Hapalopus sp. Colombia – The “Pumpkin Patch”

A gorgeous little dwarf tarantula with plenty of attitude!

I was first introduced to this amazing little species by a Viper69, a member of the Arachnoboards forum. I was on the lookout for new and beautiful tarantulas to add to my growing collection, and Viper69 was kind enough to send me pics of his own Hapalopus sp. Colombia large (tarantula enthusiasts love to spread their addiction!). I was immediately floored by the appearance of this unique T. As orange is one of my favorite colors, I was enamored by the bright orange abdominal markings that lend this animal its common name of “Pumpkin Patch”. The fact that they were known to be hearty captives with huge appetites and fast growth rates made this “pygmy” species jump up to the top of my wish list.

Young adult female Hapalopus sp. Columbia large

Young adult female Hapalopus sp. Colombia large

Well, several months ago, I finally procured a trio these feisty little spiders from Autumn’s Eight-Legged Experience. I was amazed to discover that, even in the sling stage, these little guys already sported their adult coloration. I’ve been used to slings that look MUCH different from their adult counterparts, so this was definitely a unique trait and a wonderful surprise.

One of my three Hapalopus sp. Columbia large slings.

One of my three Hapalopus sp. Columbia large slings.

Keep that “Pumpkin Patch” moist.

As my slings started at about 3/8″ long, I housed these guys in 30 dram bottles with tiny ventilation holes poked into the top with a small needle. This is a species that requires a bit of extra moisture, so for substrate, I used a mixture of moist (not wet) coco fiber mixed with peat moss. For added moisture retention—and to supply a place to hide—I also added a pinch of sphagnum moss. Using the handle of a paintbrush, I also created little starter burrows down the side of each enclosure.

These little guys were quick to settle in, adopting the pre-dug burrows while webbing up the entrances. Within days, all three had dug extensive underground burrows, and two had begun webbing on the surface. Unlike some of my “pet hole” species, as slings these guys usually bolted out of their dens and into the open whenever their enclosures were disturbed. They are quite bold for little spiders.

Check out my husbandry video for this species below!

As young adults, all three are currently kept in ½ gallon enclosures made from repurposed Sterilite plastic storage bins. Although they were given several inches of moist substrate and cork bark burrows, they used their webbing and some sphagnum moss to create their own homes. All have water bowls, and I moisten down the substrate once a month or so by simulating rain with a make-shift watering bottle.

Hapalopus sp. Columbia Large young adult enclosure. This one is about 1/2 gallon.

Hapalopus sp. Columbia Large young adult enclosure. This one is about 1/2 gallon.

All three have webbed up their enclosures heavily. They are not particularly shy, and they have no problem sitting right out in the open waiting for prey. This is particularly nice, because this is a truly unique and beautiful tarantula. Haplalopus sp. Colombia is a very fast and skittish species, though, and they will bolt to their dens when disturbed. Care should be shown every time their enclosure is opened for feeding or maintenance.

Voracious eaters with amazing appetites.

When I first acquired my slings, they were still too tiny to take down small crickets, I cut two crickets in half and dropped in the smaller pieces for them to scavenge feed on. All three greedily accepted their pre-killed meals. To date, they have proven to be voracious eaters, only refusing meals when in pre-molt. Once they reached about 1/2″ in size, they were able to easily take down a small cricket on their own.

Kept between 70-76 degrees during the winter and 75-80 degrees during the summer, and fed two times a week, they grew quite quickly. During the first six months,  they molted about every month and a half.  In 11 months, they’ve grown from 3/8″ to about 2.25″.

I currently feed each of my sub-adults one medium cricket twice a week. When in premolt, they will stop eating and generally become more reclusive, hiding out in their dens and staying out of sight.

Males mature quickly, with mine hooking out at about 11 months at about 2.25″. Females will live longer, reaching a max size of about 3.5-4″. There is a smaller “dwarf” version of this species that reaches a max size of about 2″, but the Colombia Large is not quite small enough to be a true dwarf.

A stunning species for the keeper used to fasts ‘n feisty Ts.

Hapalopus sp. Colombia may be a small species, but what they lack in size, they make up for in attitude and personality. H. sp. larges are generally recognized as being fast and defensive, with many keepers also branding them as escape artists that will make a mad dash for any opening. Mine have actually proven to be quite well behaved, choosing to retreat to their burrows rather than try to escape.

Although this species is a bit high-strung, none of mine have shown any aggression. I do think that a beginner with some experience could keep this species if she/he is cognizant about their speed and care. They are very hardy, and their great appetites and quick growth rate make them an ideal species to raise from sling to adult.

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17 thoughts on “Hapalopus sp. Colombia – The “Pumpkin Patch”

      • It’s arriving tomorrow – along with a juvi Venezuelan Suntiger that I didn’t plan on but had to have. Most of the favourites of my collection seem to have been “accidental” 🙂

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      • Yes, they’re here – and they’re beautiful! I’ve not seen the irminia since the day she arrived because she’s made an amazing tornado-style web and has hidden somewhere deep within it, but the columbia is always on display and looking lovely! I’ve not updated my tarantula blog in a long time, but I’ll be sure to send you the link one I have some pictures up 🙂

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      • Congratulations on your new acquisitions! I find the Hapolopus sp. Columbia to be one of the most uniquely beautiful species I keep. I don’t have an irminia yet, but it’s only a matter of time. 😉

        Can’t wait for the link!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Luis!

      Fantastic to hear from you. You are the first person I’ve heard from that lives in an area where one of the tarantulas I talk about comes from. Yes, these are quite popular in the hobby in the US. Although the prices have dropped recently, they used to sell here for about $60 for a 1cm sling!

      Tom

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  1. Just an fyi regarding the vendor:

    From their site:
    “The Eight-Legged Experience will be closing until further notice. Even though we will not be actively selling slings, feel free to contact us anytime with your tarantula related questions!”

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  2. Oh man, you’re right about the males maturing fast…mine just hooked out at a whopping 7 months! Hopefully I can find him some lady loving soon, that crazy guy deserves it 😛

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      • Mine took me by surprise as well…I was just checking to see if it’s molt was pushed out of the web-cave yet so I could possibly sex it, and instead was greeted by one long leg with a tibial hook!
        I definitely want to find him a lady so he can breed, with the only compensation being maybe 1 or 2 of the resulting babies (if any).

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      • That would be fantastic! Feel free to email me at badxwolf1203@yahoo.com and we can discuss it further/work out all the details 🙂 I can give you my phone number then as well if you’d prefer to call or text (don’t want to put that in a public forum). He just had his ultimate molt on 11-02-16 and has not made any sperm webs yet that I’ve noticed.

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