The Singapore Blue tarantula is a mind-blowing species in so many ways.
Firstly, there’s the appearance. As their common name suggests, the Singapore Blue is clothed in vibrant royal blue hairs that look almost purple in some lights. It is therefore right up there with other popular blue tarantulas in the hobby such as the Greenbottle Blue and the Cobalt Blue.
In contrast to these other blue species, however, Omothymus violaceopes has another ace up its sleeve that makes it even more impressive; size. The Singapore Blue tarantula is an arboreal (tree dwelling) species of tarantula, with an enormous potential adult size.
Some females have been reported to grow to 9” or even more. It is therefore considered to be one of the largest arboreal tarantulas known to science – right up there with the Red Slate Ornamental.
Wild Habitat of Omothymus violaceopes
The Singapore Blue was described by scientists in 1924. As their common name suggests, Omothymus violaceopes (previously Lampropelma violaceopes) hails from Singapore. They may also be found in nearby areas including Malaysia, where they are recorded in Langkawi and Kedah.
Singapore is renowned for its hot and humid environment, suggesting that this species would benefit from much higher humidities than species like the Mexican Red Knee which tend to thrive in more arid conditions. In captivity this means a regular spraying will be beneficial, though at the same time ventilation is important to prevent the kind of stagnant air in which mould and fungi thrive.
While the females maintain their bright blue coloration, this species is sexually dimorphic in that males start to change color with age. Sub-adult males take on a rich orangey-brown tint, like a slightly duller Orange Bitey Thing.
Most sexually mature males change once again to become an olive green/brown color, making them look like a completely different species.
Singapore Blue Housing
Opinions vary on the temperament of this species. Some keepers claim their specimen would be best described as “aggressive” with threat postures regularly seen when carrying out routine tank maintenance. Others claim that the Singapore Blue tarantula is far more likely to run away and seek refuge than they are to stand their ground and attempt to bite.
However you find the temperament of your own Omothymus violaceopes there are a few things we can agree on: these are fast moving, grow to impressive dimensions and are strong climbers. This can have an impact on the housing of the species.
Not only will you want to select a tall cage, where vertical hides can be added for your spider, but you’ll also want to ensure that the cage is a good size. This not only reflects the potential size of this species, but also gives a few precious moments to close the lid should your Singapore Blue tarantula suddenly make a break for freedom when you’re feeding or cleaning.
These factors combined mean that a cage of at last 45cm tall is recommended, though even taller cages offer slightly more space for your tarantula to behave naturally.
These days tarantula keepers are spoiled for choice when it comes to caging options. Over the years I have tried a huge range of different options, and all have their pros and cons. In the last 2-3 years I have been slowly replacing my old glass and plastic tarantula tanks with Exo Terras, which sit on shelving units in my “animal room”.
It is my opinion that Exo Terras offer the best of all worlds. To start with they just look awesome. If you’re going to invest money into such an expensive species of tarantula then it makes sense to buy a cage that is really going to show them off to best effect rather than cutting corners.
The all-glass construction of Exo Terras makes cleaning nice and easy, and helps to keep in the warmth on a cold winter’s day while offering excellent all-round visibility. On the other hand the front-opening doors are handy so that you can sneak one corner open for feeding without needing to totally remove the lid. Finally the mesh lid ensures ideal ventilation, perfect for a species that appreciates a regular spray.
Of course, if you’re on a budget or are keeping a smaller specimen then a range of other options exist, from building your own custom tanks to re-using household storage containers.
Heating & Temperature
Temperatures in Singapore can be pretty consistent throughout the year, typically sitting at around 25-30’C. This means that Omothymus violaceopes is a tarantula that appreciates a generous temperature. Furthermore, this is a very fast-growing species, with some people claiming that the Singapore Blue may go from spiderling to sexually-mature adult in little more than a year.
A range of different heating options borrowed from reptile keepers should work fine. If you have just one tarantula then placing a heat mat under the cage, or sticking it to the side, tends to be a cheap and effective solution.
For those of us, like me, with big tarantula collections it’s all too easy to quickly run out of plug sockets for yet another heater. In these cases a heat strip can be used (basically a long, thin heat mat that can warm multiple tanks).
My own choice here, however, is to use a soil warming cable. I have my cable attached to a thermostat, and it snakes its way around my shelving units warming dozens of different tarantula tanks while using just a single plug socket!
Water & Humidity
As a tree dwelling tarantula the Singapore Blue only very rarely ventures down to the floor of the cage. Therefore, they are unlikely to drink too often from a water bowl. All the same, I like to provide all of my larger tarantulas with water in this way so at least I know it is there if needed. I simply consider it “best practice”.
With Omothymus violaceopes, however, you’ll also want to regularly spray the cage to ensure a suitable humidity. The best option I have found is to buy a houseplant spray gun specially for this purpose, giving the cage (but not the spider) a good soaking a few times a week.
Another option is simply to tip some water onto the substrate, where it should start to evaporate, raising the humidity in the cage.
As an arboreal species the Singapore Blue tarantula does not need a thick substrate. Just a centimeter or two of coconut fibre or rainforest substrate works well and looks quite natural.
Possibly the most important aspect of care decor for your Omothymus violaceopes is one or more suitable hides. These should be placed vertically, allowing your tarantula to move up and down the simulated tree trunk. Ideally these hides should also permit your tarantula to clamber inside or behind them, so they can hide away during the day just as they would in the wild.
Therefore, take the time to choose some suitable pieces of cork bark, and then securely fix these in place. With such a bulky spider you may want to consider using some aquarium-safe silicone sealant to fix the bark in place, which will prevent the hide from moving.
Lastly, while it is not a necessity, I think this is a species that looks great in a “landscaped” cage. I therefore like to add some silk plants, leaf litter and so on to try give a real “rainforest feel”. Not only does this look awesome, but it arguably gives a more natural environment for your tarantula to explore.
Feeding Omothymus violaceopes
The Singapore Blue is a fast growing tarantula species, and fuels this rapid growth with a very healthy appetite. Very rarely will you have feeding issues, apart from the standard fasting around moulting time.
Many specimens will eat more than the standard tarantula keeper routine of once-a-week feedings. If you’re keen to get your Omothymus violaceopes growing as quickly as possible then be prepared to try feeding your spider two or even three times a week with standard feeder insects such as roaches or locusts (my personal preference).
Handling Singapore Blue Tarantulas
Big, grumpy and fast, this is not a tarantula suitable for handling. Instead, great care should be taken moving your tarantula. You’ll want to try and pop a plastic container over the top of it, slide the lid in underneath and then remove the container before releasing the spider once again.
Due to the difficulties with transporting this species it makes sense to choose a slightly larger cage, which your Singapore Blue can call home for months at a time. This is far less labor intensive that having to rehouse your rapidly growing blue tarantula every few moults.