King Baboon Tarantula | Pelinobius Muticus

King Baboon Tarantula | Pelinobius Muticus

The King baboon tarantula is the second largest tarantula in the world after the Goliath bird-eating tarantula of South America. The king baboon can grow up to 8 inches/203 mm due to its long hind legs. A copper color in pigment, the king baboon lives in dry climates of East Africa.

The king baboon is rare among tarantulas for its ability to make audible communication called stridulation. Often during mating or if a predator is near or to warn another tarantulas not to attack as it’s the same species. Tarantulas rub body parts to make sounds which are usually short bursts of a hissing sound.

Naturalist, Pocock described the King Baboon for the first time in 1900. The Latin name used has evolved over time.

  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Genus: Citharischius
  • Species: crawshayi

King Baboon Tarantulas as Pets

King baboon spiders can be found in specialist, spider pet shops, though owners should have experience of keeping spiders before taking on this aggressive and elusive spider.

King baboons are escapologists so they require a large aquarium that they will thrive in. An escaped king baboon can cause harm to people and to themselves. Because King Baboons are active burrowers, the tank should be tall enough to allow for a good depth of substrate to be added.

Feeding a King Baboon

My King Baboons have a voracious appetite and will eat almost anything they can get their fangs on. Unlike some other species, my Pelinobius muticus never seems to go hungry – except just before a molt. They are known to eat rodents as well as live prey such as crickets, earthworms and mealworms.

The spider should always have access to fresh water. An upended bottle lid can work well for mid-sized specimens, while water bowls designed for small rodents like hamsters work well for adults.

Because these tarantulas are from Africa, they prefer a drier environment than many other species, so adequate ventilation is essential. This should be in the form of air holes the top of the aquarium, where excess moisture can easily evaporate.

King Baboon Tarantula | Pelinobius Muticus
King Baboon Tarantula | Pelinobius Muticus

A bite from a king baboon has not been known to kill a human but will give a very painful bite, causing spasms with local swelling for several days. Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible if you suffer a bite.

As with any wild animal please don’t consider taking the king baboon from the wild where they are happiest in their natural habitat and are valuable parts of the eco system.

Handling of King Baboon Tarantula

The King Baboon is a large tarantula and also unnervingly quick and aggressive. As a result, they are unsuitable for handling without training so you won’t endangering yourself or the spider.

Instead, if you need to move your tarantula (for example, to clean), place a plastic tub/bottle (cut in half) over them or gently coax them into moving with forceps. Consider doing this in your bathtub for safety, so that if something goes wrong and your tarantula escapes, you won’t spend the next week moving furniture in a futile search for a large and angry spider.

King Baboon Habitat in the Wild

King baboon tarantulas live commonly is savannahs (acacia forests) of East Africa where they can dwell on the arid floor in shrub land. They dig burrows of a few inches in diameter in heavy soil which is ideal for digging. Camouflaged by the soil, these ambush predators, spin silk around the entrances to sense the movement of prey.

King Baboon Tarantula, Habitat Map

Fantastic Facts About King Baboon Spiders

  • King baboons make an audible sound by rubbing the femurs of their first and second pairs of legs.
  • King baboon spiders can live up to 25 years
  • Pelinobius muticus is the only tarantula of the Pelinobius genus.
  • King baboons are the largest spiders in Africa
  • King baboons were known as Citharischius crawshayi. British arachnologist Richard Gallon, officially changed the name of this species in 2010.
  • New sightings have been seen at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, about 100 miles (160km) from Cape Town.

King Baboon Tarantula Behavior

King baboon tarantulas are nocturnal, spending most of the day light hours dug into their burrows. Like many small animals in the savannah the king baboon is renowned for its aggressive behavior. when locating prey it will rear up on its hind legs and snap at the target with two large fangs.

The tarantula repeatedly jerks its head up and down stabbing the prey with its fangs and injecting venom. the venom liquefies the prey’s internal organs making it easier to swallow.

This tarantula is referred to as the bull terrier of spiders, both in terms of size and weight. Pelinobius muticus possesses robust, exceptional back legs with a slightly “pigeon-toed” appearance.

The spider does not make webs, but instead generates a layer of silk at the entrance to its burrows to detect the presence of its food through the vibrations caused by the silk.


Mating is precarious work for the male king baboon. He holds on to the larger female’s fangs to prevent her biting him. She may make a warning sound if he squeezes to hard. If he escapes the ritual alive he will retreat. the female will lay egg sac at a month to eight weeks after mating. The sac, is often suspended in a silk ‘hammock’ and will incubate for five to eight weeks.

Mating is a precarious Task for the Smaller Male King Baboon Tarantula
Mating is a precarious Task for the Smaller Male King Baboon Tarantula

Q And A

What is a king baboon tarantula’s favorite prey?

In the wild the king baboon will largely predate beetles, cockroaches, and other spiders.

Why does the King Baboon Spider have long hind legs?

King baboon spiders have powerful, long hind legs for burrowing.

Which phylum does the king baboon belong in?

The king baboon tarantula belongs in the phylum: Arthropoda

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