How to Handle a Scorpion

How to Handle a Scorpion

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in interest worldwide in keeping pet scorpions. However, before deciding to care for these animals, handling considerations are crucial.

Unlike conventional pets like dogs and cats, exotic animals (such as scorpions) are not for everyone because in most cases, they do not like to be handled at all. I need to repeat it once again – scorpions are not pets you can cuddle or play with.   

In this article, I will discuss how to handle scorpions safely to ensure both their well-being and your safety, given their venomous nature!

Why Pet Scorpions Don’t Like to Be Handled?

The main reason why it’s best to minimize interaction with scorpions is rooted in their neurology. Basically, their nervous systems are pretty simple, as a result, they lack the capacity to learn and remember that handling is safe for them.

Compared to more complex organisms (such as dogs, cats, etc.), scorpions are not highly intelligent creatures. Therefore, they operate primarily on instinct rather than learned behaviors.

In the wild, they spend their days mostly hiding. Aside from the mating process, they also engage in minimal communication with each other, and they certainly do not play or interact socially. Additionally, their preference for nocturnal activity is driven by the need to avoid visual predators while they feed.

As we can see, in scorpion’s world, being invisible is their top priority. That’s why, when handled, they instinctively prepare to defend against potential threats. It is not so much about direct aggression on their part but rather a survival mechanism.

If a scorpion stings you, it’s not its fault but entirely yours!

It didn’t ask to be touched or kept in captivity. Scorpions simply don’t understand these concepts. Remember that!

Recognizing Signs of Aggression in Scorpions

When handling or observing scorpions, it’s very important to be able to discern their mood to ensure safety for both the handler and the scorpion itself. Here are some key indicators to look for:

  1. Body Posture:
    • A calm scorpion will typically have its body relaxed, with its legs resting naturally against its body.
    • An aggressive scorpion may arch its body and raise its tail in a defensive stance. This posture indicates readiness to strike if provoked.
  2. Tail Position:
    • In a relaxed state, the scorpion’s tail will often be held low or even curled underneath its body.
    • When agitated or feeling threatened, the scorpion may raise its tail high in the air, ready to deliver a sting.
  3. Tail Twitching:
    • A relaxed scorpion’s tail may occasionally twitch gently but without any rapid or aggressive movements.
    • An agitated scorpion may exhibit rapid, twitchy movements of its tail, indicating readiness to strike.
  4. Claw Position:
    • Relaxed scorpions will often keep their claws tucked close to their body, with minimal movement.
    • Aggressive scorpions may extend their claws outward and may even clench and unclench them in preparation for defensive or offensive action.

When Can I Hold Scorpions in My Hand?

Even though scorpions do not generally require frequent handling, there can still be situations where we have to do it, for example:

  1. Routine maintenance:
    • Moving the scorpion from one tank to another.
    • Cleaning its enclosure or replacing substrate.
  2. Health check:
    • Checking for injuries, abnormalities, or signs of molting.
    • Inspecting the scorpion for signs of health or illness.
  3. Behavioral aspects:
    • Studying the scorpion’s behavior, posture, and movement patterns for research or educational purposes.
    • Separating scorplings from their mother.
    • For mating, etc.

Therefore, we need to know and understand how we can handle them safely.

How to Hold a Scorpion in Your Hand

Scorpions as Pets Pros and Cons handlingSo, if you must take it out, it’s preferable to use rubber gloves and follow these steps:

  1. Put your hand slowly in front of the scorpion.
  2. Nudge it from any side using a brush or pen.
  3. The scorpion will turn around to face the “threat.”
  4. Nudge and slightly push it until it backs up onto your hand.

Alternative Methods of Handling

How to Handle a ScorpionWhat do to If it is not possible to put your hand close to the scorpion? For example, due to the small size of the enclosure, you may simply not be able to fit your hand in there along with the scorpion. What should you do in such a case?

Consider alternative methods.

  1. Option 1: Use a smaller plastic container that can fit into the scorpion’s enclosure but is big enough to place the scorpion.
  2. Option 2: Use a small piece of cork bark as a platform.
  3. Employ a gentle approach: nudge the scorpion from any side using a brush or pen.
  4. Once the scorpion climbs into the container or onto the bark, remove it.
  5. Place your hand next to the container or bark, providing a path for the scorpion to crawl onto it.

Improper Handling

An aggressive approach is a good way to get stung.  Attempting to forcefully grab or restrain the scorpion can agitate it, leading to defensive behavior such as stinging or attacking.

  • DO NOT ever pick them up by the tail or touch them from the rear.
  • DO NOT ever pick them up by the legs.
  • Avoid pressing the scorpion down, they hate it.
  • Scooping it with the substrate can also be risky. Scorpions have highly developed sensory skills, so this can agitate them and lead to stinging. Additionally, your hands will get dirty.
  • During handling do not

Rules of Holding the Scorpion:

When handling a scorpion to prevent it from stinging, keep in mind the following:

  1. Sudden movements. Abrupt or jerky movements can startle the scorpion and trigger a defensive response.
  2. Blowing on the scorpion. Exhaling or blowing air onto the scorpion may agitate it and provoke defensive behavior.
  3. Pressing or squeezing: Applying pressure to the scorpion or squeezing it tightly can cause discomfort and increase the likelihood of being stung.
Some scorpion species have pretty large claws. They can snap at your fingers with their pincers.

While their pinch may not be painful or break the skin, you can simply flick your hand instinctively and your pet will go flying somewhere. They can get hurt easily that way.

1.    Do not panic and do not flicker the wrist.

2.    Generally, they do not hold too long, just wait.

3.      DO not put your hand into the water, it can make the scorpion angry.

What to Do If You Are Stung by a Scorpion

If you are stung by a scorpion, here’s what you should do:

  1. Stay calm. Panic can only worsen the situation.
Remember that while some scorpion species have potent venom and can cause serious harm, most scorpion stings are not life-threatening unless the person stung has allergies, or is elderly or very young.
  1. Wash the sting site with soap and cold water: Clean the wound.
  2. Apply cold to the sting site, this can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
  3. Seek medical attention, especially if you experience severe pain, swelling, or other symptoms.

If you got stung by your pet scorpion, you should know the species you are keeping. So, this will provide you with more information about how venomous the species’ venom can be to humans.

Some Interesting Facts about Scorpion’s Venom:

  • The potency of a scorpion’s venom typically correlates with the size of its pincers. Generally, scorpions with powerful pincers tend to have weaker venom because, in nature, their pincers are sufficient to subdue prey. Therefore, if the pincers are weak, the scorpion may struggle to overpower its prey, leading to stronger venom. It’s a kind of natural balance.
  • Scorpions can sting several times in a row, but their venom becomes weaker (depleted) with each sting.

In Conclusion

Scorpions should never be handled unless it is absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you want a pet for handling and playing, then these animals are not for you.

They get stressed easily when handled.

However, if you have to pick it up, the easiest and safest way will be to slowly approach the scorpion and gently nudge it with a brush. As it turns to face the disturbance, continue nudging until it backs onto your hand.

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