Gooty Sapphire Tarantula 101 [Poecilotheria Metallica Care Sheet]

The Gooty Sapphire Tarantula, also known by its scientific name, Poecilotheria Metallica, is among the most beautiful of all the many different species of tarantulas. It has intricate patterns and stunning blue, yellow, and sometimes white colorations. Because of this, the animal is highly desired among hobbyists and pet owners and is often considered the crown jewel of many tarantula collections.

However, while these spiders are definitely very beautiful, they’re not the most beginner-friendly tarantula. For that reason, it’s all the more important that you learn as much as you can about this magnificent animal before you decide that you’re ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of one.

That’s what this guide is aimed at. I will give you a complete overview of everything you need to know about this spider so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not you’re ready to get caught in the web and take care of one of these beautiful spiders. To do this, I’m going to go over everything you need to know, ranging from what these spiders eat, to what you need to properly house them. Let’s begin.

About the Gooty Sapphire Tarantula

A beautiful image of the poecilotheria metallica

There are 2 types of tarantulas: Old World and New World. The Old World tarantulas are the ones that are found in the “Old World”, which is Europe, Africa, and Asia. The New World tarantulas are those found in the Americas.

The Gooty Sapphire Tarantula was first found in India in 1899 near the town of “Gooty”, which is where the spider derives its name from. Because of this, it’s considered an Old World tarantula. Interestingly enough, the spider was lost for a very long time, only to be rediscovered as recently as 2001. It was rediscovered in Andhra Pradesh, far away from the location of its original discovery.

It is speculated that the spider’s native habitat is in Andhra Pradesh and that it was a stowaway on a cart or a ship and ended up in Gooty that way. That would explain why it was lost for such a long time. Unfortunately, much of the Gooty Sapphire Tarantula’s habitat is being destroyed which makes it a critically endangered species. Because of this, it’s illegal to remove it from its habitat and export it.

However, this does not mean that it’s illegal to buy them. Since they’re already kept in captivity in many other countries, such as the United States and Europe, they’re bred there and can be legally sold and bought.

The scientific name for this animal is Poecilotheria Metallica.

Are Gooty Sapphire Tarantulas poisonous?

Yes, the Gooty Sapphire Tarantula is poisonous. It’s one of the main reasons why these spiders are not very beginner-friendly tarantulas. Most tarantulas are not very dangerous, and can even be considered quite friendly, but the Metallica has relatively powerful venom.

Their venom is not lethal, there have been no recorded human deaths as a result of being bitten by one of these spiders. However, their venom can cause intense pain, and sweating, headache, stinging, cramping, or swelling. Also, in contrast to many other tarantula bites, the effects of their bites can sometimes be felt months later.

Luckily, most of their bites are dry (meaning they do not inject venom). Nevertheless, even the dry bites are no joke because they have formidable fangs. Their fangs can grow up to 3/4 of an inch in length and can inflict serious damage.

How much does the Gooty Sapphire Tarantula cost?

The Metallica used to be quite an expensive spider. In the past, a single spiderling could cost upwards of $500. Their high cost was mainly due to the fact that they were in such high demand combined with the fact that they were quite rare. However, breeders quickly realized that they could make a lot of profit by breeding these spiders and as a result, the supply has caught up with the demand. Because of this, these tarantulas are not all that expensive any more.

Nowadays, you can buy a Gooty Sapphire Tarantula spiderling for around $75 from a breeder. Females are generally more expensive than males because they have a longer lifespan.

How big does the Poecilotheria Metallica get?

A fully grown gooty sapphire tarantula

As spiderlings, they are around an inch in size. However, they grow fast. A fully grown female Gooty has a leg span of 6 to 8 inches which is quite large for a tarantula. They can also be quite heavy, fully grown, they can weigh as much as mice!

The males are quite a bit smaller and will usually have a significantly smaller leg span.

Lifespan

These tarantulas have a very long lifespan, especially the females. In rare cases, a female Metallica can live for up to 15 years in captivity but they usually live for up to 12 years. The males have a much shorter lifespan at around 4 years.

This is important to consider – if you’re going to get a Gooty you have to make sure that you’re capable of taking care of it for years.

Gooty Sapphire Tarantula care

Caring for one of these spiders is not the easiest thing in the world. While some tarantulas are relatively easy to care for, the Gooty is not one of them. They are relatively defensive, very fast, and pack potent venom. If you’re a beginner, it might be wise to take get some experience taking care of an easier tarantula first to get some experience under your belt. That being said, here’s what you need to know about caring for one of these beautiful spiders.

Feeding

The Gooty Sapphire is a carnivore. It doesn’t eat any plants and it has a diet that consists almost entirely of insects, mostly crickets, grasshoppers, moths, or mealworms. When they are small, make sure that you give them small insects, otherwise, they might not be able to eat them. Once they grow larger you can move on to larger insects.

Also, it’s important that you gut load the insects you feed them. Gut loading is the process of feeding the insects a nutritious diet with the intention of passing these nutrients to the spider.

Gooties like to catch their prey themselves, so it’s a good idea to give them live insects rather than dead ones. In fact, they might not even eat the insects if you offer them frozen or dead.

Once they’re fully grown they’re also capable of eating small mice, though this will naturally make more of a mess than when they’re eating insects.

How often should they be fed?

How often you should feed your Gooty Sapphire depends on their age, sex, and whether or not they’re molting/breeding. In general, you should feed your T around 1 or 2 gut loaded insects per week.

Some tarantula owners have a tendency to drop a huge amount of food in their cage at once. This is not a great idea. I’ve already said that tarantula like catching their own food, and if you drop a lot of prey animals into their enclosure at once it can get overwhelming. Also, they will not be able to eat everything at once and the food they can not eat will start rotting and will need to be removed. Therefore, it’s better to feed them smaller amounts more often.

Also, something quite important to note is that you should not try to feed your T for at least 5 days after molting. Their body, including their fangs, is extremely soft, tender, and sensitive after molting which means that they cannot use their fangs to eat. After 5 days you can try dropping a small insect in their enclosure to see if they’ll eat it. If not, remove the insect and try again a few days later. Tarantulas can go for a long time without food so you do not have to worry about them starving.

Drinking

The Gooty Sapphire can go a long time without food, but the same can not be said about water. They need to drink daily, so make sure that they always have access to a fresh source of water. Tarantulas can only drink water, so do not try to give them anything else. Ideally, you should change the water every day so that it does not get dirty.

Make sure that their water bowl is shallow so that they can not accidentally drown themselves in the water.

Housing

Something else to learn about before getting a Gooty is what kind of enclosure they need to thrive. Since these animals are from forests in India it’s best to imitate their natural habitat as closely as you can. Also, since these animals can grow quite large it’s essential that you give them an enclosure that’s large enough to house them.

However, while these spiders can grow to quite a large size, they do not need a huge enclosure. They might grow big, but tarantulas do not move around very much. They’re stationary a lot of the time to conserve energy. Therefore, a 10-gallon tank is more than enough for a Gooty Sapphire Tarantula. Height is more important than width and length in this case. The reason for this is that their enclosure will need to be tall enough to fit a tree trunk or tree hide. Since these are arboreal spiders, I highly recommend trying to simulate a tree in their enclosure. Take a look at this video to see what I mean:

Instead of focusing on having a large enclosure, it’s much more important to get the other things right, such as temperature, humidity, and decor.

Let’s go over each of these aspects.

Temperature

The Gooty Sapphire Tarantula thrives at a constant temperature of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to achieve this constant temperature, it’s essential that you use both a lamp and a heating strip.

The lamp should be on for 12 hours per day and should be turned off after those 12 hours in order to simulate the day-night cycle. If you do not do this, the spider can become quite confused. Also, since these spiders are nocturnal, they will not do a lot during the day and will usually only come out at night. Therefore, if you do not turn off the light for at least 12 hours a day, they will think it’s still daytime, and not be active at all. Incandescent bulbs are ideal for simulating the sunny conditions that this spider is used to in its native habitat.

The heating pad should always remain on otherwise you stand the risk of the temperature in the tarantula’s enclosure dropping too low.

Humidity

Other than temperature, humidity is another important aspect to take into consideration when housing a Poecelotheria Metallica. Once again, in order to get the perfect humidity, we should look at the spider’s natural habitat and simulate that as closely as we can.

In its natural environment, this tarantula lives in a place where the humidity is around 70-80% so you must have the same humidity in their enclosure. One thing to be careful of is that at such high humidity levels it’s very possible for bacteria and molds to start growing which is obviously not good. Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening, it’s essential that their tank has good ventilation.

Reaching the desired humidity level is different for everyone and highly depends on where you live. If you live in a place with high relative humidity it will be easier to achieve the desired humidity level than when you live in a place with low humidity. Some tips to increase the humidity levels is to use evaporation from a water bowl (make sure the bowl is shallow so the T doesn’t accidentally drown) and to use a water spray bottle to increase the humidity when it gets too low. Also, if you live in a low humidity climate, it might be needed to buy a small mister/humidifier.

To check the humidity levels, it’s useful to get a hygrometer which will allow you to measure the humidity in the air in their tank.

Substrate

The Gooty is not a burrowing spider, so you do not need a special substrate that allows them to burrow. However, you do need quite a lot of substrate. Around 2 thick is usually recommended.

The best substrate to go for is one that prevents bacterial growth. This is important since the humidity will be quite high, and if we do not have the right kind of substrate it becomes easier for fungus and molds to grow.

The best kind of substrate to go with is a mixture of coconut fiber, peat moss, sphagnum moss, and vermiculite. The coconut moss is great at preventing bacterial growth.

Decor

It’s up to you how you want to arrange their living space, but it’s always a good idea to take inspiration from others. To do this, you can take a look at YouTube videos such as the one I’ve linked above. You can make some truly stunning enclosures this way.

However, while you have quite a bit of freedom in deciding how you want to arrange their enclosure, it is important that you make sure that they have a retreat/hide. They absolutely need this, because, in nature, they spend a lot of time in their retreat. It’s where they feel safe and secure.

Additionally, it’s good to include some branches or twigs that allow them to climb if they so desire.

Handling the Gooty Sapphire Tarantula

handling the gooty sapphire tarantula is not recommended

The Gooty Sapphire is a very fast spider and is not that easy to handle. In fact, while some tarantulas are easy to handle and can easily crawl on your hand, this is not recommended with Gooty Sapphires. I’ve already touched upon the fact that these spiders are poisonous and that their bite can inflict some serious damage. On top of that, they’re quite easily spooked and can be provoked to bite.

There are videos out there of people handling the Gooty Sapphire, but personally, it’s not a risk I’d recommend you to take, especially if you’ve never handled a Metallica before. It’s better to admire the spider from a distance rather than letting it crawl on top of you. If you do decide to handle this spider, be very careful. Take note of their posturing and behavior. Do not make any sudden movements and do not breathe on them because this can provoke a painful bite.

 Molting

All tarantulas molt and this Blue Tarantula is no exception. Molting is the process of the T shedding their exoskeleton and growing a new one. The new exoskeleton is soft at the start and hardens over time. They are very vulnerable during this period because of how soft and sensitive their new exoskeleton is.

Young Gooty Sapphires will molt quite often because they’re still growing and need a bigger exoskeleton to accommodate their larger size. Once they’re fully grown, they will molt around once a year. These spiders usually molt laying on their back, so if you see them laying on their back when it’s time to molt, do not be alarmed and try not to disturb them.

Breeding Gooty Sapphire Tarantulas

The Gooty Sapphire only mates once per year and they’re not ready to mate until they’re 2 to 3 years of age. When the male is ready to mate, he will produce a sperm sack which he will carry with him until he finds a female. The females simply wait for the suitor to arrive. They typically mate in the summer.

If you want two of these spiders to mate, you should introduce them to one another in a small cage, forcing them to be together. But, be careful, female Gooty Sapphires are notorious for killing and eating males before they have a chance to mate.

One of the most important things to take care of before introducing the male and female is making sure that both are well-fed. A well-fed spider is much less likely to attack and much more likely to be willing to mate.

Once they have been introduced and the male has successfully mated with the female, the female spider will start to produce eggs in an egg sack. She will carry this egg sack on her back for 1 to 8 months, depending on the environment. During this time, the female needs to be fed more often because she needs more energy.

There can be up to 1000 eggs in this egg sac. Not all of them will turn into spiderlings, but the ones that do you can sell. They can go for quite a decent price. Nevertheless, if you’re aspiring to become a tarantula breeder it’s essential that you do a lot of research and planning and don’t go into it blindly.

Otherwise, if you do not plan it right, you might get stuck with many small spiders and no buyers.

Gooty Sapphire Tarantulas for sale

If you’re wondering where you can buy one of these beautiful blue tarantulas, your best bet is to go with a breeder. Here are some websites that sell Gooty Sapphires:

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