Phew! What a mouthful! Our Socotra Island Blue Baboon tarantula slings (that’s “spiderlings” for the non-hobbyists) are the newest edition to the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium. Native to the island of Socotra, off the coast of Yemen, these brilliant blue beauties are a unique species of communal tarantula.

You read that correctly: while most tarantulas are known for being solitary, Socotra island blue baboons can be safely housed as a community. They will build a communal web, and the females will even care for their young for several months after they hatch.

Despite their communal nature, our slings are kept in separate containers. We ultimately decided that it was easier to keep track of who was eating and how often. Each sling has already constructed an elaborate burrow and are rarely seen on the surface. So how do we know they’re eating if they’re never actually seen? To put it simply: the crickets go in the burrow, and they don’t come out.