Togo Starburst Baboon (Heteroscodra maculata) Care Sheet

The Togo Starburst Baboon tarantula is quite different to many of the more popular pet tarantulas. Whilst species like the Blue Baboon and King Baboon have gained in popularity at least thanks to their coloration, the Starburst Baboon is rather more muted.

Look a little more closely, however, and this subtle appearance is actually very appealing indeed. Dark markings on a very light background give it an almost “ghostly” appearance – quite different to more gaudy spiders available in the pet trade.

What has really helped to cement the popularity of Heteroscodra maculata, however, is just what a hardy tarantula this is. They have an enormous range across much of Africa, and have therefore evolved to thrive in a huge range of different environments. This makes them very easy to keep as pets.

That said, there are downsides. The Starburst Baboon is considered to be fast moving and aggressive. What is more, rumours abound in exotic pet circles that their venom is particularly potent when compared to other popularly-kept tarantulas.

It’s fair to say, therefore, that this is a more “advanced” tarantula, really better suited to more experienced keepers. If that describes you, however, read to for my detailed Togo Starburst Baboon care sheet 🙂

Wild Habitat of Heteroscodra maculata

Despite the common name of this tarantula, it isn’t restricted just to Togo. It is also reportedly found in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. This is one widespread spider to be sure!

Growing to around 5” or so in legspan, it is a mid-sized species of tarantula. It is also primarily arboreal – meaning that it tends to rest off the ground. In captivity this means that you’ll need to provide a cage with some height, together with vertical surfaces which it can explore.

Climate wise, while this tarantula exists across a huge range, generally Western Africa tends to be more humid than other parts of the continent. You will not only therefore want to provide suitable heating if your Heteroscodra maculata is to thrive, but also a regular spraying to increase the moisture level within their cage.

Togo Starburst Baboon Housing

Like their cousin the Featherleg Baboon, these tarantulas tend to be quite shy. Given the opportunity they will spend the majority of their time hidden out of sight, within the darkness of a cork bark hide. A suitable cage should therefore afford them this luxury, providing not just space but also suitable hiding places.

As an arboreal species, adults will to well in cages measuring some 30cm-45cm tall. Some reptile stores sell specialist cages for tree-dwelling species, and some of my favorites are the Exo Terra and ReptiZoo models.

REPTIZOO Glass Mini 8 Gallon Reptile Terrarium 12" x 12" x 12", Small Habitat Cage Breeder Enclosure for Leopard Gecko Tarantula Young Lizard Insects, Top Screen Ventilation & Feeding
  • Features with full view glass, this small Patend Design 8 gallon glass terrarium is convenient for feeding and having fun with your reptile or small animal pets.
  • Compact and flat-packed design mini reptile tank with top opening to prevent escape and easy feeding. With a transparent PVC tray in the bottom for holding water and substrate
  • The full screen top ventilation with thinner mesh wire allows more UVA UVB and infrared heat penetration.

Alternatively, whilst not quite as attractive as an Exo Terra, a range of different containers may be “repurposed” for keeping Starburst Baboon tarantulas.

For example, I have bought packs of sweet jars off Amazon before, drilled some holes in the lid for ventilation and they have made ideal cages. The downside, of course, is that accessing your tarantula is rather more difficult.

Whatever option you choose it is important to remember that these tarantulas move quickly and can climb well. Suitable vertical height, together with an escape-proof environment, are therefore crucial elements.