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Name: Pandinus imperator: Emperor scorpion, the genus Pandinus is derived from the greek word, pandeiuos which translates to “quite terrible”. The specific epithet imperator is derived from the latin word for “emperor”. Thus its scientific name is the “quite terrible emperor” scorpion.
Recomended enclosure size: A 10 gallon tank with two to four inches of moist peat moss will work well. You can also use 3 parts coco fiber to one part fine vermiculite. If you can squeeze water out when holding substrate in your hand your substrate has too much moisture. Lay on top of the substrate one to several textured objects (pieces of cork bark work well) 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.
Temperature: 70-80F, ideally you will want a heat gradient ranging from 75F on one end to 95F on the other. Heat should be provided by a heat mat as this nocturnal species does not particularly appreciate brightly lit environments.
Size: They can grow to an excess of 7” in length. These are subadults and will measure 4-5" in length. Some may be a bit larger!
Age: These scorpions can live up to 6-8yrs.
Feeding: Crickets work well as feeders for scorpions. Simply make sure that those you supply them with an 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.
Sexing: Place each scorpion into a container with a clear bottom individually 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.
Color/Pattern: Emperor scorpions are large, all black, and have a mottled texture to their claws. They glow a bluish color under ultraviolet light.
Social behavior: While cannibalism does occur in emperor scorpions, it is rare and it is possible to successfully keep several emperor scorpions together.
Breeding: 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 point 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.
Natural range: West Africa
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