Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum

9 Oct
A picture i took of my cobalt blue tarantula

Image via Wikipedia

The Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum has long been on of my favorite tarantulas when it comes to captive arachnids.  As the name implies the females of the species have bright blue legs.  The carapace and abdomen are usually a brownish color.  Males of this species are reported as all brown in color.  Most tarantulas sold in captivity are females according to what I have seen.  Females live longer than the males.  Personally, I have never looked at all the species we’ve kept over the years and even so some of them are very hard to differentiate.  Cobalt Blue Tarantulas Haplopelma lividum are native to Southeast Asia tropical forests of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

It is said, that in their native habitat they live in burrow networks.  I know they are a burrowing fossorial species but I question whether they actually create or live in a ‘network’ of tunnels such as a rabbit warren.  Replicating their native habitats in captivity is not a difficult task as you may have been told.  All you need are the right tools and patience.

Before going any further I would like to make sure we are very clear here.  Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum can be a fast and aggressive tarantula.  This doesn’t mean that they are going to rush out of the burrow to try and eat you every time the enclosure is open.  You have to be careful just as you would be with any wild animal.

The Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum is an average size tarantula measuring a total of 4” to sometimes 5” in total for large females.  Being fossorial or ground dwelling we need not be concerned with the height of the enclosure as much as the floor space.  I use a ten gallon regular fish tank with a screen lid and security clips in place.  The reason for such a large enclosure with such a small species of arachnid is that they are fast tarantulas.  It is best to disturb them as little as possible.

For burrows we recommend our standard used paper towel roll with some type of plug at the end of it.  Maybe a crushed paper towel or whatever else might work.  I will explain why in a moment.  Now before everyone begins emailing me about the Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum digging their own burrows let me say this.  For maintenance purposes, our method is much safer.  Place the plugged paper towel roll into the enclosure at a 45 degree angle and then pour the substrate of your choice around it so that it’s supported.  You will only need to fill the enclosure about halfway.  For maintenance you can crumple another paper towel and stick into the open end.  This allows you to work in and around the enclosure without worrying about the tarantula freaking out and possibly biting you.

Substrates differ depending on who you talk to.  Some recommend vermiculite and peat moss, others say that potting soil works well.  For us, we combine a mixture of groundcover bark, and organic potting soil mixed together usually in about a 25% bark to 75% soil; on top of this we put sheets of moss leaving the opening to the burrow exposed.

There is no necessity for décor per se; the spider will generally spend most of its hours in the burrow.  However, should you choose to decorate the enclosure any small tropical plants will work.  To be absolutely sure they are safe, we take the plant out of its original pot, wash the roots completely so none of the old soil is left and then repot the plant with organic potting soil and then place it into the vivarium.

Water for the tarantula should be made available through the use of a shallow water dish with some pebbles in it to keep the crickets from drowning.  Being a tropical species we need to make sure that they always kept warm and humid year round.  Keep them at around 85˚ Fahrenheit and about 85% humidity.  The best way to heat them that we have found is through the use of Ceramic Heating Elements.  Use a 65 Watt element and monitor the temperatures with a temp gun as the stick on the glass type of thermometers can give a false reading.  To keep the humidity up we spray the enclosure lightly during the warmer months of the year.  Spraying lightly means a couple of passes with a mister, spraying too much will cause mold and bacteria to grow.

As far as feeding is concerned they will take about three to five crickets a week.  You can change the diet up if you like by feeding grasshoppers once in awhile that are ordered online.  While we have heard of this and other species of tarantula consuming pinkies in captivity there is no data to say that there is any health benefit to feeding these.

Most of the informational care that is published today says this species is best left to advanced keepers.  This is a crock.  If you are new to the hobby and have the capability to respect the animal and its behaviors then I believe with some in depth research and planning even the novice keepers can be prepared for keeping the Cobalt Blue Tarantula Haplopelma lividum without issue.

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