Proper Emperor Scorpion care means giving your pet scorpion the environment and maintenance it needs to thrive. This species is the most universally recommended scorpion for beginner keepers. These are great for first-timers due to their docile nature and classic, black scorpion look.
Scorpions are arthropods with eight legs, two pincer-like appendages called pedipalps, and a venom-injecting pointed tail, which sources its venom through two glands called the telson. These species do not have bones, rather, they have exoskeletons made of chitin, a substance that is the same as the shell of a shrimp.
If you are looking for a docile scorpion that looks cool and makes a good pet, look no further than the Emperor Scorpion.
You should, however, prepare yourself for your new pet by educating yourself on what is needed to properly raise them. That way, they can live a long, happy, healthy life with you.
Emperor Scorpion Facts
- Experience Level: Beginner
- Scientific Name: Pandinus imperator
- Family: Scorpionidae
- Size: 6 to 8 inches
- Weight: 1 to 2 ounces
- Diet: Carnivorous
- Lifespan: 6 to 8 years
These scorpions will glow green or blue under ultraviolet lights, which makes them look awesome in an enclosure with blacklights.
They are one of the largest species of scorpion in the world.
Emperor Scorpion Appearance
When you think of a basic scorpion, this is how the Emperor Scorpion looks.
These shiny, stout, black, or dark brown scorpions showcase broad, bumpy pincers which might sometimes be brownish-red or just lighter in color than the rest of them.
They are definitely interesting-looking creatures with a cool mix of shrimp or crab-like appearances but they have their own unique look.
Emperor Scorpion Location and Natural Habitat
Hailing from the rainforests and savannas of Western Africa, these scorpions enjoy hot, humid weather.
They typically like to burrow in the soil or might even take over a termite mound. They will also be found hiding beneath rocks or other debris.
Emperor Scorpion Diet
In the wild, they primarily feed on insects as well as other invertebrates.
A large portion of their diet is termites since they enjoy burrowing through their mounds to hunt for prey. They are aggressive hunters and will sometimes burrow as deep as 6 feet under in order to find their meal.
Occasionally, they will also enjoy larger vertebrates such as lizards or rodents.
Emperor Scorpion Lifespan
Most scorpions will have a lifespan of anywhere from 2 to 6 years. Many will live much longer, especially out in the wild.
When it comes to scorpions in captivity, a common problem is dehydration. If you are keeping a pet scorpion and they look shriveled or seem lethargic, you might want to take this as a sign of dehydration.
If you are seeing these symptoms in your own pet scorpion, you should consult your veterinarian so that they can give you advice about what you will need to do. They will most likely tell you to increase the humidity in your pet’s enclosure so that they can molt properly, as dehydration can make this natural process become deadly.
Scorpions will shed their exoskeleton about 6 times before they reach adulthood, which might be roughly when they are 3 years old. This is a process called “molting”.
When molting is about to happen, you will see the signs a few days before. They may become less active than usual and will stop feeding completely sometimes. You might also see their outer shell begin to crack.
These are all tell-tale signs that the molting process is about to begin. This process is completely normal and is actually an important part of their growth.
Remember that they will be at their weakest during this time so be sure to keep an eye on them, making sure to increase their humidity as well as remove any live insects or cage mates that might bite or harm them.
This process begins with the outer layer of skin cracking, causing it to open up. The scorpion will then start to work its way out, shedding the outer skin, leaving it behind in its enclosure.
This shedding process may take about half a day.
The new exoskeleton will still be quite weak for a while but will harden up over the next few days, sometimes taking up to a week to fully regain its strength.
The reason why you want to make sure to keep the humidity levels higher and keep your pet’s enclosure hydrated is because the lack of humidity can cause incomplete molts, which can be life-threatening to your scorpion.
Incomplete molts are caused by a lack of adequate hydration. Molting will require lubrication, which means keeping your pet’s enclosure humidity to at least 60% or higher during this time.
Some owners even have a separate molting box for when it’s time for them to go through the process. Just be sure to keep an eye on your pet if they are showing signs of an upcoming molt.
Their first molt may happen about two weeks into their life. During the cycle of their whole lives, a scorpion may go through 5 to 6 molts before they reach maturity.
Emperor Scorpion Breeding Habits
Emperor Scorpions will typically reach sexual maturity after 2 or 3 years of age.
Breeding can happen any time of the year as long as conditions are humid and warm. Their mating rituals are quite elaborate, involving a mating dance where the male grasps the female’s pincers then releasing his spermatophore on the surface they are on then dragging the female over it, where she will then draw it into her genital opening, fertilizing her eggs.
Gestation periods are around 9 to 18 months, after which the female will give birth to around 10 to 12 scorplings.
Mother scorpions are unusual to their fellow invertebrates in the fact that they give live birth to their young rather than laying their eggs. They are ovoviviparous, meaning the eggs will hatch inside of the mother and are then born separately through live birth.
Scorplings will cling onto their mother’s back until they have had at least one molt, which is when they can become more independent.
Predators of the Emperor Scorpion
Predators of the Emperor Scorpion include smaller mammals, birds, bats, lizards, larger scorpions, spiders, and centipedes.
They use their pincers to defend themselves and also have a venomous stinger if they need to use it.
Emperor Scorpion Legality
Venomous arthropods like scorpions are legal to keep in all states except for Hawaii.
While there are some shipping rules that might apply, the capture and sale of scorpions are not regulated. Some medically significant species may require a little paperwork, but no licenses are needed, typically.
Where to Buy Emperor Scorpions
The average price of an Emperor Scorpion can range anywhere from $30 to $60 per scorpion.
You can find this species at the websites below:
Emperor Scorpion Care Sheet
If you’re more into watching videos, learn more about caring for your Emperor scorpion here:
The recommended minimum tank size for keeping a scorpion is at least 10 gallons. They do not require much to survive but they will need enough space to move around and enough hides to feel comfortable.
While 10 gallons is sufficient, it is always better to give them more space if possible. They can also thrive in 20 to 30 gallons, but anything more than that might be too excessive.
To clean your scorpion’s enclosure, you must first remove your pet so you can access their space more easily.
Once they are removed, you will want to empty their tank then wipe it down with a scorpion-friendly disinfectant. You will also want to change their substrate to make sure they come back to a fresh, new home.
It is good to completely clean out their tank this way every 3 to 4 months.
Whether you decide to go with soil, peat, or vermiculite, you will want to give them at least 3 to 6 inches of substrate since they are a burrowing species.
You might also want to add a few pieces of sphagnum moss on top of whatever substrate you pick to help retain moisture.
While Emperor Scorpions do not require UVB lighting, they will, however, need a good temperature gradient starting from as low as 70 degrees up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A heat gradient is essential for scorpions since they are cold-blooded and need various heats in order to regulate their body temperature.
You can achieve this by placing a heat mat under their tank.
It is good to make sure to check the temperatures often using multiple thermometers.
Emperor Scorpions need a high humidity level of around 60% to 80%, which can be maintained if you are misting regularly. You want your substrate to stay moist, but not wet.
You can test the dampness of the soil with your finger. If you are worried about mold, you can add small ventilation holes to your enclosure to help.
Scorpions do not require UVB lighting to live a long and healthy life. However, they will need the right temperatures, which can be achieved through a heating pad that can be placed under the tank and multiple thermometers to keep track.
You should add some flat stones, ceramic pot pieces, or even bark pieces into their enclosure for your pet scorpion to hide behind or under. As mentioned earlier, they like to have a lot of hiding spots.
However, do not be alarmed if you see that their decorations or furnishings have moved, as Emperor Scorpions will do that. You should just let them since rearranging their habitat might stress them out.
You want to feed your Emperor Scorpion a diet of crickets, roaches, or waxworms supplemented with mealworms and moths. Be sure that they are gut-loaded and dusted with calcium.
You can give them anywhere from 3 to 6 insects every other night since they are naturally nocturnal hunters.
A shallow water dish should also be available at all times.
These scorpions will usually not sting unless they feel threatened, and even if they do so, their venom is so mild, you might only experience a mild, localized reaction.
They may even try to pinch you with their claws first when attacking. Other than feeling threatened the Emperor Scorpion will not act out aggressively.
Typically, scorpions should not be handled unless with foam forceps since they are not great with handling and will react badly by instinct.
With the forceps or your fingers, you will want to gently grab them by the tail in the area directly underneath its stinger. From here on, you can lift them gently, transferring them to the spot you want to put them in.
Emperor Scorpion FAQ
Are Emperor Scorpions friendly?
As far as scorpions go, the Emperor Scorpion has the be the most docile and pet-friendly. They are becoming increasingly popular among enthusiasts and collectors since they are clean, don’t make any noise, and have a pretty straightforward care regime. If you’re looking for a good beginner scorpion, the Emperor is the way to go!
What do Emperor Scorpions need to survive?
Not only will they need gut-loaded, calcium-dusted insects, but they need a warm, damp environment in order to thrive. A shallow dish is also something you must add to their enclosure. They also require lots of hides to keep them comfortable.
As long as you give them enough space, care, and attention to their environment, they should survive very well.
Do Emperor Scorpions need to be misted?
Yes. You will want to mist their enclosure regularly, at least daily. A good rule of thumb is to make sure their substrate is moist to the touch.
How long does it take for an emperor scorpion to reach full size?
Emperor Scorpions will reach their full size in about 1 to 3 years’ time. While 10-gallon tanks can be enough for your pet, you might want to upgrade as they continue to grow.
Emperor Scorpions are a great addition to any household that loves these types of pets. If you are interested in learning more, The Tarantula Collective has a very good video on how to properly care for Emperor Scorpions.
We hope that this article has helped you understand more about what is needed to care for an Emperor Scorpion and that your questions have all been answered.
Let us know if you have anything to add or if you have any questions by using the comment section down below!