Harpactirella lightfooti
-Lightfoot’s Lesser Baboon Spider

Note: Harpactirella sp. (Lesser Baboon Spiders) are LEGAL to keep in South Africa.

Common Names: Lightfoot’s Lesser Baboon Spider | The Lightfooti

Adult Size: 5-7cm (Dwarf Species)

Type: Old World, Semi-Fossorial, Heavy webber

Growth Rate: Fast

Temperament: Skittish and nervous.

Lifespan: Females (5-6 years) | Males (1-2 years)

Origin: South Africa

Recommended Climate: 25-28°C (Summer), 20-25°C (Winter)

Recommended Humidity: 40% to 50%

Basic Enclosure Requirements: Terrestrial/Fossorial hybrid setup with lots of structure and at least 4 x the size of the spider in horizontal space, roughly 8 to 10cm of substrate and a water dish.

Photo Credit: Danny de Bruyne – mymonsters.co.za

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Scientific Name: Harpactirella lightfooti

Common Names: Lightfoot’s Lesser Baboon Spider | The Lightfooti

In the localities of the Cape where they can be found in South Africa, these little baboon spiders are often seen running across the living room floor in the evening. Of course it’s usually the males that are doing the running in search of females to mate with. The females are pretty static and once they find and build a webbed lair which is usually under rocks or cool sheltered structure, they seldom move about except to find food and usually in the dark.

Being a lesser Baboon species, they are a dwarf species and adult females grow no larger than about 6cm. They are typical of the gorgeous golden baboon spiders of South Africa and have a slightly elongated and beautiful golden starburst carapace as well as the typical striped and spotted abdomen (fish bone pattern)  seen on many baboon species. Their darker abdomen markings start from the spinnerets as stripes which become dots as we move closer to the carapace.

The are heavy webbers and will make great use of rocks, twigs and other structure to build their shelters from. If they can’t find enough structure, they will usually begin to burrow and create a tubular tunnel to a lair deeper down.

They are very skittish and quick moving baboon spiders but are actually quite tolerant of disturbance. They will bolt when disturbed or touched but won’t easily flare or throw a threat pose in defense unless really provoked, and they will indeed bite if pushed to far. Their venom is said to be quite potent to mice and must be assumed to be like any other Old World venom and care should be taken not to get bitten as no conclusive tests have been done on humans. Expect the usual painful bite and possible muscle spasms or cramping if you are indeed bitten.