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HomeBlogThe 2 Best Beginner Scorpions: Emperor and Asian Forest Scorpions

The 2 Best Beginner Scorpions: Emperor and Asian Forest Scorpions

by Ryan Huether To most people, scorpions are the many legged embodiment of their darkest nightmares. But those that keep and love them know they can be tiny friendly giants with a gentle dorsal aorta (and powerful crushing claws and a venomous sting). So if you want to join the ranks of the scorpion befriended, we’d like to help you get off to a good start.

Housing your scorpion:

To house your scorpion, you will first want a ten gallon tank. Fill this with two to four inches of moist - but not wet - peat moss for substrate (if you can squeeze water out of it, your substrate has too much moisture). Lay one to several textured objects (pieces of cork bark work well) on top of the substrate for your scorpion to hide under. Lastly, place in the tank a water dish that can be accessed by the scorpion but does not contain enough water for it to become submerged in. Your tank is now set and ready for you to carry your scorpion across the threshold.

Humidity and heating:

While your desert scorpions can enjoy a much drier clime, the emperor and Asian forest scorpions like high humidity; this can be achieved through daily misting. We maintain our own colonies at about 70% relative humidity. Scorpions also like to have a range of temperatures available to them over which they can regulate their internal temperature. Placing a heat mat at one end of the terrarium can allow you to accomplish this. Ideally, you should have the hot end maintained at about 95°F and the cool end at about 75°F. If you do not have the equipment necessary to provide this gradient, your scorpion should still be able to cope if the terrarium as a whole is kept between the mid 70°s and the mid 80°s. Heat lamps are not recommended for these species of scorpions, as they are nocturnal and do not particularly appreciate brightly lit environments.

Feeding your scorpion:

Crickets work well as feeders for scorpions. Simply make sure that those you supply them with are of appropriate size. Generally, crickets being fed to scorpions should be about the length of the scorpion’s “head”, or about the length from the scorpion's eyes to the end of its mouthparts as seen from above. ¼” crickets work for rather young scorpions, but adult emperor or Asian forest scorpions should be given 1” crickets. Make sure to remove from your tank any cricket carcasses that may have been left behind by your scorpions.

Handling your scorpion:

Note: these instructions are acceptable for Asian forest and emperor scorpions, but may be unsafe to employ with more aggressive and venomous species. It is generally recommended to not excessively handle your scorpion, but emperor scorpions especially are known for being surprisingly docile and easy to hold. First: place one hand behind the scorpion; second: coax the scorpion from the front to go backwards. If you are comfortable with the temperament of your scorpion, you may coax it with your bare hands, but if not, you may do so using an inanimate object like a brush, pencil, etc. The scorpion will crawl backwards into your open hand. If holding it, you should avoid elevating it more than a few inches above the next closest surface to prevent it from being damaged should it crawl off your hand. If you just need to move the scorpion from one container to another, you have a few more options available. You could, for example, place a small container on its side behind the scorpion and then coax it into the container in a fashion similar to that described above to get the scorpion onto your hand. You could also use a pair of long forceps to grasp the scorpion by its tail on the second segment  away from its body. Grasping it here will reduce the risk of damaging the scorpion's tail as well as make it more difficult for the scorpion to grab the forceps with its claws. All the same, a scorpion should not be held this way frequently or for an extended length of time. It should be employed only for moving the scorpion short distances, say from one container to another right next to it. It is also not advised to use this method to transfer the scorpion to your hands, as using this will make your scorpion feel more defensive and make it more likely to pinch you should it get the chance (Asian forest and emperor scorpions are both more likely to resort to pinching than stinging in self defense).
Breeding your scorpions:
To begin, you will want to determine the sex of your scorpions to ensure that you have both a male and a female. To do this, you will want to place each scorpion individually into a container with a clear bottom and use bunched up cloth laid over them to press them lightly against the bottom. This should give you enough of a view of their respective genitalia to make sex determinations. Images of how to distinguish male from female scorpions are readily available online. Next, you will want to upgrade your pair of scorpions to a larger terrarium. At minimum, they should be placed in a 20 gallon tank. From this point, continue to care for your scorpions as normal. If your scorpions like each other, they will eventually mate and you will soon find your female noticeably swollen with young. At this time, you should separate the male back to his own terrarium, as a mother scorpion becomes highly defensive. For this reason also, you should minimize any disturbances that must be made to the terrarium for maintenance purposes while she is with young. She will carry her young around on her back and feed them until their first molt. After this, they will depart off on their own and may be fed ¼” crickets (½” may also work if ¼” are not available). From here on, you will care for them as you would any other scorpion in relation to their size.

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