Cobalt Blue tarantulas are one of the most impressive tarantulas available in the pet trade.
It gained notoriety from its incredible coloration. Under artificial lighting this tarantula can appear quite plain and dull, being clothed in black and gray hairs. Closer inspection however – especially in natural sunlight – reveals that this species has incredibly irridescent deep blue legs.
Indeed, the Cobalt Blue tarantula was arguably the first commonly-available “blue tarantula” in the pet trade. While other species are now available which present blue coloration (such as the Green Bottle Blue) this has remained a popular tarantula as it is impressively stocky in appearance and is frequently available.
While captive breedings are now reasonably common, the species is frequently imported at adult size, so can be bought quite cheaply.
Cobalt Blue Wild Environment
The Cobalt Blue tarantula has a relatively large home range, though evidence suggests that population numbers may be struggling due to increased loss of habitat.
Broadly speaking this species hails from the warm and humid jungles of South East Asia, notably Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Here it digs deep burrows, where it spends the majority of its time. The spider generally only leaves its lair to feed or to find a mate, and are known in captivity for their secretive nature.
This is arguably just as well, as people in this part of the world are known to catch and eat large tarantulas of the Cyriopagopus genus, further impacting the wild population.
This has a number of impacts on how Cyriopagopus lividum should be kept in captivity. In essence your spider will require a warm and very humid environment, ideally with plenty of substrate in which to burrow.
Keepers should also be aware that while the species is beautiful, thanks to a combination of its burrowing tendency, the way in which is spins extensive webbing and it’s generally secretive nature this is a tarantula that you might not see very often.
Cobalt Blue Caging
Cobalt Blue tarantulas are a medium-sized species, generally growing to around 5″ in legspan. They’re also not overly active and, as stated, will spend most of their lives hiding in their burrows. That said, a decent-sized cage is likely to be beneficial.
There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, larger cages mean that your pet can burrow more naturally, and so feel happier in captivity.
Secondly, it is important to note that these spiders can move very fast. As a result, a larger cage gives you more time to get your hands out of the way and close the lid if your spider makes a break for freedom during routine tank maintenance.
Most experts agree that providing a good depth of substrate is important for this species, with a depth of 4-6 inches of substrate recommended as a minimum (ideally more). For this reason you’ll want to select a tank that allows a considerable depth of substrate.
The Exo Terra, which I use with most other species of tarantula, is therefore not ideal for the Cobalt Blue. Instead, try purchasing a specialist tarantula tank – or making your own – in order to provide the necessary depth. Arboreal tarantula tanks may be utilized as the height enables a large amount of substrate to be added.
Note that as these spiders are both fast-moving and quite aggressive a close-fitting lid is essential. This is certainly not a tarantula you would want on the run around your home!
A temperature of around 25’C seems to work well for Cyriopagopus lividum, though a small drop at night is perfectly acceptable.
This is most easily provided in captivity with a heat pad.
Due to the depth of the substrate this heat pad should be attached to an outer wall of the tank. Placing the heater under such a depth of substrate can lead to over-heating, or cracking of the glass in the floor. Increasingly heat mat suppliers are offering models with a self-adhesive surface (such as this one). Alternatively you can use tape to attach it to the side, though this may need to be replaced regularly.
Note: all heaters used for exotic pets should be attached to a thermostat, no matter how mild the heat being produced. This is a fail-safe procedure for ensuring that the mat does not overheat causing damage to your spider. Just as usefully, it makes your life easier in warmer weather by turning the mat on and off as necessary to provide the appropriate temperature.
A small digital reptile thermometer can be a useful investment for monitoring cage temperatures, and at just a few dollars in price are well worth the peace of mind (and happy spider!) that they bring.
Water & Humidity
Cyriopagopus lividum like a humid environment so it is important to spray the cage regularly with a house-plant spray gun. Care should be taken to spray the substrate but not the spider itself, as this can cause stress. The use of a hygrometer is strongly recommended in order to monitor humidity, which should aim for 80-90%.
Alongside this humid environment, however, care should be taken to prevent the build-up of mould. This can be particularly problematic in Cobalt Blues who may leave uneaten food lying around the cage or in their burrow.
There are two proven solutions to this problem. Firstly, the cage should provide suitable ventilation. The second tip is to actively remove any uneaten debris which you see. Using long forceps this is a reasonably simple process and ensures there is less in the cage which can get mouldy.
Humidity is most important during moulting. Should your spider cease feeding and cover the entrance to its burrow then this is the most likely reason. Under such circumstances stop feeding for a few weeks and ensure suitable humidity levels are present at all times. Once your spider re-opens the burrow and is seen out and about (especially if a moulted skin is evident) then you can begin feeding again.
A shallow water dish should be provided at all times, but attention should be paid daily to ensure the water is fresh and that the bowl hasn’t been frustratingly buried (again!).
As a burrowing species there is little need for any fancy cage furnishings. Indeed, attempting to create a beautifully-landscaped tank can be a most frustrating experience as your spider is likely to quickly rearrange everything in the tank, quickly rendering all your hard work null and void.
When keeping Cobalt Blues therefore it is wisest to prioritize a deep layer of substrate measuring at least 6″ deep. Either coir or a mixture of potting compost and vermiculite provides a substrate which is excellent at retaining moisture while allowing for burrowing.
Your spider will likely produce copious amounts of web around the burrow, which can make observing your spider more problematic. However do not be tempted to remove this, as it provide a useful barrier between your spider when it moults and any remaining insect prey which can disturb them.
Feeding Cobalt Blue Tarantulas
Cobalt Blue tarantulas are aggressive feeders, and feeding time is likely to be one of the few times that you see your spider. They will feed on all the usual livefood suspects such as crickets and locusts.
Try to place the food close to the entrance of the burrow if possible, where your Haplopelma lividum will be most likely to sense its presence. Prepare to jump as your spider comes thundering out of its lair to grab the poor unsuspecting prey item!
Handling Cobalt Blues
While Cobalt Blue tarantulas possess no urticating hairs, they are not a species recommended for handling. This species is known to be fast moving and to be quite aggressive. It is considered one of the species more likely to bite when provoked than many other more handleable species.
In addition to this it is worth noting that the venom of Cyriopagopus lividum is considered more toxic than that of many other species. Scientific studies report severe pain and inflammation with arthritic stiffness which can last for several weeks. Severe muscle spasms are also observed in some individuals when bitten.
All these factors combine to suggest that only the bravest (or most fool-hardy) individuals should consider handling the species.
In cases where the spider needs to be moved the following process should be utilized:
- Place the tarantula tank into a bath or similar holding place, so that an escaped specimen can be more easily caught.
- Gently open the cage and, using a long object (such as 12″ forceps) gently try to coax the spider from its lair. Take care to keep fingers out of harms way at all times.
- Being gentle and patient, try to direct the spider into a plastic tub before (carefully) securing the lid.
- Upon replacing the spider in its cage, it is generally safest to place the tub into the cage, gently remove the lid of the container and then close the cage lid. The spider will make its own way out of the tub in good time, which can then be removed without startling the spider.
In the case of a bite it is advisable to seek medical advice due to the potential impacts of a bite from this species.
Cobalt Blue Tarantula Pictures
We have gathered a selection of Cobalt Blue tarantula photos on a special Pinterest board for your pleasure. Feel free to click on any of the photos below to see them in full size, or click over to Pinterest directly to enjoy the photos.