Scientific Name: Poecilotheria metallica
Common Names: Sapphire Ornamental | Gooty Sapphire Ornamental
Not for beginners. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful tarantulas in the world, the Sapphire Ornamental Tarantula, sometimes called the Gooty Ornamental (although it’s not actually from Gooty, India) is still one of the most sought-after species for almost every tarantula hobbyist. Starting out as boring grey-ish purple slings, females will mature in to a flurry of blues, whites and yellows that keep your eyes glued. The males are smaller and aren’t as brightly coloured but still very colourful. Mature male Poecilotheria metallica also do not possess tibial hooks/spurs.
Once females reach full maturity, they will lose some of their vibrant blue, with some areas turning dark grey or even black, but still very beautiful. They are great eaters and grow reasonably fast, so try not to overfeed them and spend as much time as possible raising your sapphire sling. They also tend to be quite serious about keeping their enclosure tidy. We have often witnessed Poecilotheria metallica using the exact same spot over and over when they discard a food bolus or when excavating substrate from their shelters.
Poecilotheria live behind bark and in holes or crevices in large trees, so try to provide them with a lot of vertical structure to live on that dives in to a decent depth of substrate. We have seen too many enclosures where hobbyists place one bushy plastic plant in the middle of the enclosure that the poor tarantula can’t even walk on and is forced to live up against the glass with no shelter. They love it dark and make the best use of a vertical shelter using vertical pieces of wood or cork bark propped up in a corner of an enclosure to create a vertical tube structure. You can also use a solid tubular piece of cork bark in the center of the enclosure. Add some nice vertical drift wood or more cork park pieces as addition to their shelter and you will be giving them a great amount of real estate to use.
In our opinion, they have the best temperament of all the pokies (Poecilotheria genus), known to hunker down and wait for danger to pass or possibly run, rather than throw a threat pose or show any aggression. This doesn’t mean they’re not capable of getting defensive or delivering a very painful bite so always respect them and practice caution as their bite is significantly unpleasant.
Although docile as pokies go, they are still quick and also rather adept at teleportation if given the right reasons. As with all pokies, from sling to adult, these tarantulas move invisibly fast when they decide to run for it, so extreme care is necessary so they don’t land up on your back, up your sleeve or under the couch in the next room (Yes… it’s happened to me.)