Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large (Pumpkin Patch Tarantula) Care Sheet

Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is a small ground-dwelling tarantula with unusual orange markings on the abdomen. These markings have led to the surprising common name of “Pumpkin Patch”. 

Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large has yet to be properly scientifically described, hence the rather unwieldy “scientific” name it is normally given. Hapalopus means “soft foot”. The Colombia part of the name obviously refers to the spider’s origin. The “large” part differentiates the Pumpkin Patch from another tarantula that is considered a different species despite similarities in appearance. 

Any regular readers of this site will know that my number one priority when it comes to choosing tarantulas for my collection is color. I love brightly-colored or intricately-patterned species. Fortunately, Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large offers both in one pint-sized package. 

It should be little surprise, therefore, that the Pumpkin Patch tarantula has rapidly become one of my favorite tarantula species. As a result I’m thrilled to be writing this care sheet today – and hopefully by the end you’ll be beating a path to the reptile store! 

Appearance

Haplopus Columbia Large

Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is a reasonably small tarantula species, though opinions differ as to whether it should be described as a “dwarf” species. Unlike truly dwarf tarantulas like Cyriocosmus elegans this species can attain a diagonal legspan of roughly 4 inches (10cm). 

Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is not the smallest tarantula out there, but is far from the biggest. This moderate size can make accommodating this species very easy indeed, as even an adult won’t take up too much space in your animal collection. 

While the legs of the Pumpkin Patch tarantula are a nothing-special brown, it is the body of the spider that really makes it stand out. The color scheme is essentially orange and black, giving the abdomen an almost bumblebee-like appearance.

If you’ve reared other tarantulas from spiderlings then you’ll know that many don’t develop their adult coloration until they reach an inch or two in legspan. For example, Brachypelma hamorii may look lovely as an adult with those orange knees, but their spiderlings are typically a boring brown color. You need to be patient before the show really starts.

This is not the case with Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large, where the markings are visible even on small spiderlings. This makes them visually appealing and interesting from the very beginning. 

Cages & Housing

H Colombia Large Juvenile

Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is a very hardy spider that is easily accommodated in captivity. Some specimens will try to burrow, though the majority of my specimens are perfectly happy to web up parts of their cage to create a lair, or to hide inside a suitably-sized piece of cork bark.

Reaching a modest size even adult specimens take up very little room in your collection. A cage measuring some 20cm x 20cm (8” x 8”) should be considered a realistic minimum cage size, with enough substrate depth that your tarantula can burrow if it so chooses. 

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Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is capable of moving large volumes of substrate around to create a habitat they’re comfortable with. This means that you may wake up one morning to find that the carefully-arranged fake plants and pieces of cork bark you added are in an entirely different location.  

While this species hails from humid Colombia, ventilation is just as important for this species as other popular tarantulas. Selecting a cage with a mesh grill therefore makes sense. If you opt to reuse a plastic storage box then be sure to add a generous number of ventilation holes.

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Note that Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is considered a reasonably skittish and fast-moving species, which may affect your choice of housing. For example, an Exo Terra Nano not only offers the aforementioned ventilation, but also a front-opening door which can sometimes make tank maintenance rather simpler.

Heating & Temperature

Pumpkin Patch tarantula

The Pumpkin Patch tarantula seems to grow at quite a respectable rate, even in quite moderate temperatures.

My current specimens are maintained between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius (72-75 degrees Fahrenheit) at present, and are thriving under these conditions. Broadly speaking I would suggest that anything north of 20 degrees Celsius should lead to a strong feeding response and healthy growth rate.

Water & Humidity

For larger specimens a clean water bowl should be available at all times. Don’t make the mistake of filling the bowl with bug gel beads, or a piece of cotton wool, as some keepers do. Just plain old water in that bowl is the goal. 

I personally give all my specimens a gentle mist every once in a while, but do this far more frequently to my spiderlings and juveniles. Under these conditions my smaller specimens can drink water droplets from their webbing and the walls of their container. 

A “wet” environment should be avoided, so assuming you have suitable ventilation the tank should be allowed to dry out somewhat between applications. 

Food & Feeding

My Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large specimens all have a fantastic feeding response, with specimens able and willing to take down surprisingly large prey items. 

Like many other small tarantula species, the hatchling spiderlings can be tiny and require miniscule prey to start them off. Fortunately they will grow quickly under the right conditions, and soon enough they’ll take more “standard” feeder insects. 

Once your Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large is large enough to take roaches, mealworms, locusts and the like then feeding becomes very simple indeed. 

As with other tarantulas, be sure to remove any uneaten food to prevent the critter stressing your Pumpkin Patch. 

Handling & Temperament

Search long enough on YouTube and you’ll succeed in finding almost any species of tarantula being held. So it is with Hapalopus sp. Colombia Large. 

While I wouldn’t characterise this species as defensive/aggressive, it can be quite skittish and fast-moving. Care should therefore be taken when the cage door is open, and any attempts at handling come with inherent risk. 

I would suggest this is a species best enjoyed from outside their cage.

Richard Adams

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