Scorpion

 

Home
Up

 

 

Range: Africa, Togo, Benin, Ghana

Habitat: RainForest regions, western Africa

Natural Diet: Insects, Small Vertebrate

Diet at RainForest: Crickets

Size: 6-8"'   Largest living Scorpion Species

RainForest Facts: Common belief holds that the scorpion is a deadly animal, Hollywood and urban myths have perpetuated this belief.  The truth is the sting of the vast majority of scorpions is equivalent to a bee sting.  While there are a handful of scorpions capable of delivering a serious sting, they are generally not found in close proximity to human habitation.

A frequently kept pet in the United States this Scorpion species has found it's way into many U.S. homes.  Captive care information is available from RainForest Adventures

Some of the oldest living creatures on the earth today are the Scorpions; they have existed on our planet for over three hundred million years. 

These creatures have gone largely unchanged in form and size for the vast majority of that time.   When looking at a giant Emperor Scorpion today you are looking at almost exactly what the dinosaurs saw!

Closely related to the spiders these creatures resemble crabs more closely than they do their close cousins. 

In the United States virtually all Scorpion species live west of the Mississippi River.  The largest species of Scorpion known today is he Emperor Scorpion of West Africa.  This animal is a forest dweller and is found in very hot humid rainforest environments.  These giants reach a length of almost 8Ē and a weight of close to two ounces. 

A surprisingly shy animal the Emperor Scorpion often burrows in the loose leaf litter of itís jungle home.  Their diet in the wild is extensive and includes virtually all invertebrates unlucky enough to be discovered by these giants of the forest floor.  Even small vertebrates like small mice are consumed by these powerful predators. 

Their natural lifespan in the wild is unknown but believed to be roughly 2 years on average, quite a long lifespan for such a small animal. 

Females and male Scorpions look similar in size and color.  Where habitat is suitable several of these creatures can be found in a small geographical area.

 

Status in Wild: Declining due to over collection for the pet trade as well as loss of rainforest habitat.

 

 

 

CAPTIVE CARE INFORMATION

Not surprisingly these giants of the Scorpion world are often kept around the globe as pets.  The care and husbandry of these amazing creatures is remarkably simple.  In fact it is not uncommon for these creatures to be so well cared for that they will actually reproduce in captivity. 

Housing your Scorpion requires a minimum of a 10 gallon aquarium that will receive approximately 2-4 inches of a loam potting soil or loose mulch.  This species is often encountered in the wild living under rocks or fallen trees, the ability for the Scorpion to burrow under itís cage substrate is important to not only the stress factor for the animal but the humidity control as well.  This species prefers warm, almost hot, humid enclosures. 

RainForest Adventures favors using artificial foliage in the Scorpions enclosures as exposure to bright light required to maintain live plants is detrimental to your Scorpion.  UV in particular, the spectrum found in plant lights, has proven to be very harmful to Scorpions.  In order to avoid any additional stress on the animals we utilize the artificial plants combined with real driftwood or other naturally occurring artifacts to provide interest to the Scorpions exhibit.

Temperatures during the day are allowed to climb into the low to mid 80ís with nighttime temperatures not dropping below 70 degrees.  Humidity is always maintained in the 80-90% range.   

In the wild, scorpions eat a variety of invertebrates (insects, other arthropods) and vertebrates including small lizards. In captivity, they seem to do fine with a diet primarily of crickets, supplemented with other insects such as mealworms and moths. An adult emperor will only need 3 -6 adult crickets per week (feed every other day or so). The crickets should be fed a nutritious diet so that the nutritional value is passed on the the scorpions, and the crickets can be dusted with a quality reptile vitamin/mineral supplement every few feedings. Feed at night to replicate the conditions under which scorpions would naturally feed 

Breeding emperor scorpions is relatively easy.  The size of the females brood may be as high as twenty young, normally they have 8-12.   .
When the mating begins the male will secure the female by grabbing her with his pincers.  A type of ďdanceĒ will occur for several minutes.  The male will deposit a stick of sperm on the floor which he then pulls the female over.  The female Scorpion will then lower herself down to take up the stick into her genital opening. The length of pregnancy varies and can be anything from three to eight months. Once born the young stay on the mothers back for around three weeks before venturing about, but always staying close to the adult female.  Females with young are separated from other adults until the babies are very well established.  Adults will often eat young scorpions that are left unattended by a female.
 

Molting is a critical part of a scorpionís life, & conditions need to be just right. If the humidity is to low, the old exoskeleton will not soften enough to allow it to rupture; if it's too high the exoskeleton becomes too soft & elasticized to rupture. It takes around seven molts over several years for an emperor to reach sexual maturity. During the molting process, the new exoskeleton is secreted by the old exoskeleton, the blood pressure rises at one point causing the cuticle to rupture on the sides & front allowing the scorpion to pull itself out. Emperors are very pale in color after molting but, as the new exoskeleton hardens it regains its normal dark color.