When it comes to pet scorpions, one species has become extremely popular: the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator). Known for their sizable, impressive stature and relatively docile nature, Emperor Scorpions have become increasingly popular pets for those with a keen interest in the arachnid world. In this blog post, I’ll provide an in-depth guide to Emperor Scorpion care, based on my personal experience and extensive research.
Emperor Scorpions as Pets
Emperor Scorpions are one of the best options for first-time scorpion owners. They are generally more docile than other species, making them less likely to sting.
Their hardy nature and tolerance to a range of conditions also contribute to their suitability as pets. However, like all pets, they require a level of care and commitment to ensure their wellbeing.
They would my go-to suggestion for new keepers, but as with many arachnids, it’s important to remember that having one is a very long-term commitment.
Emperor Scorpion Size
As one of the largest scorpion species, adult Emperor Scorpions typically range between 6 to 8 inches in length. However, there have been instances where they’ve grown up to 9 inches.
If you’d like to learn more about how big they get, check out my article on Emperor Scorpion size.
Emperor Scorpion Tank Setup
Creating a comfortable and suitable environment for your Emperor Scorpion is essential. Here are some key elements to consider:
- Substrate: Use a deep layer (4-6 inches) of a mix of coconut fiber and sphagnum moss. This allows the scorpion to burrow, which is an essential part of its behavior.
- Hiding Places: Provide ample hiding spots using cork bark, hollow logs, or commercial reptile caves. Scorpions are nocturnal and appreciate dark places to retreat during the day.
- Plants: Live plants can help maintain humidity, but be sure they are non-toxic and pest-free. Plastic plants can also be used.
- Lighting: No special lighting is required, but a low-intensity light can help you observe your scorpion’s nighttime activities.
- Heat Source: A heating mat placed under one side of the tank can provide the necessary temperature gradient.
Emperor Scorpion Tank Size
For a single adult Emperor Scorpion, a 10-gallon tank usually suffices. However, if you’re planning on housing multiple scorpions, you’ll need to scale up proportionally and monitor them closely to avoid conflicts.
One thing I’ve noticed is that if you keep too many scorpions together, they get annoyed. Once this happens, they literally just start to eat each other!
Personally, I’d probably scale up the enclosure by an extra 5 gallons for every additional scorpion. So, for three adults I’d provide a 20 gallon tank (10gallon starting size + plus 5 gallons for scorpion 2, + 5 gallons for scorpion 3 = 20 gallons total).
Emperor Scorpions primarily feast on a diet of insects. They aren’t picky, but do tend to like things that are nice and active. Here are some options:
Always ensure the prey is appropriately sized – generally, no larger than half the size of the scorpion’s body.
Maintaining an optimal temperature gradient is essential. The warm side of the tank should be around 85°F (29°C), while the cooler side should be around 70-75°F (21-24°C). A good quality thermometer is a must to monitor these levels.
Personally, I only ever recommend using a 5 watt heat mat for scorpions, and mounting it to the side of their enclosure. This should be mounted to the side of the enclosure, not underneath!
Scorpions love to burrow, and if you put their heat mat under the enclosure your pet will probably burrow down to it, then sit there and heat up/dry out until it dies.
Humidity and Water
Emperor Scorpions require high humidity, ideally between 70-80%. This can be achieved by misting the tank daily and maintaining a water dish in the tank. The dish should be shallow to prevent drowning.
Emperor Scorpion Lifespan
The lifespan of an Emperor Scorpion can range from 5-8 years, with females usually outliving males. With proper care, they can sometimes live up to 9 years.
If I remember correctly, the one I had the longest died at 6 years old, and most hobbyists consider this to be pretty average.
Emperor Scorpion Venom Effects
While Emperor Scorpions are one of the larger scorpion species, their venom is not highly toxic to humans. A sting is often compared to a bee sting, with symptoms including localized pain, redness, and minor swelling.
Obviously, this species is generally considered “harmless”. Nonetheless, I take any sting seriously because of the risk, albeit small, of an allergic reaction.
Breeding Emperor Scorpions is a relatively complex process and is not recommended for beginners. It requires a deep understanding of their behavior, closely controlled environmental conditions, and the ability to safely handle offspring.
Emperor Scorpion for Sale and Price
The cost of an Emperor Scorpion can vary based on size and age but generally ranges from $20 to $60. They are usually available in pet stores, reptile expos, and online. Always ensure you purchase from reputable sources that prioritize animal welfare.
Caring for an Emperor Scorpion is a rewarding and fascinating experience, offering a glimpse into the captivating world of arachnids. However, as with any pet, it requires dedication and a commitment to their needs.
With this comprehensive guide, I hope you now feel equipped to take on the rewarding task of caring for these majestic creatures. Remember, the key to successful scorpion care lies in maintaining the right environment and providing a healthy diet – with these in check, your Emperor Scorpion will not just survive, but thrive.
Here’s a quick recap of the main points we’ve covered:
|Species||Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)|
|Size||6-8 inches (adults)|
|Ideal Tank Size||10 gallons (for one adult)|
|Temperature||Warm side: 85°F (29°C), Cool side: 70-75°F (21-24°C)|
|Diet||Insects (e.g., Crickets, Mealworms, Superworms, Roaches)|
|Lifespan||6-8 years (up to 9 with exceptional care)|
|Venom Effects||Similar to a bee sting: localized pain, redness, minor swelling|
|Price||Typically ranges from $20 to $60|
|Availability||Pet stores, reptile expos, reputable online sources|
Are emperor scorpions easy to take care of?
Emperor scorpions are very east to take care of so long as you keep them warm and humid enough. If you can keep them at the correct temperature and provide a humidity-holding substrate like coco coir, they will live for years.
Do emperor scorpions like being handled?
Most Emperor Scorpions are so docile that they really don’t seem to mind being handled. I wouldn’t really say they enjoy it, though. Their temperament varies, and whilst some are very docile, others are excessively shy. I kept one Emperor Scorpion for several years, and it was so shy that it didn’t eat in front of me once!
What do I need for emperor scorpion?
For an Emperor scorpion you a secure enclosure that is wider than tall, a hiding place or two, a water dish, and some substrate. If you live in a cool area, you will also need a source of warmth such as a small heat mat.
Do emperor scorpions need a heat lamp?
Scorpions do not need a heat lamp, and providing one could easily kill them by causing them to desiccate (dry out). So far, the only safe option that I know is a low-wattage heat mat. These should be mounted to the side of the enclosure, never underneath.