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Breeding Emperor Scorpions

Please see Part I and II of this article for information on scorpion natural history and further details on emperor scorpion care.

Emperor ScorpionThe captive reproduction of emperor scorpions is a most interesting endeavor (for hobbyists and, I imagine, the scorpions themselves!).  When properly housed and cared for, emperor scorpions are relatively easy to breed.  This is surprising, given that they are such unique and highly specialized creatures, and is an opportunity that should not be missed.  Many prominent invertebrate specialists started out with this species…keeping them is a wonderful way of becoming involved in invertebrate husbandry, and will almost certainly “hook” you for good.

Distinguishing the Sexes

In captivity, as within certain parts of the natural range, mating may occur during any month.  Adult females are longer and stouter than males, but this is not a reliable means of distinguishing the sexes.

There are some slight differences in the shape of the genital openings.  View the scorpions from below, in a clear plastic box, when attempting to sex in this manner – do not restrain them via hand or tongs.  Photos of the undersides of male and female emperor scorpions are posted at http://www.pandinusimperator.nl/EN/biology_EN.htm.

Courtship and Mating

Reproduction is most likely to occur if your scorpions are housed in a large terrarium that provides ample burrowing opportunities.  All species studied thus far perform a “mating dance”, with the pair locking claws and moving about.  It is theorized that this helps to clear a patch of ground for the deposition of the males’ sperm packet.  I imagine, but have not been able to determine for sure, that the specific dance “moves” also aid in species’ recognition among these nearly blind creatures (this is the case in “dancing” scorpion relatives, such as jumping spiders).

The male deposits a sperm packet on the ground and pulls the female over it (it is tempting here to draw analogies to salamander reproduction).  Hooks along the edges of the sperm packet latch onto the female’s genital opening, and the eggs are then fertilized internally.

Gestation and Birth

Gestation is highly variable, ranging from 7-10 months on average but sometimes exceeding 1 year.  It is likely that stress, temperature and other factors play a role in determining the length of the gestation period.

Females continue to feed while gravid, and may swell noticeably…when viewed from above, the carapace segments appear widely spaced, and seem ready to split apart (heavily-fed scorpions of either sex, however, may also appear gravid).

The young (sometimes called “scorplings”), 8-30 in number, are born alive and measure about 5/8 of an inch in length.  They are white in color and remain on the female’s back until their first moult, at which time they darken and begin to venture off on their own.  Once this occurs, they will readily accept ½ inch crickets, small waxworms, newly molted mealworms, wild-caught insects and canned silkworms.

Maternal Care of the Young

Female emperor scorpions feed their young with finely-shredded insects – this really is something to see.  By all means, try to do so by viewing yours at night with the aid of an incandescent “nocturnal” bulbThe degree of care they provide to their young is extraordinary, and is far greater than one might expect from such supposedly “primitive” creatures.  Even among those scorpions that exhibit social behavior, emperors stand out as being very advanced in this regard.

Caring for the Mother and Her Brood

Once the female has given birth, all other scorpions should be removed from the terrarium, as she will become highly aggressive and defensive.  Do not relocate the mother…this inevitably stresses her and may cause her to consume her young.

Females with young react aggressively to any disturbance, even occasionally grabbing and eating scorplings that become dislodged from their backs.  This is not an uncommon occurrence – do not remove the remaining young unless she begins eating them regularly, as the overall survival rate is improved when clutches are reared with their mother.  I have raised several clutches to adulthood with the mother present – the key lies in disturbing her as little as possible and in providing a deep, secure burrow.

I usually raise the terrarium’s temperature to 85-90 F when rearing young emperor scorpions – this may not be essential, but I have found it to work well.

Sexual maturity in the wild is reportedly reached in 4-7 years, but captives may breed when only 12-14 months of age.  Emperor scorpions under my care have reproduced at age 3 and 4 years.

The Woodland Park Zoo provides interesting information on emperor and other scorpions in nature and captivity at:

http://www.zoo.org/factsheets/scorpion/scorpion.html

447 comments

  1. avatar

    thanks frank! what do you suggest i feed the babies? Their skin is already turning black….
    -hans

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Crickets sold as “10-day old” “2 week old” or “1/8 inch” are easiest and seem to be enough if the crickets are fed well for a day or 2 before using. If possible, try also chopped earthworms, tiny waxworms and newly hatched silkworms (internet dealers sometimes stock). Leaf litter invertebrates are a great option is you have a pesticide-free collecting area available.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    hey frank,
    thanks for the reply. Is there something wrong with my emperor?? hes eaten 5 babies so far and i dont know why. hes hiding under the log but i saw 2 dead babies in there. is something wrong??
    thanks

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      It’s common for adults, even mothers, to consume an occasional youngster; usually a feeding-related accident. However, stress and factors we do not understand sometimes come into play, and the entire clutch can be consumed. Best to remove them to a separate enclosure at this point.

      Please let me know if you need any further information, and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    hi frank.
    so i should separate them already at this point?? the mother can still be very aggresive. how do you sugest i take them out?? thanks.
    -hans

    • avatar

      Thanks for the feedback; I might not be clear on the situation…if they are on her back, do not separate. You can remove any young that are walking about on their own. This is most easily done by herding them into a plastic container, using the container’s cover or a net to push them along. Do not free-handle. You can re-locate the mother in the same manner. Best to leave her in her own terrarium, as this would be less stressful to her; but if it’s too difficult to locate the young then perhaps move the female and leave the young in place.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    dear frank,
    thanks for your reply. will try do what you said. i wil givw you updates on what happened.
    thanks.

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks…anything you might observe or learn will be useful; I look forward to hearing from you.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    hi frank.
    overnight, three of my babies died again. i think that the humidity is too low. o tried to buy a hygrometer but there wasnt any stick left. please help me.
    thanks

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Sorry for the bad news. You can raise humidity by adding soaked sphagnum moss or a similar moss to the tank; covering most of the screen cover with plastic and spraying helps also; not a good to do long term, as ventilation is important, but perhaps worth a try to see if it helps the current situation.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    hi frank.
    theres only 6 babies left. i think also that the babies are going down from their mum 1 by 1. what should i do?
    thanks
    -hans

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      If the female is attacking them, she would likely consume them as well (I believe in your last post you mentioned finding dead youngsters); Unfortunately, sometimes a female’s first clutch does not survive, as happens with many types of animals. If they are on her back, it’s probably better to leave them, despite the risk; separate those that come off on their own.

      Please let me know if you need any further information,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    hi frank.
    only 4 of the scorpions are left, but they have successfully come down from their mothers backs. thank you very much for helping me. do you think i could buy another male and breed them again??
    thanks
    -hans

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Good to hear, thanks; I hope they do well. Breeding is quite draining on the female, so don’t rush to pair her again; scorpions can store sperm and so there is a chance she’ll bear young again in time. Captivity seems to throw off the normal sequence of reproduction, so that the time between successful matings varies greatly. I would wait 4-6 months, although others have had success with shorter intervals. Hard to be sure what’s going on when the pair is kept together, so rules are difficult to formulate.

      Bear in mind that not all will get along, so always have a separate enclosure ready for a potential new mate, and introduce them at night when you can watch for aggression. A night viewing bulb will be helpful in this regard.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    hello frank.
    thanks for everything. will keep you posted. 🙂
    -hans

  9. avatar

    hi frank, can i feed the baby scorpions chopped adult mealworms?? the pet store ran out if stock with the small ones and also with the crickets.
    thanks

    • avatar

      Thanks for the kind words, glad to be of help. They may take them…moving the pieces about with a long-handled tongs may help. Small earthworms are useful also if available.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  10. avatar

    Dear frank I have a most intruiging question to ask you requiring your expertise, do males or females mature faster than the other because already some of my newly less than week old scorplings have started to darken up a bit but mostly in the cranial area of the exoskeleton which appears like a black blot

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks…good question. In the wild they take 3-7 years to reach sexually maturity, but growth can be much faster in captivity; captives have reproduced at 12 months of age. The sexes seem to mature at the same rate, but there are few detailed studies. It;\’s not possible to distinguish the sexes until they reach adulthood. Please keep notes…we have much to learn.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    I have an update of the most tragic news my new mother passed away I believe today as I was inspecting leaving six orphans I don’t know if it was stress or because she was trapped under a rock where was space but her tail was lying flat and shortly after I removed her by hand she was lifeless the inftants are not a week old what should I do Mr Inviglio I need emergency help! My first brood died off shortly not long ago 🙁

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Sorry to hear the bad news…unfortunately, birthing takes a great deal out of the female; young ones, or those with underlying problems that might not be obvious, often do not survive.

      Try 10-day old crickets if available, and crushed crickets as well. Tiny leaf-litter invertebrates collected from pesticide free areas are also worthwhile. A great variety can be found almost anywhere (I’ve collected from apartment building rooftop leaf-piles in NYC!). Please check out this article for some details.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  12. avatar

    Frank I am not sure I can feed them they aren’t old enough to walk on their own their still like infants as a child not capable of feeding themselves what should I do? I don’t have a mature male to mate them with and this is most terrible will they survive if not that old enough? I have them in a container with coco fiber dampened with a ventilated top on it under the red light in the tank so as not to directly heat them but they are still very much embryo stage with their yolk sacs still on them I think maybe she still had embryos in which she could not deliver this is quite a sad day 🙁

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Sorry…I didn’t realize they were that young. Unfortunately, there is no way to feed them at this point. Keep them as you described; there’s always a chance that they may absorb the yolks and gain some strength in that way, but, sadly, they will not likely survive.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Hello Frank & James BradPitbull here.

    It is very devastating for us hobbyist to lose a pet. Just a suggestion it already happened to me before that my female died before the scorplings reached their 2nd instar molt. What I did is in a clear delicup I put a moist paper towel and rehoused each scorplings individually. With this I was able to save 8 out of 10 scorplings.

    • avatar

      Hello Brad, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for very much for this most useful information; I’ll email James directly as well so that he is sure to see it.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  14. avatar

    Hi Frank, BradPitbull here.

    I almost forgot to include that he should monitor the humidity of each delicups and also maintain the moistness of the paper towels. It is essential that the paper towel not to be left dry.

  15. avatar

    Dear frank and Brad thank you for the infortmation but since I have a housing for them what do I use to keep them warm? Do I put them under a heat light far below it or next to it or in subtle room temperature because they need 90 degrees to survive to help aid with digestion and break down fatty stored deposits in their yolk sacs

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      You’ll need to experiment, as placement will depend on lamp wattage, room temp, etc…main point is to avoid over-drying. Incandescent bulbs dry substrates quickly, so you may need to mist them often.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  16. avatar

    hello frank.
    My babies accepted the chopped mealworms (cut with scissors OYEA)….
    maybe they have nothung to eat and just take them during desperate times…. hahaha will keep you updated.
    -hans

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Good to hear…food does taste better when one is hungry! Actually, we’re finding that even some spiders will act as scavengers and take dead prey on occasion, so always worth experimenting.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    Dear Frank latest update on the orphans, today of the 5 children 1 has already made it to first molt *cheers*! I do have an interesting question that has my mind intrigued when they are born alive I always notice that some have detracted mouth parts or distended chelicerae is this common in birth and as they molt and darken up will it start to retract? Also have you ever had any babies or seen any that were born with a dark spot where the lateral or medial eyes are?

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks, good news and very impressive as many do not make it when the female expires. I hope it continues to go well.

      I have noticed that newborns seem a bit “off”, in shape sometimes; the exoskeleton is not very hard at this point, which may have something to do with it. I’ve seen variations in color, spots, etc. but not exactly what you describe; good to keep notes, you never k now what will turn up by way of new info.
      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  18. avatar

    Latest development and news today one of the 3 spotted scorplings didn’t make it through molt and I feared I killed one lastnight by lowering the heat lamp to low so 2 of the original 5 did not make it although the one was a fighter still and was still moving a bit even though its legs were not moving after successful attempt at removing the old skin from the 2nd one still no movement they are now being recycled by the crickets, Dear Frank when molting do they appear to be dead before they shed the old skin?

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      It probably has nothing to do with the temperature change. The time before and during a molt is extremely hard on all inverts, even those in the best of condition…they must produce a new exoskeleton, build up fluid to burst the old, harden the new, etc….deaths are very common, especially when all is not otherwise well. Do watch that the bulb does not dry out the container, as high humidity is very important at molting time.

      Please let me know if you need any further information.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    hello frank!
    the fouur babies grow up so fast! they are already black and are very helthy (i think.)
    but the bad news is that the mother just passed away…
    i have noticed that for about a week the mother’s tail has been always down sideways and doesnt bring it up.
    do you think there is some kind of disease or she just died of old age?? thanks.

    -hans

    • avatar

      Hello Hans, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the update; good to hear about the young. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to access the female’s problem, and the symptoms she had are typical of so many problems. Giving birth is tremendously draining and tends to bring out underlying problems that may have been minor until the stress of pregnancy. Young and older females also tend to have trouble, but unless the animal is captive born there’s no way to determine age accurately. Good luck with the new ones, please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  20. avatar

    Dear Frank I have an intriguing question is it possible for a subadult female scorpion to have mated with a male and be pregnant? My subadult female looks as if she has children inside her I can see white spaces down the top of her tergites and her plates are quite largely spaced apart on top of that before she looked somewhat cloudy like a mottled brown in her facial area but her exoskeleton is not dull or cloudy its shiny.

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the interesting question. In the wild, emperor scorpions may take 3-4 years to reach sexual maturity; growth rate depends upon climate, diet and other factors. Captives generally eat more food often and grow quicker than wild individuals and may reproduce when only 12 months of age, or perhaps even younger.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    Dear Frank I may have interesting insight to how to tell if scorpion is ill or has health issues or getting ready to die, right before my pregnant female died I had noticed her having tremors with her pedipalps like they would lightly shake or couldn’t keep them study well one of the babies who molted with the black spot is now doing that and isn’t really eating either and its head is different than the other two who are healthily eating

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for passing that along; I’ll keep your observation in mind for future reference.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  22. avatar

    Dear Frank I have a curious question the one scorpling that had the dark patch seems to have a problem with its one chelicerae where it can’t chew well is there anything that can be done about it or will it be fine next molt? Also its not as dark as its 2 brothers or sisters I have had no choice but to hand feed it because it can’t chew well or eat good

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Structural problems do often clear up with successive molts; be sure to keep humidity high, as this will facilitate a quick, normal molt. If it looks as though the problem will be long term, you can eventually wean the animal onto dead or injured prey. I hope it works out; my compliments on your efforts and dedication.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Hello my good friend Frank I hope all is well since we last conversated I am well myself however my city and county and surrounding areas didn’t do well with the constant rainfall last week, I have some interesting notes on hand that might be of some use from my observations, first some bad news my most recent pandinus imperator clutch is down to one fiesty scorpling and its not the one I was trying to hand feed but a healthier one, good news is on the note of hadogenes paucidens it seems the pair I have prefer temperatures of about 90-100+ F which is about 10-20 degrees higher than my book says my male prefers super tenebrio larvaes while the female is reluctant on crickets and sometimes mealworms however that is fascinating to know they prefer it really hot like dry and they eat better that way and stay in their home but my book says they need an arid/grassland/savannah setup how would I do that and use ceramic tiles with tamped sand or would small aquarium gravel work?

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Nice to from you again. Thanks for the interesting info. Most of the information we have re temperature preferences is general, so it’s good to have your specific observations. Over a species range, certain populations will be adapted to warmer or cooler conditions than average; also, temperatures are rarely stable in most habitats – looking at climate info (climate research sources would be better than scorpion books) for Hadogene’s range may help you to vary temps a bit; this may help stimulate breeding

      A sand – gravel mix with rock or ceramic retreats should work well.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  24. avatar

    Dear Frank nice to talk to you again I have some insightful information on how to tell if a scorpion is molting or not and being gravid or obese. I found it out by checking on my juvenile emperor subadult scorpion the way to distinguish its going to molt shortly is the coloration of the tergites and its lateral or medial eyes as I was using the flashlight on my cell phone to check on them without illuminating the whole room I noticed the shell getting cloudy as you would say and the eyes were white as if like there was no real eyes in them but a shell of what they were like after you find a molt so I help this if helpful in studies
    James

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the most interesting observation. You could be onto something there…a change in the appearance of the eyes might make sense, as is observed in snakes. I’ll keep the info handy and let you know if I hear anything similar from others.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    My dearest friend Frank and also mentor I have exciting news to tell you and everyone else not soon after I have spoke to you about the status of my pandinus imperator looking as it was going to molt but just lastnight or 2 days ago she finally molted! I can now confirm that went an exotherm or cold blooded animal or anything that molts a new skin or body has cloudy eyes means it is due to molt soon and it did and is a beautiful yet bigger invert who has already started to darken up when I found her she was not fresh white but had hardened up enough to be able to walk around with no problems and is starting to harden her shell.

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the kind words and update. Very glad to hear that you are keeping notes on such things. Perhaps in time you can look into molting in other scorpion species; plenty of work needed on these interesting creatures.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  26. avatar

    Well my Asian Forest Scorpions appear to be very communal creatures. The female had a brood 11 months ago, over the winter I thought we had lost the babies as it had gotten fairly cold. The tank is fairly overgrown with live plants and the floor medium is sphagnum and ecoearth so great for burrows. We have (so far) discovered 5 babies that are alive and well as is our female. Just thought I would update!

    • avatar

      Hello Cyndi, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the update; glad to hear it. Planted terrariums with lots of cover are usually best – lets the animals spread out, reduces aggression. Watch that they do not need more room as they grow, but sounds like you’ll have a good group there. Should provide for some interesting observations in time, I’ll bet.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  27. avatar

    Hello Frank after seeing cyndis post what type of natural plants or natural decor would be good to use without needing daylight and can be under a heat lamp? Curious.

    • avatar

      Hello James, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Earth Stars (Cryptanthus) are great for invert tanks; they are various shades of green to red when given light, fade to tan/brown without but do not die even after months of little light. Can take heat/dry and fairly moist conditions.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  28. avatar

    We use some plants from the Cryptanthus species along with a few other bromeliads, but pothos basic generic pothos are my favorite for high humidity terrariums. They will last months with low light but I do light my tanks for several hours most days- we custom make lids of hinged glass with ventilation screens so humidity is not and issue.

    We are debating leaving them as a communal family or seperating into pairs…we have caught 3 of the babies and seperated them and fed them. I do see one very small one that I can not yet get to- that one we will definitely take out of the mix.

    • avatar

      Hello Cyndi, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the idea…yes, pothos is a great one. I also use it for a variety of amphibians, even as an “emergent plant”.

      Groups do not always work out in captivity, even for species that are communal in the wild; but great to observe an established group; we still have much to learn.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  29. avatar

    Hello my good friend Frank I’d like to talk about a whole different species of animal more specifically fire bellied toads what is the best setup to use for them where they can even reproduce in the tank I have heard and seen many different setups but being your the herpetologist perhaps you can tell me

    • avatar

      Hello James,

      Nice to hear from you again; great frogs to keep…one of the most active and interesting in my opinion. They are quite aquatic, spending much time floating about but need floating plants and/or turtle rafts, cork bark, etc. on which to rest. I find turtle piers useful as feeding stations…prevent earthworms, waxworms from drowning; crickets usually do fine clinging to plants.

      Please check out this article on breeding and rearing the tadpoles,

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  30. avatar

    Hello again Frank I also have another question about a reptile what is the most appropiate setup for crested geckos?

    • avatar

      Hello James,

      I’m planning to post an article shortly; here is another with some very good info. Please check it out and write back so we can go over the details when you are ready to get started.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  31. avatar

    Dear frank it has been awhile and hope all is well everything is fine here my fellow colleague I had just lost my male hadogenes paucidens apparently he lived his long life but left offspring to follow for his death but the real reason I’m contacting you is the recent acquirement I purchased today which I believe to be the famous Thai Giant Scorpion I believe to be a male hence the broken aculeus exciting as it is its mostly distunguished by its smooth ungranulated chelae do you have any insight on this species?

    • avatar

      Hello James,

      Nice to hear from you again.

      The scorpion sold under that common name is usually Heteromitrus laoticus. They tend to be high strung and we do not know much about their venom,. so be careful. You can keep it as described for other Asian Forest Scorpions in that genus. They may live in groups, but it can be difficult to introduce them to one another unless they have already been living together.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  32. avatar

    Dear Frank I have found a website about the species that seems beneficial please let me know if this helps: http://scorpionidae.blogspot.com/p/species-info.html?m=1
    Seems they are defensive. They are also from Vietnam.

    • avatar

      Hello James,

      Thanks for the update; information is sound; I’m not in favor of rating scorpion venoms in terms of toxicity, as we know little about individual’s reactions to their venom, and treatment is not nearly advanced as for venomous snakes. Young will adjust better to captivity if born there, but cannot be trusted or considered docile.

      Here’s an abstract of possible medicinal uses for their venom, and an article concerning sexual dimorphism; hope you find them of interest.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  33. avatar
    Jotkan(Sacaledus)

    Hey Frank, Been awhile since my last report. Mom and offspring are thriving. Have a couple runts but for the most part the juveniles are looking great. My Fiancee posed a great question. With the # of Scorpions we have, Mom and her 10 offspring, what is a sufficient enclosure size also, with sexing being a somewhat difficult task. Is inbreeding a problem. Should we seperate them at all? Your advice is greatly appreciated

    • avatar

      Hello

      Thanks for the update…great news.

      Inbreeding seems to be far less of a concern with invertebrates than with mammals and birds; Emperors tend to stay in family groups in the wild; there is some mixing, no doubt. As they mature, you might try adding new individuals, but some inbreeding often occurs in zoos and seems not to cause problems.

      As they grow, aggression can occur if they are crowded. A 55 gallon could accommodate the group once they are all fully grown, esp. if deep substrate and numerous caves, cork bark pieces etc. are provided. They tolerate more crowding when small…please remind me of the size of your current tank and the set-up when you have a moment.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  34. avatar

    Neato article ! I just grabbed 2.3 group of this ” beef cake ” scorpions. I would like to grab up more and start a captive reproduction and conservation of them. I hear through the grapevines that these particular scorpions are about to be protected and no longer imported.

    • avatar

      Hello Reggie

      Thanks for your interest and the kind words. It’s a good species to work with; keep extra tanks on hand, as not all will get along. It may be difficult to introduce new individuals to an established group.

      They are currently listed on Cites II, which calls for monitoring but does not restrict trade; I’ve not heard of impending restrictions, but will keep an eye out for info; please let me know if you hear anything, much appreciated.

      This article and those linked within might interest you.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  35. avatar

    Does anybody know about the yellow palestein scorpion? I have been offered one by a freind and don’t know very much about them.

    • avatar

      Hello

      Thanks for your interest. There are a few scorpion species that appear in the pet trade under that name….All are dangerously venomous and should not be kept in captivity. Their venoms are complex and not well-studied; human fatalities are common. Antivenin is not readily available, and has not been approved for use in the USA. The most commonly seen species is Leiurus quinquestriatus, but there are many similar species….any small scorpion form the Middle East should be considered capable of killing a person, and should not be kept in captivity. Unfortunately, several are regularly sold, leading buyers to believe that they are not dangerous.

      Your friend would be well-advised to contact a local zoo or the appropriate governmental wildlife agency for guidance.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  36. avatar

    I really enjoyed the article I have 3 emperor scorpions that i just got for christmas and we keep them at my music store the customers love to look at them and yesterday I came in to find that 1 had babies I didn’t even know she was pregnant we had to have gotten her while she was already pregnant since i’ve only have her 2 1/2 months and i’m kinda freaking out she has eaten 2 of the 5 shes had so far one got cought up with a cricket but shes just eating one now i seen that that’s nowt uncomon and she is a bit stressed we had to seperate the tank so the others can’t get to her and I had just put this weeks crickets in with them so we had to catch all of them too…poor thing she’s really stressed I wanted to ask if I should be concerened that she’s just gonna keep eating them or will she calm down now that she’s seperated and what do i do about feeding her please help any advise would be great
    Thanks

    • avatar

      Hello Catt

      Thanks for your interest and the kind words. Stress is involved as you’ve gathered. Giving her as much room as possible, with lots of hiding spots, is best; if you’ve split the tank with a divider (not sure from your note) consider setting the others up in another tank, so that the female can have all of the original tank to herself. Best also to remove the tank to a dark, undisturbed area; they sense vibrations with minute hairs…being in the store itself would be stressful. Music vibrations in air as well, if that occurs.

      5 is a small clutch…she may produce more (they can put “a hold” on the process if all is not right); small females and first time mothers may produce small clutches also. Warmth and extra humidity impt, as young dessicate easily.

      Try feeding her with a long-handled tong; this may help to lessen accidental cannibalism; be sure to move slowly around her when feeding; watch vibrations (tank top, etc.) as well.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  37. avatar

    I bought 2 emporers in Dec they were shipped to the petstore together where I picked them up still in shipping container. I put them in a 25 gal tank with an anole. In the tank 6″ of coconut husk a live plant and a large rock. It is lit with a 60w halogen. Temp is 70-85 humidity is 80. Crickets and mealworms are breeding in tank and occasionally put in wild caught bugs. Mist twice a day aprox 5 oz each time. Create weather by turning off light occasionally followed by a drench then a few days of no mist to dry out. Lizard has branches that do not get near ground so scorpes cannot reach him though he occasionally jumps down to grab food. It has been effective for 6 months and counting everybody is fat and happy. The 2 scorpes appear to be male and female based on size. Have not cleaned tank since the critters and plants seem to do it for me 🙂 . I see the scorpes most days (they come out when it is quiet). Only odd thing is that the scorpes are a medium green when you look at them with a blue white led flashlight. Once in awhile some fungal “roots” appear on glass but the “mites” congregate and the next day its gone. Also some earthworms from time to time are added. The female seems gravid (has looked like she’s about to burst at the seams since Feb) also seems to be the more active of the two.

    • avatar

      Hi Kris,

      Thanks for the most interesting note; sounds like you have a nice little system going there. Some of my favorite tanks and exhibits have been similar – lots of scavengers and plants, etc. Very good to alter “weather” as you mention. Good sign that they are staying together. One caution – scorpions are soft after molting; adult crickets and (possibly) mealworms may attack them at this point. Usually only a problem if insect population is high; some fruit or fish flakes will distract crickets. Sowbugs are great scavengers and sometimes eaten, and are safe, as are earthworms.

      Re the flashlight – Scorpions have fluorescent chemicals in the exoskeleton, which causes them to glow under certain wavelengths of light – strongest effect under blacklight. Still not known exactly what role this plays in their natural history. I’ve done a few zoo exhibits using blacklight…amazing effects (should be related videos on YouTube).

      Hope they breed; enjoy and please keep me posted, Best, Frank

  38. avatar

    I’ve blacklit these guys and its a way different color. Blacklit these guys are a bright glow-in-the-dark green/blue. What the led does is make it a dark medium green, more like an olive green, but darker, and not fluorescent. A subspecies maybe?

    • avatar

      Hi Kris,

      Thanks for the feedback; different wavelengths of light have different effects. Seems to vary among the species, but no real research, as far as I know, has been done on relating this to species ID, except in a very general way. Great work for someone…

      Best, Frank

  39. avatar

    Are they nypmhs (is that the right term?) fully formed when they’re born? My female had 4 of them on her back this morning when I got up, she’s produced another since I left for work. But when I look at them, it looks like they don’t have tails. Then again, I was trying not to stress her out, and left her alone.

    • avatar

      Hi Todd,

      They are fully formed, but the tails are small and usually curled tightly over the back for the first few days. Best not to disturb, as you mentioned. You’ll see “nymph’ used, but technically they are just young scorpions, no distinct name such as larvae, etc.

      Enjoy and pl keep me posted, Best, Frank

  40. avatar

    i had a question about how to feed the baby’s after there first mult. i separated them from there mother after they themselves separated from there mother. and now im interested on how i should feed them. should i kill crickets and place them in front of them because there so small and week looking i worry even a pin head cricket could hurt them. they are curentry only on there 1st mult. so they are still clear and very small.

    • avatar

      Hi Russel,

      Pinheads and 10 day old crickets are the standard diet for youngsters, and will not harm them. Some young will be weaker than others, and there will always be some losses, but not due to crickets. When scorpions are soft, just after molting, larger crickets sometimes attack them, but this does not happen with pinheads. keeping a bit of fruit and tropical fish flakes in the tank will keep crickets full and away from molting scorpions. Good luck and please keep me posted, Frank

  41. avatar

    im doing the crickets and they only seam to be running from them. i have not seen any of them eat at all. do you know why they may not be hunting. they have only molted one time. will thy be more prone to hunt there own food after there 2nd? they wonder around and huddle. but i never see them eat and there food is never gon. can they get to there 2nd molt before starving?

    • avatar

      Hi Russell,

      They normally begin to feed sometime after the first molt; they rely on stored nutrients for a time, and will begin feeding once these are depleted. Be sure their enclosure is very humid, as they cannot control water loss well, warm (85-90F) and that there are plenty of places to side. A shallow, easily exited water dish (i.e. petri dish with gravel) should be available.

      Assuming they are in good health and are housed properly, they should begin to feed when necessary.

      Best,. Frank

  42. avatar

    Hey Frank! When do emperor scorpions usually reach adulthood?

    • avatar

      Hi John,

      In captivity, they can reach adult size by age 10-12 months, and are often ready to breed at 12-14 months. however this varies greatly, and is affected by diet, temperature, stress levels and even the origin of the scorpions or their ancestors…they have a wide natural range, and different wild populations grow at different rates. Some wild populations are believed to take 4-7 years to reach sexual maturity.

      Please let me know if you need more info, enjoy, Frank

  43. avatar

    Thanks for replying quickly Mr. Frank! I am a big fan of you, and you’ve given me a lot of help. I also admire you because you’ve been helping people a lot. Right now I am truly in need of help. I don’t have a problem if you don’t think you can help, but if you could, please do your best to give me advices. I am here in Liberia, West Africa, and I am trying to collect emperor scorpions in both sexes so that I can breed them in captivity. I do not wish on collecting more wild emperor scorpions as it may reduce their population. Most of the people in this country consider them dangerous because of the rumors and stories they have heard, and perhaps because they have never studied about it. The country is not very well developed and some of them are not educated enough, which leads them to kill the scorpions around here. The problem right now is that I may have to find two adults with both male and female because I currently have one male non-adult that has not yet reached sexual maturity. I have a big interest with scorpions and invertebrates. I’m also confused of what the venom of wild emperor scorpions can do. Can it really kill a human being? They told me that the venom could travel through the heart and then you just die. Of course I can’t just believe in such stories, so I thought about asking an expert like you. Please help if you can Mr. Frank, thanks in advance!

    • avatar

      Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated; glad I could be of some use.

      Emperor Scorpion venom is not considered to be dangerous to people; however, there is always the chance of an allergic reaction. If a person is allergic to a compound in the venom (scorpion venom is very complex) then a serious reaction or even death could occur, just as sometimes happens with bee or wasp stings.

      In regions with many different types of scorpions (or venomous snakes), children are often taught to avoid and/or fear all species. This is generally a safer route than learning to identify dangerous/harmless species. This holds true, I have seen, in much of South America, and I believe in parts of Africa as well. Here in the USA, people in the Northeast, where there are only 3 venomous species (all rare and easy to identify), there is not very much fear of snakes. In the rural parts of the south, where there are a number of venomous snake (and scorpions), many people fear and/or kill all on sight. I always advise people never to touch scorpions with bare hands, no matter what species is involved. Enjoy, good luck and please keep me posted..very interesting for readers in US to have your thoughts and reports from Liberia. best regards, Frank

  44. avatar

    I see, but is there any way to prove that you’re allergic except being stung by the actual scorpion? I just want to make sure, not because I want to handle it. I strongly agree with you about not touching scorpions with bare hands no matter what species is involved haha :). Thanks a lot Mr. Frank. I’ve read almost all of the comments along with the answers of this article; emperor scorpions’ are very interesting indeed. I hope that their population will not go very low in this country someday.

    • avatar

      I do not know of any tests that can determine if someone is allergic to scorpion venom; there are such tests for other allergies – food, pollen, etc., but we know very little about the actual composition of scorpion venom in generasl. Several are being investigated for use as medicines, as many of the chemicals found within them are unique and unstudied. Good luck in all, please keep me posted (and be careful!), best, Frank

  45. avatar

    Hi Frank. I was wondering what kind of light I should use for heating and lighting my scorpions enclosure. I have a female Hadrurus arizonensis. Is IR light bad for her in any way? Thank you!

  46. avatar

    Hello Frank, I have 2 adult emperor scorpions of the 5 that I had originally bought. over the years they had bred and I have about 12 one year old scorpions they are about 1-2 inches in length. The tank I have the adults in is very large and I wanted to put the young ones with the 2 adults.
    Can this be done or will the adults eat the younger ones. I always keep my scorpions well fed. I do not want to loose any of the brood.
    Thank you!!!

    • avatar

      Hi Paul,

      Their social behavior is not well understood, unfortunately. They get along usually, if all raised together (female with young)..in the wild, males would also be present. But things change in captivity; also, after a period of separation it can be risky to reintroduce. Even among groups that get along, adults stimulated by the presence of food sometimes grab youngsters and consume them. Best to raise the young ones separately…they may be fine for weeks, then one will be eaten, etc. Best, Frank

  47. avatar

    i i didnt no my scorpion was pregnant she had 7 but got two the last one soon as it left her back i took my chance and taken it out and set up a tank for him/her not sure what to feed it i put a tiny cricket in but scorp keeps running maybe took scorp away to early? but ive crippled the crcket so it cant run if it dies will they eat it are they scavengers think ive heard they are?

    • avatar

      Hi Peter,

      Congats! They do best if left with the female, but some females become stressed and consume the young. It will not feed until after the first molt. Until then, be sure to keep moist and provide hiding spots as they desiccate easily. 10-day old crickets are the best food to start with…not all pet stores carry, so you may need to order on line. You can also collect leaf litter invertebrates or sweep through tall grass with a net to find tiny grasshoppers, ahpids, etc.

      Please let me know if you need more info, best, Frank

  48. avatar

    any idea how long it is till there first molt?

    • avatar

      Usually 7-10 days, but this can vary in either direction; they are well stocked with nutrients when born, so no need to be overly concerned about feeding exactly on time. best, Frank

  49. avatar

    do they remain white even after first molt or will they change black?

  50. avatar

    thx for the help I will let u no its fate in time

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.

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