Having an exotic animal can be fun but at the same time difficult, but if you’re already used to having them at your house or if you’re an experienced breeder, you should take into account the Heteroscodra Maculata, commonly known as the “Togo Starburst” because of their unique appearance.
This is one of the most known African tarantula species. While having a fascinating combination of colors and an eccentric pattern in the center of their bodies, this exotic tarantula species also has a very potent poison that can cause symptoms such as an unbearable pain, nausea, vomiting, and spasms. Handling them can be something really dangerous if you don’t have enough experience with tarantulas. They are commonly found in the west of Africa.
Despite having “Togo” in their name, that isn’t the only place where these tarantulas can be found; they are pretty distributed in many other regions such as Ghana, Nigeria and other countries of the west of Africa.
They are commonly mistaken by the people as baboons because of their long legs, which can expand up to 13cms. Despite that, they’re a mid-sized tarantula species. Despite their unique appearance and an extravagant combination of colors (which is a mix of white, brown and black, giving them an exquisite look; you won’t want to take your eyes off them once you see them!), they’re not that popular among the owners.
Heteroscodra Maculata Lifespan and Size
The lifespan of Togo Starburst can vary; the females can live from 12 to 14 years, and the males can live up to 4 years. As it’s common in many spider species, females can have a size of up to 14cms and are more significant than males, who have a size of 11-12cms. Not only they have an extravagant look that will catch your eye at first sight (they have an interesting combination of white, brown and darker colors, which give them a unique appearance), their legs can expand up to 13cms, but that isn’t something rare in this kind of animals. Do not let the fact that they’re mid-sized leave you unwarned! As already told before: they’re a very aggressive kind of tarantula; that along with being arboreal, you wouldn’t want one of them to get into your skin. How dangerous!
Facts & Characteristics
Every exotic animal has a fascinating background; the Togo Starburst isn’t the exception. This is an arboreal species, which makes them able to make fast movements and excellent climbers. They’re also able to survive in many different types of environment, making them a good option to have as a pet; however, since they are an arboreal species, these tarantulas have very fast movements, which combined with an aggressive nature make us recommend them only if you have previous experience handling tarantulas.
Handling and Bite
Many spider species use urticating hairs as a defense mechanism, but these ones do not have them, so the only weapon that they have to defend themselves and to hunt their prey is their strong bite and poison, which, as mentioned above, can cause very serious complications in humans. Imagine a tiny animal being a victim of these tarantulas; what a nightmare!
Handling them can be a bit complicated if you’re not used to arboreal species (or if it’s your first time handling a tarantula); as mentioned above, arboreal species are able to climb and move fast. We recommend getting proper experience before trying to handle one of them. It’s better to prevent an accident while it’s possible! You don’t want to get bitten by them!
Feeding Heteroscodra Maculata isn’t that complicated; they can be easily fed with crickets. Trying to feed them with another kind of insects can be something very difficult; they are very picky about what they’d like to eat!
Heteroscodra Maculata Care & Housing
As mentioned above, they are an arboreal species, which means that you will need a big cage to keep them. They need somewhere to hide in during the hours of the day; one of the best things that you can do to satisfy this necessity is to put a pair of trunks inside the cage. You shouldn’t put too much decoration around the cage since we’re talking about handling an aggressive and arboreal tarantula; it will only make things harder for you to take care of them.
There are individual cages for arboreal species that you can find around many pet shops, so it shouldn’t be a problem! You should pick one that suits Heteroscodra Maculata best, depending on the size. Younger specimens can have a tinier cage, but once they reach their most significant size, you should consider getting a bigger one. An ideal cage size for an adult would be of 30x30x45cm. You need to make sure that you can have everything under control with your pick.
Adjusting the temperature to your new tarantula’s cage can be something challenging; since they usually don’t like to rest on the floor, the best is to have the cage around 77 or 79°F so you can assure that they will be comfortable during the day. The humidity should be of approximately 75% and 80%.
Heteroscodra Maculata Breeding
It is a bit different than most spider species. The females aren’t a real danger to the males during the process, and it is done easily once they get along. Once they’re done with it, the female will put the egg sack somewhere around the cage and will take care of it… in her own way. They usually do not take care of them that much, but they do keep an eye on it once in a while. After two months or less, you can expect between 50-150 newborn tarantulas hatching!
Another little-known fact about this tarantula species is that their venom is being investigated as a possible cure for epilepsy; there have been tests in mice, and they have been healed from the disease!
Having this type of tarantula can be a challenge since they’re a tough species to manipulate, but it also can be fun to have such a beautiful animal around your house. They’re resting during most hours of the day so you can expect them to be hidden; they are usually shy while the sun is bright, as they are nocturnal animals, so they will start being active once the night comes.
If you’re thinking of getting a new pet to your house or want to start with tarantulas, this isn’t the best option. However, they can be an excellent pet to have if you already have experience handling these kinds of tarantulas, since they can survive in almost any environmental conditions. You can be sure that they will make your company for some time; be sure of taking care of it properly!
The one thing that makes them a bit difficult to have as a pet despite their adaptability is their aggressive nature. As mentioned before, you should only take into account the Togo Starburst if you have enough experience handling tarantulas, especially the ones which are venomous.
Though, do not let this discourage you: there are many other options that you can look at if you want to get a tarantula!