One of the most beautiful tarantula species is the Poecilotheria metallica or Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider. The striking deep blue color of the adults with the contrasting patches of yellow on the legs is breathtaking. These tarantulas grow to around 6-7 inches and females live for up to 12 years. Males typically live 3-4 years.
In recent years this specie of tarantula has become more common and the price has come down, although it is still one of the more expensive tarantula species. This fast tarantula also has a potent venom and should only be kept by experienced keepers.
The name Gooty comes from the town in South Eastern India where the first one was found in the late 19th century. It was found at a railway lumber yard and probably was not native to the town that it is named after. Over 100 years later it was rediscovered in forests east of Gooty, and made its way into the hands of tarantula breeders. Today all the Gooty Sapphires that are available in the hobby are from captive bred descendants. In the wild this species is critically endangered because of habitat loss.
The Poecilotheria metallica (P. metallica) is an arboreal tarantula and therefore it should be offered some cage decorations that it can climb and make a home in. Cork bark, sticks and plastic plants work nicely. The size of cage depends on your tarantula. A small sling can be kept in a vial or deli cup whereas an adult will be best in a cage such as an 12” x 12” x 18” glass terrarium. Common ones are manufactured by Exo Terra and Zoo Med.
Substrate such as coconut fiber, peat moss, or other soil should be several inches deep and kept damp, providing humidity of 75%-80% in the cage. Being from the jungle in India these tarantulas will benefit from a warm environment. A temperature in the high 70s to low 80s F are best. If the temperature in your room drops below this significantly, you might want to attach a heat mat to the side of the terrarium.
Feed your Gooty appropriately sized insects such a crickets and roaches. A small sling might eat a 1/4-1/2” cricket where and adult might eat several large 1” crickets. At Jabberwock Reptiles, we generally feed our tarantulas once a week. Remove uneaten and partially eaten prey after a day or two. You do not want dead insects to mold or live ones to stress your tarantula.
A bowl of water should be offered to larger tarantulas (2 inches and up). Spraying the side of the enclosure is also recommended, especially for smaller tarantulas.
Gooty Sapphire Ornamentals are generally reclusive and do not like bright lights. Keeping your Gooty out of direct sunlight and away from bright lights is ideal. Because of their reclusive nature they are not likely to show a threat posture and are more likely to retreat into their den. However, you should not assume they are tame. They can be fast and defensive and will bite if they feel threatened. The bite of a P. metallica is said to be “medically significant” and is not something you want to experience.
Before getting a P. metallica, you should have experience with fast tarantulas such as some Avicularia species (Pink Toes), or the Venezuelan Suntiger, Psalmopoeus irminia. These are fast arboreals that have a less potent venom.
Jabberwock Reptiles tries to keep this species in stock but check our Available Tarantula page for availability.