ANIMAL: Giant Baboon Spider/Cameroon Red Baboon Tarantula Hysterocrates gigas Type of Animal: Tarantula Habitat: Tropical rainforest, burrows in tropical/subtropical environments, riverbanks Location(s): Cameroon Appearance: Color ranges from black after fresh molt to orange/red to brownish right before molting, females larger than males, often brownish-reddish or dull black & gray, very large tarantulas, males have club-shaped pedipalps Food/Diet: Crickets, cockroaches, locusts, beetles, grasshoppers, insect larvae, moths, butterflies, fruit flies, smaller spiders (females often eat smaller males of own species), millipedes, scorpions, rodents, lizards, frogs, snakes, birds, fish Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, pet trade, & arachnoculture Lifestyle: Solitary, though spiderlings sometimes cohabitate for 1st 6 months of life, even sharing food. Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Spiderling Group: Colony Weight: Male: 1 oz Female: 2.5 oz Gestation: 2 months Life Span: Males: 4 years Females: 12-16 years Body Length: Male: 3.15 in Female: 3.94 in Main predators are birds, larger tarantulas (females often eat smaller males), scorpions (in fights to death-whoever dies 1st gets eaten), predatory beetles (some species eaten by tarantulas), ants, wasps, amphibians, mammals, & reptiles. Large crickets eat spiderlings. Females have legspan of 8 in, male legspan is 6 in. Like most tarantulas, they’re ambush predators. These spiders don’t use silk for webs-silk typically used for lining burrows & egg sacs. Spiderlings molt up to 8 times in 1st year of life. Females molt once a year after maturity. Males reach sexual maturity at 3 years old, females at age 4. Active at night (nocturnal). Females lay hundreds of eggs in egg sacs. Sometimes called Tawny Red Baboon Spiders/Tarantulas. Fun Fact(s): Called “Baboon Tarantulas/Spiders” due to last 2 leg segments resembling baboon fingers. Often kept by experienced tarantula keepers-these spiders highly defensive, displaying readily if bothered & biting. While not lethal, venomous bite quite painful. Only tarantula that can swim, sometimes diving to catch fish/frogs/other aquatic prey. Has been submerged underwater for up to 2 hours. Molting done by splitting of old exoskeleton & wriggling out of it. Fangs part of exoskeleton, also being shed. They don’t eat during or the week right after molting. Lost limbs sometimes regenerated as well. Since they can’t eat prey whole due to lack of teeth, food predigested w/ venom from fangs, containing digestive enzyme helping break down/liquefy prey.