Salem Ornamental, poecilotheria formosa, is an arboreal species indigenous to India. They generally hide in the holes and crevices in dry deciduous forest. This is a fast-growing species, with males maturing at between 12 and 18 months of age, and females reaching maturity in less than two years. Females can live upwards of 12-15 years when well kept. Growing to around 6-7″ in leg span, they’re both beautiful and good-sized spiders.
While juveniles they are best kept in a large vile, then once they reach a few inches they can be moved into their permanent enclosure. These spiders do best in an enclosure that is taller rather than longer, with either vertical branches or cork to climb on. They are best kept at temperatures of 78-82 degrees and a humidity level of 65-75%. The substrate of their enclosure should generally be kept dry, misting it once each week then allowing it to completely dry out. Coconut fiber is a good substrate to use, absorbing moisture to help maintain the humidity necessary, but it will also dry out relatively quickly, avoiding the development of mold.
Since spiders cannot be overfed you should feel free to add live food to your spider tank on a regular basis, as they will generally eat on an almost daily basis given the opportunity and the proper temperatures. The best feeding options include crickets, roaches and locusts. It is best to vary the food items regularly to offer as balanced a diet as possible. Once full grown some larger Ornamentals may even accept small dead mice, which can be messy, but is a great food source to try after a moult.
As with all invertebrate pets, be very careful about feeding around moulting time. When your spider goes off it;s food, the most likely reason (assuming your cage is set up correctly) is a pending moult.
When you notice that your tarantula has started to fast, be sure to remove any remaining insects from the cage. Once a moult has been completed it is generally wisest to leave your spider alone for a week or two before feeding resumes.
While some suggest that Ornamentals can be kept in groups (if well fed) this is generally not advised. It is also reported that the toxin from this tarantula is stronger than most tarantulas, which paired with its speed and size, this species is not recommended as a beginner tarantula.