Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula (Harpactira pulchripes) Guide

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula is an Old World terrestrial species found around the town of Makhanda, Previously known as Grahamstown in South Africa.

This spider has a fantastic color mix with classic yellow, blue, orange, and brown tones. The GBLBT has a peaceful and laid-back attitude, something that is rare to find among baboon species, which makes it really popular among hobbyists who want to try their hand at raising baboon tarantulas.

If you’re thinking about getting one of these beautiful specimens, here’s everything you need to know about them. 

The LionHeart Experience, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Species NameHarpactira pulchripes
Family NameTheraphosidae
Common NamesGolden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula
CategoryOld World
TypeTerrestrial burrower
Native LocationSouth Africa
Body length2.5 inches (~7 cm)
Leg SpanFemales 5 to 6 inches (~13 to 15 cm) / Males 3 inches (~8 cm)
Growth SpeedMedium
Urticating HairsNo
SocialSolitary
DietInsects: primarily crickets and roaches
Temperature70 to 75 degrees °F
Humidity60 to 70%
LifespanFemale: 10 to 12 years / Male: 2 to 3 years
Experience requiredIntermediate
Minimum tank size3 to 5 gallons. Horizontal space > Vertical space

Golden Blue Leg Baboon Overview

The Harpactira pulchripes, better known as The Golden Blue Leg Baboon (GBLBT), is a terrestrial baboon tarantula.

Contrary to most baboon spiders, which tend to be quite defensive, the GBLBT is known to be more docile. In addition, it’s known for having a beautiful coloration, and it tends to stay on display most of the day on her web.

At the same time, it’s still a baboon tarantula, so its venom can be quite significant. It’s not recommended as a tarantula for beginners.

However, if you’re proficient with basic tarantula care, or have had one or two New World Tarantulas in the past, it becomes a good choice for keepers trying to initiate with Old World Tarantulas since they require little maintenance and are less defensive than some of the other Baboon species.

Appearance & Variations

Source: Reddit

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon has been a stunner since her discovery. She has a beautiful blue metallic tone on the distal two-thirds of her legs. The GBLBT also displays a yellow almost-golden coloration over her cephalothorax and abdomen. This golden yellow is mixed with the typical dark markings you’d see in baboon tarantulas.

Some specimens have orange coloration and darker legs instead of the yellow tone, especially at earlier stages right before a molt; however, some keep them into adulthood.

These spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism. Males are usually smaller and not as blue as females. Males typically grow to a maximum size of about 3 inches, whereas females can reach double that size at 6 inches.

Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula Price

The price for a Golden Blue Leg Baboon varies depending on sex, but it’s on the cheap side compared to most spiders.

An unsexed or adult male can be bought for as little as $50 to $60.

Meanwhile, females can be purchased for $100 to $200 in some cases due to their size, more stunning coloration, and longevity. 

Behavior and Temperament

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon is a terrestrial burrower. She likes to stay hidden inside her burrow most of the time during her early stages of development.

Once she grows into adulthood, she starts webbing over her burrow and tends to spend more time in the open. Some adults will even spend all their time outside their burrows, preferring to remain in the webs instead; it’s perfectly natural.

The GBLBT is mostly described as a laid-back and quite visible tarantula, which is very unlikely when compared to other baboon species. This, combined with the fact that they’re a very colorful species makes them excellent as show spiders.

However, she may be relatively peaceful, but she’s not afraid to assume a threat posture if she feels cornered.

In these cases, your best course of action is to retreat as soon as possible; the GBLBT’s venom is very painful, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Caring for a Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula

Temperature and Humidity

The GBLBT comes from South Africa. Her natural habitat is in arid places with many dry and sunny days over the year, in areas where the temperature lies between 72°F and 82°F degrees.

Caretakers should sustain room temperatures between 70F to 75F, with humidity between 60% and 70%. Ventilation is also important.

Substrate

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula is a burrower, so it needs enough substrate to burrow in order to feel comfortable.

The GBLBT’s spiderlings should have at least two inches of substrate. Juveniles and adults need at least 4 inches of substrate. A mixture containing coconut fiber, peat moss, or topsoil will be great for them, it’s soft enough to burrow, and is good at retaining moisture.

Tank

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon needs a fossorial setup, so a 3 – 5 gallons tank should be enough for the substrate as long as their terrarium emphasizes horizontal over vertical space.

The GBLBT needs places to hide, so artificial plants and a piece of cork bark are a must.

Adding moss, rocks, and artificial leaves will also help as the GBLBT will use these as construction material for her webs. 

Watering

The GBLBT is used to dry environments, so keeping her hydrated is no challenging task. Keep the water dish away from the webs and refill it frequently with fresh water.

Social

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon is not a social creature. There were attempts to house them communally, but those ended in disaster. If you want to keep your spider safe, make sure that you house them solitarily.

Molting

Your spider will molt quite frequently when they’re young. They have to do this because their exoskeleton is not flexible and can not grow as the spider gets bigger. As a result, they shed it to make way for a bigger one.

If your tarantula stops eating, they’re most likely in pre-molt and will start the molting process soon. While they’re molting, do not disturb them.

Once the molting has been completed, do not feed them for several days as they will need time for their fangs to harden.

Feeding your Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula is known for her voracious appetite.

Spiderlings can be fed with flightless fruit flies, chopped pieces of mealworms, or cricket legs twice a week.

They’ll become more independent once they’re juveniles, and will be able to eat live insects. At that point, one to two medium crickets a week is enough to keep them happy.

Once they mature into full-grown adults, three to five crickets every seven to ten days will be enough.

The abdomen of a GBLBT won’t turn plump when they’re overfed. Instead, they exhibit lethargic behavior. So make sure to look out for these signs and reduce portions to avoid overfeeding them.

Lifespan & Health

The Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula has a relatively long lifespan. Females can live for up to 12 years, while males typically live for 2 to 3 years.

In captivity, it’s quite easy to get them to live out their full lifespan. The only threats to them are falls, bacterial growth, parasites, and spider mites.

To avoid disastrous falls, make sure that their enclosure is not too tall and that you do not handle your GBLBT.

To avoid bacterial growth and spider mites, make sure that you remove uneaten food, keep their enclosure clean, and have adequate ventilation.

To prevent parasites, make sure that you only feed them captive-bred insects.

Fun Facts about the Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula

  • When the Harpactira pulchripes was discovered and imported to the U.S in 2012/2013, their price was over $500.
  • If you’re a hobbyist in South Africa, the local government prohibits you from having a specimen of this spider.
  • Females have been spotted with older slings still congregating around them. This discovery made many speculate about its viability as a communal spider. After many failed attempts, the idea was dismissed as a failure.

Final words: Is the Golden Blue Baboon Tarantula right for you?

The Golden Blue Baboon Tarantula lies at the top of favorite spiders for most Old World keepers. Due to their relatively docile nature, they’re a great introduction to Baboon spiders for people who already have some experience with docile New World species.

Now that they’re bred worldwide and their price has decreased, there’s no reason to forego having one in your collection.

Jesse A.