Mombasa golden starburst
tarantula (Pterinochilus murinus)
spider was first described by Pocock in 1897 and
is a native of Eastern Africa. It can be
frequently found around Kenya and Mombasa
where is can be found in rudimentary silk lined
burrows. It is also found in shanty towns
where it feeds on cockroaches.
This is a very attractive spider,
with a very distinctive starburst pattern
on the carapace. The carapace itself tends
towards a dark brown/black colour and the
starburst is made up of golden yellow hairs
and is very distinctive.
The abdomen is described by
Andrew Smith as 'An attractive tweed-like mixture
of yellowish/olive/brown hairs'. He continues
'The long hairs on the abdomen have a distinct
The legs have distinct white
tufts of hairs on all leg joints with yellow
striating lines running down the legs.
These are heavy web spinners and
will cover their cages with thick swathes of web,
even making their own retreat. Although these
spiders are obligate burrows one of my own
specimens spends most of its time in the
web tubes it has spun in the plastic foliage that
decorate its cage.
These spiders should not be
handled, as they are considered very aggressive
although my own specimens show no signs of
aggression. They are however very skittish and
can move very, very quickly!
The requirements in captivity
As for keeping them as pets, many
people keep these in large 12x12x12 (inches)
This species requires medium
humidity levels (above 65%).
Substrate for the cage should be
of peat/vermiculite mix, and should be at least 3
(preferably 4 to 6) inches deep. These spiders
will dig deep burrows if the substrate is
An open water dish is a must;
humidity must not fall below 60 percent!
Food: All standard invertebrates
Geographic Range: Kenya, Mombasa
Adult Legspan: 4-5 inches
Temperament: Very aggressive or a
least very skittish.