Cameroon Red Baboon
Spider (Hysterocrates gigas)
by Jeff Otworth
is a large African burrower indigenous to the West African
countries of Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea
and Zaire. It was first described by Pocock in 1897. This
tarantula is often commonly called the "tawny red"
baboon. This Tarantula has varied colorations depending on itís
molting cycle. Just after a fresh molt, it is generally pretty
much black looking, it will gradually turn a reddish brown
color and even pick up some orange coloration prior to molt.
This Tarantula is not "striking" in appearance, but
very beautiful in itís own way. It generally looks
"tawny red" hence, the common name. They have thick
rear legs which are believed to aid them in burrowing, though
not as pronounced as the "King Baboon". As with all
tarantulas, it is very important to research their natural
habitat so that you can duplicate it as much as possible in
captivity. This will keep your tarantula from being stressed
and more happy, which in turn, will lead to a longer life. The
Cameroon Red is a burrower in a tropical environment. It is
very important to provide a suitable depth of substrate and
humidity to properly care for this tarantula.
The Cameroon Red is a very reclusive
tarantula. It will dig some pretty elaborate burrows and
tunnels and remain there most of the time. This is not a great
display tarantula. Cork bark is a shelter they will appreciate
as well. Sometimes, they will just burrow down one of the
corners of a tank, which makes them visible even while in
seclusion. They will often venture out at night, and certainly
at feeding time. Like most tarantulas, they do not like bright
light. While normally shy, if provoked, this tarantula becomes
a super aggressive beast! They will rear up and strike
repeatedly, and hard, much like a cobra. I have even seen them
flop over on their back and kick their legs much like a child
throwing a temper tantrum! This is not a beginnerís species
due to their aggressive nature. It is also worth noting, that
these tarantulas can seem almost lethargic, but can move with
alarming speed. Not much is known about the venom of this
species. From my research, I would rank itís potency as
greater than your typical "New World" species, but
less toxic than say, a poecilotheria. In any event, I would
not want to take a bite from this species and always use care
when working in its cage.
These tarantulas are fast growing and will
attain a maximum leg span of 6 to 6.5 inches. They will
attack and eat anything that moves.
Food: Crickets, cockroaches, superworms,
pinkies, and small fuzzy mice.
∑ Note on roaches:
avoid catching these on your own or any other food source
outdoors, as they may be laden with pesticides that can harm
or even kill your tarantula.
∑ Note on mice: If
you feed your tarantula mice your probably not squeamish, so I
advise knocking them unconscious, mice have teeth and will
defend themselves which can injure your tarantula. Please
note in some countries it is illegal to feed live mice
to another creature. To avoid possible prosecution,
please only feed pre-killed prey to your arachnids.
Housing Requirements: These tarantulas need to
be able to burrow. I use a 10 gallon aquarium with 7" of
peat moss/ potting soil mix. I have a live African Violet
planted inside which makes the aquarium look nice. This
tarantula will often hang out around this plant during
pre-molt. A larger tank with even deeper substrate can be
used, but I would not use less than a 10 gallon tank once the
tarantula reaches sub adult size and up.
Temperature: 80-85 degrees is best.
Humidity: Keep humidity high, 80-90%. I use a
Mayonnaise jar lid for a water dish, Always clean and full. I
water the Violet every couple days and mist the substrate, not
to the point where mold develops, but it is not dusty. I mist
Growth: This is a fast growing species, they
can molt 6-8 times in their first year easily if you feed them
daily up to pre-molt. Males will mature in a year, 2 years
tops. Females will mature in 2-4 years. Males will live 2-4
years, females have been known to live up to 16 years but 12
would be average. Expect this tarantula to molt once a year
after the first year, females may molt twice a year until they
reach maturity. Mine did.
Cleaning: It is very important to keep a clean
tank. I try to keep prey from going into burrows. That is why
I often feed this species pinkies. It is important to remove
leftover food items as these can attract mites. Keep the water
dish clean. I remove food leftovers with salad tongs. Crickets
have a tendency to hop right to the tarantula in itís
burrow. You will have to dig around a little to remove unused
food items. Use tongs of some type. Change substrate every 6
months to ensure a clean, healthy tank.
Handling: There is no need to handle a
Cameroon Red. They are very defensive and can be downright
hostile. They can and will inflict a painful bite. Enjoy these
from a distance.
Make sure your lid on the tank is securely
shut at all times.
For more info feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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