By Neil Hammond – This beautiful Old World tarantula is well known for its iridescent blue legs and light grey carapace and abdomen. This tarantula is fairly common, although it is not recommended for the beginner. Being an aggressive, fast and defensive tarantula it should not be handled and it is also a very shy tarantula and therefore will not be seen as often as some of the other tarantula species. Some keepers have mentioned that is one of the most aggressive, most beautiful and highly-strung spider in the world! The Cobalt Blue tarantula is a medium size tarantula reaching sizes of 13 – 15cm.
The Cobalt Blue is a fossorial species, which means that it is adapted to life underground, and it spends nearly all of its time in deep burrows of its own construction. It inhabits the tropical rainforests of South East Asia, in both Burma and Thailand. Being an Old World tarantula this species lacks the urticating hairs found on the New World species. This means that their first line of defence is to bite, and they are quick to adopt a threat pose. They have being known to deliver multiple bites and their venom can cause medically significant symptoms. Most common symptoms described have been sharp pain followed by localized numbness and aching joints. They might seem shy and calm until they are cornered, when they can practically teleport to deliver a bite. That being said, if they have a burrow they will rather retreat than fight. Interfere with your Cobalt Blue as little at you need to, as this will be the best for this species and for your safety.
Housing the Cobalt Blue Tarantula
When it comes to housing the Cobalt Blue Tarantula, depth of substrate is more important than floor space or height. A glass enclosure works best as it allows you to easily see inside the enclosure without having to open the lid and disturb your spider. Your substrate should be around 20 – 25cm deep for these fossorial spiders. An ideal substrate is a 50:50 mix of peat moss and vermiculite. This should allow for extensive excavating and elaborate tunnel making below ground, which the Cobalt Blue loves to do. The vermiculite will also allow the substrate to hold slight moisture well and help maintain the necessary humidity levels. Humidity should be maintained at around 60 – 70% and this can be done by spraying a corner of the enclosure a few times a week.
The length and width of the tank will need to be at the very least 3 times the length of the spider. Your Cobalt Blue will spend most of its time below the substrate and will venture out at night, if it detects any movement it will then scurry back down into the safety of its burrow. A red light can be used at night time, as this light cannot be detected by spiders, which will allow you to see your Cobalt Blue outside its burrow at night. Some tree bark and fake plants should also be placed in the enclosure to allow for security for your spider. A large water dish with clean water must be provided at all times. Temperature will need to kept at around 26 – 32”C for optimal growth; these temperatures can be achieved with a small heating pad placed in the corner of the enclosure underneath or on the side. Use an accurate thermometer to ensure that the temperatures are correct.
How to Feed Cobalt Blue Tarantula
Once your Cobalt Blue has settled into its enclosure it will have no problem eating, and will happily devour crickets, roaches, mealworms, superworms and even small pinkies. When you first acquire your spider, don’t try to feed it right away, no matter how excited you may be, as eating is the last thing your new tarantula is worried about. Give it a few days to get used to its new enclosure and surroundings, and give it time to start making a burrow and spinning some web. Spiderlings are best fed pin head crickets and as they grow their prey size can increase. When they are young they can be fed every second day as they will be growing fast. As they mature and their growth slows down you can feed them two to three times a week. Be careful to take note of when your tarantula stops eating and remove all prey items as soon as possible, as moulting tarantulas cannot defend themselves. The last thing you want is a cricket or mealworm nibbling on your moulting tarantula and causing injury and even death. Younger spiders will go off feed a few days before they moult and older mature spiders can go off feed a few weeks before they moult so just keep an eye out for this and stop all feeding until they have completed their moult and are ready to start eating again.
The Cobalt Blue is a fairly fast growing tarantula and can reach maturity within 3 years. Males and females look the same until the final moult of the males. At this point males will gain embolus on the pedipalps and tibial hooks. When the male is mature he will also exhibit sexual dimorphism as his colour will change to a light tan bronze and he will also appear more lanky and thin. Breeding these tarantulas is not easy, and many breeders say that their spiders produce egg sacks but many of them do not have viable eggs. If considering breeding it is recommended that you try to replicate their natural environment as closely as possible, including any seasonal temperature and humidity changes. Do as much research you can and this will allow you to have a better success rate.
If you have a mature female and are ready to breed her it is best that you do some searching and look for a mature male that you can use to breed with. See if you can time it so that your female has moulted fairly recently so that she doesn’t moult after she has mated. Make sure that your female has a fairly large enclosure and that she has a well established burrow. Feed her a decent meal at least 24 hours before you plan on introducing the male. Allow the male to slowly walk into the female’s enclosure and you will notice he will start tapping and find his way into the burrow. Mating seems to go quite smoothly with this species if the female has an established burrow, but just make sure to get the male out of there quickly once the mating has been completed. If the mating was successful you can expect an egg sack in around 8 weeks time. You may leave the egg sack with the female for the first 30 days and make sure that you disturb her as little as possible during this time. If you are confident that you can incubate the eggs yourself, remove the egg sack after 30 days and place the eggs in an incubator on a fine material that has been pulled tight over a plastic container to form a slight hammock shape. Keep these eggs at a humidity of around 80% and at about 23 -25”C. After a couple days you can expect eggs with legs. Remove any bad eggs as soon as possible. In the next 4-5 weeks you can expect the eggs to moult into their first instar. This is progress that was reported by a breeder who managed to successfully breed his Cobalt Blue Tarantula with very little difficulty.
Overall the Cobalt Blue Tarantula is an impressive spider to say the least. Although this spider is not ideal for the beginner it is a great addition to anyone who is keen on tarantulas and to breed this species is a great achievement any breeders should strive for!