanced hobbyist should take the challenge of getting one.

Appearance and Variations

The stunning looks of an FLBT are very particular, so experienced hobbyists will often identify her just by looks.

Sporting a brown color with darker and lighter tones, her most identifying traits are the last two segments of her legs.

These segments, called the metatarsus and the tarsus, have thick manes of hair sprouting from both sides, creating a round feathery shape that gives the spider its name.

They exhibit sexual dimorphism, so males and females look different. Females are sandy-brown colored with cream-colored setae.

Males, smaller than females, will instead have gray bodies with darker marks on the pattern. They’ll get this distinct and beautiful look once they become adults since they’ll often look the same as females when they are spiderlings.

They generally top out at a size of about 6 inches.

Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula Price

Despite how difficult and dangerous it is to handle an FLBT, it’s a surprisingly cheap tarantula.

You can find spiderlings for around $30, while unsexed and males go for about $70.

Adult females sell for slightly over $100, so even if they’re only fit for the most experienced hobbyists, they’re not that hard to get!

Behavior and Temperament

Their temperament is where the Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula gets its reputation from.

The FLBT is a defensive and quick tarantula you should never drop your guard with. She has the bad habit of moving fast without warning, and she’s exceedingly good at climbing any tank’s vertical wall; this means you could have her onto you way before you even realize you did something wrong.

Don’t expect a threat posture from this spider to let you know you’re in trouble. They will bite if you provoke them. Also, don’t ever think that something that went flawlessly the first 100 times you’ve done will go the same way the 101st time.

Keep this mindset in your head, don’t forget to use tools every time you place food or handle anything else in the tank, and you should be alright.

Besides being a defensive tarantula, the FLBT is also pretty shy. She needs plenty of places to hide in order to feel safe and comfortable.

If she doesn’t have anything, she’ll often create a large web system to hide. Therefore, it is advisable to provide her with enough decoration, as we’ll see in the following segments.

Caring for a Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula

Temperature and Humidity

West Africa, home of the FLBT, is mostly high temperatures for the whole year, with an average of 85°F. It also has a long dry season, so these spiders aren’t used to high humidity.

The FLBT lives best in a tank at around 78°F to 84°F, with humidity between 60%-70%.

It’s important to provide them with enough ventilation as well to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

Substrate

The Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula, as it happens with some other arboreal spiders, is a burrower in her early stages of development.

She stops digging once she’s large enough to be comfortable in a tree; however, if she doesn’t have enough hiding places, she’ll still dig a small tunnel and create a large web inside to seclude herself from the world.

Around two to three inches of substrate should be enough for the spiderlings, as well as the adult if they ever need to dig. Mixtures of organic dirt with coconut fiber will do wonders for this species since they don’t need moisture.

Tank

The Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula, like all other arboreal spiders, spends most of her time in vertical positions.

Therefore, the enclosure should always be taller than long and deep. Adults are good with 12″x12″14″ tanks as long as all other conditions are met.

In this particular case, it is essential that the tank’s lid has a security lock to keep her from running out. It’s also recommended that the enclosure has a door on the side instead of on the top since these arboreal tarantulas have a tendency to climb to the top of their enclosure.

Provide a piece of cork bark or hollow tree trunk and place it vertically in the tank. This will give the FLBT a place to climb, and she’ll create her hide there.

She enjoys having enough places to hide; therefore, giving her artificial plants will make her feel safe. The best part is that the safer she feels in her enclosure, the more time she’ll spend on the outside, providing you with a fantastic sight!

Watering

The FLBT doesn’t like wet floors, so spraying the substrate once a month will be enough to keep her happy.

As for the water dish, you should place it somewhere you can access it quickly to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Place it on the wall next to the bark, superglue it into place, and refill it often.

Social

The Feather Leg Baboon is not a social species and should not be housed communally. In the wild, they only meet other members of their species when it’s time to mate, and even that often results in cannibalism.

They’re not social animals, so don’t feel bad when you house them solitarily, it’s what’s best for them.

Diet of a Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula

One of the best parts of owning an FLBT is watching her eat. She has a voracious appetite and is capable of eating a variety of different insects. In addition, watching her show off her fast movements to take down her prey is truly impressive.

Spiderlings should eat a small cricket or a flightless fruit fly twice a week. Younglings can have a medium cricket every four to seven days.

Adults need larger portions of food, known for eating two large B. dubia roaches or six large crickets every week.

She’ll mostly feed at night, so make sure to be around if you ever want to see the fireworks!

An important thing to note is that you do not feed them for several days after a molt. This is to ensure that their fangs have time to harden before they eat.

Fun Facts about the Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula

  • The Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula has switched between tarantula subfamilies and jumped from one name to another at least ten times before getting to where she is today.
  • The FLBT specie’s name “calceatum” has two meanings in Latin and Greek. It both means “having shoes” and “covered foot’s sole.”. This is, of course, thanks to the furry appearance of its legs, particularly its metatarsus and tarsus.
  • The female FLBT will attach her cocoon to one of the tank’s walls, as she would in nature using a tree.

Final words: Is the Feather Leg Baboon right for you?

The Feather Leg Baboon Tarantula is a challenge among challenges. Between tarantulas meant for expert hobbyists, this is often pointed out as the hardest one to keep.

If you’re experienced enough with them and feel up to the challenge, you can definitely consider getting one! However, if you’re new to the hobby, don’t make the mistake of starting out with this species. Instead, get your feet wet with one of the more friendly and docile species such as the Mexican Redknee, Antilles Pinktoe, or Arizona Blonde.

We hope this comprehensive overview gave you all the information you need to make the best choice for you.

Jesse A.