If you're looking for small, quiet pets that make a big impression, emperor scorpions could be right for you. These formidable-looking creatures, native to West Africa, can grow up to 8 inches long, but typically, adults range from 6 to 7 inches in length. Scorpion pairs breed easily in captivity, and female scorpions give birth to between 10 and 35 babies at a time, so you may find yourself with several babies in your care. Fortunately, baby scorpions require little special care beyond what you would normally give their parents.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Covered glass tank
- Plastic tubing
- Clean, organic potting soil or coconut fibre
- Water container
- Heating mat
- Halved coconut shells
Prepare an appropriate enclosure for your scorpions. A glass aquarium with a secure lid is a good habitat for scorpions. If you have one or two scorpions, an 18-inch by 12-inch by 12-inch tank should be sufficient, but the more scorpions you have, the bigger an enclosure you will need. In general, you should allow an extra five gallons of volume per enclosure for each additional scorpion. Be aware that scorpions are good climbers, so be sure the lid to your enclosure fits snugly.
Build a false bottom in the enclosure to maintain an appropriate humidity level for your scorpions. Line the bottom of the tank with gravel and top the gravel with a plastic tube.
Cover the gravel and tube with a 6-inch layer of coconut fibre or new, organic potting soil. Scorpions love to burrow, so they need a thick layer of digging material. Use the tube to add water to the gravel level so that the gravel is half submerged. The water will keep the digging material and the inside of the enclosure properly moist. Check the water level regularly and add water as needed. Keep the humidity level in the enclosure at about 80 per cent. Babies are particularly sensitive to humidity levels.
Set up covered hiding places for your scorpions. Pieces of tubing, inverted coconut shells or other hollow objects are good places for them to rest. If you have more than one scorpion in an enclosure, be sure to have a hiding place for each one, since scorpions can fight over them.
Ensure the baby scorpions' enclosure is kept at an appropriate temperature. Emperor scorpions are native to warm, humid regions and should be kept in a similar environment in captivity. This is particularly crucial for babies. The ideal temperature for a scorpion enclosure is about 30 degrees C during the day and 20 degrees C at night.
Feed your baby scorpions properly. Both adult and baby scorpions can be fed crickets, but for babies, have small "pinhead crickets" on hand. Feed the babies one or two pinhead crickets a week; simply leave the crickets in the enclosure and the scorpions will find them when they are ready. Remove any uneaten food after three days and wait 10 to 14 days before trying to feed them again. Scorpions are known to stop eating for a week or more at a time, so do not worry if yours do not adhere to a regular feeding schedule.
Provide water for your scorpions. Scorpions love to drink and even immerse themselves in water, so keep a shallow container of fresh water in the enclosure at all times. Put a flat rock in the water container to help the scorpions climb out of the container after they bathe. Do not place the water container directly on top of the soil or fibre lining the enclosure, or it could injure a scorpion burrowing underneath it. Instead, anchor the container to a base mounted to the floor of the enclosure.
Allow the mother scorpion to do her job. Baby scorpions spend the first week or two of their lives riding on their mothers' backs, and mother scorpions help feed their young by crushing food for them. Young scorpions are usually moved into separate enclosures once they are old enough to move and feed independently, but if your enclosure is sufficiently large with enough covered hiding areas for multiple scorpions, they can be kept with their mother.
Tips and warnings
- Do not put used potting soil or soil from your garden in a scorpion enclosure. It can contain parasites or pesticides that may injure your scorpions.
- Microwave fresh, organic potting soil before putting it in a scorpion enclosure to kill off any possible parasites.
- Emperor scorpions have long gestation periods (nine to 11 months), so don't be surprised if a female scorpion you've had for a while presents you with babies.
- While emperor scorpions are not aggressive by nature and their venom is mild and not harmful to humans, they should be handled with caution, if handled at all.
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