Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.
The basic care of this scorpion parallels that which I described for emperor scorpions in the article Scorpions in Captivity – An Overview of Popular Species; Part II: The Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator). I’ll highlight species-specific information below.
South African Rock Scorpion, Hadogenes troglodytes
Ranging throughout much of southern Africa, this scorpion giant (7.5 to 8.5 inches in length) is always found in association with rocky places, especially the savannah-based outcroppings know as kopjes. A thoroughly flattened body suits it especially well for climbing among and hiding within rock piles, a habitat it shares with the similarly-shaped flat rock lizards (Platysuarus spp.) and pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri).
Rock scorpions vary greatly in color from population to population, and usually closely match the rocks of their habitat in hue. Tan, reddish, brown, olive and yellow specimens, and a variety of shades in-between, all appear in the pet trade from time to time.
In captivity, they should be supplied with ample climbing opportunities in the form of rock piles and plastic reptile shelters and caves. If you use natural rocks, be sure to place the base of the pile directly upon the terrarium floor, not on sand, so that the scorpions do not burrow below and become crushed. Repti sand makes a fine substrate.
The rock scorpion terrarium should be kept dry, with a light spraying of water once every 3-4 days being enough to supply their moisture requirements. A water bowl is not necessary.
Rock scorpions are rather shy and high strung, much more so than their more commonly-kept relative, the emperor scorpion. They will not thrive if forced to remain exposed. Given secure shelters, however, they readily settle into captive life and may very well reproduce once habituated. They are fairly slow-moving and seem to rely mainly upon their claws for defense. Their venom is not considered to be dangerous to healthy adults.
A number of other scorpions do quite well in captivity, including US natives such as the Arizona hairy and Florida bark scorpions. I’ll cover these and others in the future. Until then, please write in with your questions and comments. Thanks, Frank Indiviglio.
An American Museum of Natural History field report detailing Hadogenes natural history and the description of 2 new species is posted at: