The new “jewel” of the hobby.
Over the years, there have been dozens of newly introduced tarantulas species that have caught the eyes of hobbyists with their undeniable beauty and the appeal of being a rarity in the hobby. More recently, the Poecilotheria metallica and Monocentropus balfouri were two spiders that delighted keepers with their gorgeous blues while draining wallets with their steep costs for even the smallest slings. Even today, with both species being readily available in the hobby, they still command high prices.
Today, many keepers consider the Harpactira pulchripes, a striking orange bodied and metallic blue legged beauty, the hobby’s latest crown jewel. This relatively new African species pops up on many keepers’ wish lists, and folks who manage to acquire one proudly share photos like a rich kid showing off his new sports car. And like a status car, these little spiders can come with a shocking price tag that many find ridiculous.
The fact is, new species, especially African ones like the Harpactira pulchripes are first collected and bred by Europeans and exported to the United States in limited quantities. Couple the cost of legally importing tarantulas into the US with their initial limited availability, and you have the makings of one pricey T.
Check out my female in action in the video below!
Early on, the only folks generally interested in paying these prices, often reaching well over $1,000 for a pair, are breeders looking to be the first to breed the species stateside (and make a pretty profit in the process). Other interested hobbyists will often wait a year or two until a new species is successfully bred a couple times, bringing batches of more affordable slings into the marketplace.
When I first saw a photo of a H. pulchripes, I had only been really into the hobby for a short time and I had no idea that I was viewing a newly introduced spider. I was therefore shocked when I saw that .5″ slings were going for about $500. It didn’t take me long to abandon all hope of acquiring this gorgeous spider any time soon.
In about January of last year, I got a lead that one of the breeders I normally buy from was expecting a shipment of babies, and slings would be available for $300 each or $275 a piece if you bought three. Although I considered making a purchase, that was a still a bit out of my price range. Over the next several months, I watched as prices for .5″ slings decreased from this price point to as low as $225 from one dealer. With a few folks managing to produce slings in the US, prices were already falling.
Finally, I found an offer that was almost too good to be true. Stamps Tarantulas was offering 2.5″ sexed female juveniles for $300. Even better, he was having a 25% off everything sale. I would be able to get a guaranteed female for less than I almost paid for a single unsexed sling. I jumped at the opportunity and placed my order.
Now, there was a slight mix-up with my order, which lead to me being sent a 1″ sling instead of my female. Steven was quick to rectify the situation, and when all was said and done, I was the proud owner of both a H. pulchripes sling and a sexed juvenile female. To say I was a happy customer would be the understatement of the year (thanks, Steven!).
Enclosures and setup
I used a basic setup for both specimens, a modified 1 quart clear plastic canister for the sling and a 1.5 gallon Sterilite container for the juvenile. I modified both to add ventilation (holes for the canister and round vents for the Sterilite container).
For substrate, I used a mostly-dry combination of peat and coco fiber. After packing this down in the enclosures, I packed some dry substrate on the top. Both were offered cork bark with some plastic leaves for a hide, and I used my finger to pre-start a burrow for each under the cork bark.
The juvenile has a milk cap for a water bowl, and I keep it filled with fresh water (although my girl has enjoyed filling it with dirt). The sling will be getting a water bottle cap for a dish soon. For the time being, I use a water dropper to add some moisture to the plastic plant and webbing in case it wants a drink.
Both specimens took to their burrows the first night, and they have spent several weeks burrowing a bit and webbing up around the entrances. Although each has constructed a fairly deep burrow in the substrate, they are both out and visible quite often (the sling does move to one of its holes whenever I disturb its enclosure).
A beauty with a voracious appetite
Both of my pulchripes have been great eaters. I drop a cricket in overnight, and it’s always gone in the morning. When I first got my sling, I didn’t have a cricket small enough for it as I was expecting a 2.5″ juvenile. Therefore, I dropped in a pre-killed cricket for it to scavenge feed on. When I checked in the morning, the sling had dragged the carcass beneath the cork bark and had devoured the entire thing. On average, I feed this specimen three times a week. While the weather is warm, I’ll be taking advantage of its higher metabolism to grow it out of the more fragile sling stage faster.
The juvenile has had no trouble taking down medium-sized crickets; I just drop them in at night, and they’re gone in the morning. She has currently sealed herself up in her burrow for premolt, so I’m eagerly awaiting the impending shed. Before she stopped eating, I was feeding her on a twice a week schedule.
Like most of my baboons, the H. pulchripes don’t get as fat in the booty as some of my New World terrestrial Ts get when they are about to molt. Despite powering down several crickets, their abdomens never seem to get overly plump.
As I acquired these guys in the summer, temps in my tarantula room have been between high 70s to low 80s. I’m assuming that when the winter comes and temps are in the low to mid 70s, their metabolisms will slow down a bit and molts will come more infrequently.
Not as high-strung as most baboons
So far, both H. pulchripes have been relatively calm when compared to other “baboon” species of tarantulas I keep. The female in particular is fairly low-key, staying out in the open most days and calmly seeking shelter if I disturb her enclosure. The sling is a bit more skittish, but so far she is nowhere near as flighty as my M. balfouri, C. darlingi, or my P. murinus juveniles.
This doesn’t mean that I let my guard down with these spiders as I’ve seen their speed and know what they are capable of. The H. pulchripes is a lightening-fast Old World species capable of delivering a very painful, possibly debilitating bite. Also, tarantulas often change disposition after a molt, so I know that the next shed could bring different or more extreme behaviors. Caution and care always need to be exercised with Old Worlds species.
But, is it worth it?
There’s really no denying that the H. pulchripes is a striking tarantula, but is it really worth the money? I guess the answer to this question would vary from keeper to keeper. Some folks who aren’t particularly enamored with the look of this animal would likely argue “no way.” Even many of those who find this species desirable would likely choose to wait until prices fall considerably before trying to procure one. For breeders who are looking to make an investment in an uncommon species, I would guess it would be an enthusiastic “YES.”
Personally, I love baboon species, and I was enamored with the color of this tarantula the first time I saw it. While researching it, I also learned that there wasn’t a lot of care information out there yet for this species, so I was enticed by the idea of possibly getting to blog about its husbandry for future keepers. And I know I already have one female, so a breeding project will definitely be in the future… I’m quite pleased with my purchase, and I’m looking forward to growing these two to adulthood.
15 thoughts on “Harpactira pulchripes (Golden Blue Leg Baboon)”
What a gorgeous T. I’m not sure about getting more baboons…Still raising my OBT which is a tube-web-hole. heh.
Before I discovered the IRRITATING lack of Euathlus sp. red available, I would have scoffed at more money for a T. Now…I get it a bit. When you WANT something…you want it, and price starts to become more ephemeral…within reason.
Of course I have two different reptile stores in the area that do stock T’s and have no idea how to price them. My A. avic 3.5″ = 40$….my N. coloratovillosus 3″= 40$ and one store has a Thrixopelma pruriens adult…that they had no idea was selling for a minimum of a 100$. –didn’t get that one as it too close resembles and acts like my gang or rosea/porteris.
I hear you about the baboons. One thing that should be mentioned is that the majority of those species are fossorial, so you may rarely see them. I lucked out when I bought my M. balfouris, as there always seems to be one out. The OBT? Rarely see it. And that’s fine and one of the reasons I have so many, but it still should be a consideration.
Plus, these guys are SO much fun to rehouse… 😉
I just spoke to another keeper located a Euathlus sp. red from a dealer, but it was a breeding age female, not a sling. These things are going to be more and more difficult to come by. Hopefully, someone hatches out some slings next year.
And I agree with the cost. A couple years ago, I scoffed at paying more than $30 or so for a sling (although I’d pay up to $100 for some females). I debated buying the H. pulchripes for quite some time before it finally hit a price that I could live with. Still, this represented splurging for me! Honestly, it all comes down to how badly you want a certain T.
Those pet store prices aren’t too bad at all! You could probably get some good deals there. How is the husbandry in the stores? Typical?
T. pruriens are cool, and you don’t see them around much, but you’re right…they do resemble porteris.
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The prices were better than I actually posted…those prices included the T’s IN their enclosures. (KK’s fully set up.)
I am beyond ticked right now. (not seriously, but grinding of teeth has gone on over here.)
So….I’m over at my reptile store an hour ago getting a few bits/n/bobs and the owner and manager are both in. We get talking “T” and they say…”anything you looking for?”
“Funny you ask,” I say. “I doubt you’ve got any, but I have been hunting for Euathlus sp. red and cannot find them anywhere.”
They look at each other and laughed. “Uh…we have three…but I raised them since they were small enough for a microscope and…they’re not for sale.”
Before I could shut my mouth…”Oh you bastards.” They laughed.
So I got to see three 1.5″ reds…and yes, they were all farting around, and when the lids came off, they didn’t freak, they just looked up…and continued to goof off.
Damn those guys to the SPECIAL HELL. -sigh.
The owner understood my conniption…”if we breed these, you get at least one.” So there is that. Of course at their rate of growth I may be senile and wearing depends at that point, but hey. 😀
Man, I’m jealous. I have to drive to another state if I want to buy Ts in person (and even then, they usually buy from a place like Ken the Bug Guy, so the prices are much higher than normal).
Oh, man…that’s just BRUTAL! They couldn’t even part with one? I truly feel for you. At least you got to see some of that Euathlus magic in person; you really do have to experience it to understand how special they are.
I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for you. If I get a lead, you’ll be the first to know…
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There are several places in the metro area that sell em’…as long as it isn’t in the “city and county” of Denver…because in a radius of, oh, about 1500 miles, Denver is the only city that “regulates/prohibits” them. -heh. Fortunately I’m in the ‘burbs, so all is good. Another awesome thing is Craigslist. It hooked me up with a breeder who lives 15 blocks away. (It is where I got my B.vagans and my P. ornata.)
I appreciate you looking out. I don’t doubt I’ll get one sooner or later, and right now, I’m having a good time taking care of the 15 that I already have. (Still trying to sync up the feeding schedule, but the slings get more “feeds” than the bigger ones.)
Speaking of which, have you seen or use the “Tarantulas” app? (google play or http://www.tarantulas.p3kb.com) This thing is a LIFESAVER. Set up schedules, reminders, molts, notes, pics, etc. In fact it is the ONLY reason I would consider more species at this point. Keeping track of who gets what, when this needs water or that is doing XYZ can be a royal pita. Absolutely awesome application.
Oh, you’ll definitely get one eventually. I’m kind of jealous that you have several spots close by where you can buy them. The closest place I have is in Massachusetts about two hours away. I mean, it’s not a horrible drive, but it’s not exactly down the street.
I’ve actually been using that app since last year and LOVE it. I’ve already contacted the maker because I had started a blog about it and figured it would be cool to interview the creator. I figured that would make a cool feature and get word out about an amazing app!
I look forward to that post about the application. From the tech-head side as well as the “keeper” side.
I recently aquired a 2″ sling, and my seller added a H. marksi for free! The marksi has moulted and the pulchripes is bolting down small crickets like there’s no tomorrow 🙂
Man, can those pulchripes eat or what? I was really impressed by their appetites. 🙂
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I know, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! My little marshalli sling is a greedy baby, but this H. pulchripes makes the marshalli look as if it’s fasting 🙂
Lol sounds like he tried to screw you. G pulchripes is Chaco golden knee. A $10 sling. He better of sent you the $300 H pulchrpies that you paid for. Wasn’t being nice. You could’ve screwed up his whole business if you put on the boards that he sent you a $10 spider and you paid for a $300 one. That’s much more than a small mistake. Ps what did he think a 1″ brown spider was the same as a 3″ gold and blue sexed specimen.
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OH, man…that was my screw up! That should have read H. not G! I’m surprised no one else picked up on that. I just went ahead and corrected it. Thanks so much!
I recently bought a Harpactira pulchripes spider. It’s just darker than a paranoid. Is it possible to do this before putting it on? are faded – or someone else has exchanged, etc. Thank you in advance for your answer.
So sorry for the delay.
The spider is darker? Could it be in premolt?
I just got mine on Thursday. I paid Casey K $100 for it–beautifically packed and housed in 4x4x4 Jamie’s terrestrial enclosure without incident. It’s about 1″ in size.
I finally found a pinhead cricket small enough for it. The pinhead escaped through the mesh sadly enough.
I’m trying to use a beheaded meal worm next. Do these guys like those or should I just go ahead and get some B lats from Jamie’s?
I’m whitelightning777 on http://www.tarantulaforum.com.
You can find my enclosure set up and unpacking video there or go to my YouTube page with the same user name.
I would hate to have to use fruitflies like I had to do with my versicolor at first. (Now she’s even more blue then before and has molted about 3 or 4 times–eats mealworms and intact small crickets right off of the tongs!!)
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