People usually keep pets like cats, dogs, hamsters and fish etc. but the unconventional ones are dwarf shrimp, mantis shrimp, hermit crabs, tarantulas, praying mantises, snakes, huge land snails and even scorpions. Yes, you read it right. People like to keep scorpions as pets. As impressive as it may sound, it takes lots of courage and a particular interest in this creature to keep it as a pet.
You must be wondering how difficult it must be to keep a scorpion in your home aquarium (vivarium). Well, it’s not very difficult but pretty interesting. Scorpions are not messy like any other animal. They are very clean and quiet as compared to other pets. They are low-maintenance, which means it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to keep a scorpion pet.
Here we will be discussing a different type of species of scorpions along with some tips which will help you keep a scorpion as a pet. Hopefully, your mind won’t be baffled by learning about the different species of scorpions.
Different Species of Scorpions
Believe it or not, but there are approximately 2,000 species of scorpions in the world. That is a lot! These 2,000 species of scorpions are further categorized in six superfamilies. These families are dispersed across all the continents of the world.
All of these species cannot be adopted as pets. There are about 30 to 40 species which can kill a human being through their venom. The species which can be adopted as pets are not that dangerous. In some cases, their sting is similar to that of a bee but it but different reactions can occur in different people. That is why the main thing about having a scorpion pet is that you never get to hold it. They are not pets to play with.
Because they can sting, they are mostly kept in tanks from where they cannot sneak out. Scorpions are just fun to watch. They can be adopted easily, and it’s not difficult to take care of them.
Here is a guideline about different types of scorpion species which can be adopted as pets. Knowing the species before taking a scorpion as a pet is essential because you might be getting the wrong type which can turn out to be life-threatening for you in case it stings.
1. Emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator)
If you are a beginner and you are looking for a scorpion pet, then this specie is the right option for you. Emperor scorpion is recommended all over the world to be kept as a pet because it is one of the docile species of scorpion.
Emperor scorpion is generally calm, and it will not sting until it feels threatened. These scorpions are hesitant to sting; they will usually pinch you with its claws. The venom of Emperor Scorpions is mild and will not cause any allergies. People who have been stung by this specie have been reported to have localized reactions and nothing serious.
Physical traits of Emperor scorpions
- Their length is approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 – 20 cm).
- Emperor scorpions can weigh up to 50 – 70 g.
- They are found in different colours like black, dark blue or dark brown.
- They have a shiny, large, and stout body.
- Emperor scorpions have broad pincher claws.
- Their lifespan is about 10 years if kept in captivity.
Emperor scorpions are carnivores like all other scorpions. If in captivity they eat the following:
An adult scorpion should eat 3 to 4 insects in a week. The perfect time to feed them is the night time as they are most active at night.
Special instructions for keeping an Emperor Scorpion
Emperor scorpions are large, but they do not require much space to survive. A 10-gallon tank is sufficient for a couple of Emperor Scorpions. You should get a bigger tank if you plan on keeping more than two scorpions. Install black light in the room where you will keep them. They tend to glow in blacklight. Because of their shy nature, it is better to substrate their enclosure to give them hiding spots. Their comfort should be your priority.
2. Asian Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus longimanus)
Asian Forest Scorpion is another good option for keeping as a pet. They are very similar to the Emperor Scorpion in terms of appearance. In fact, they are so identical that beginners often cannot even distinguish them.
The main difference in their appearance is their size. They are slightly smaller in size as compared to the Emperor Scorpion. Just like the Emperor Scorpion, Asian Forest Scorpion will attack only if they feel threatened and they will defend by their claws instead of stinging.
Physical Traits of Asian Forest Scorpion
- Their length is approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 – 15 cm).
- They weigh around one ounce (30 g).
- Asian Forest Scorpions are found in colours dark brown and black.
- They have a stocky build.
- Their lifespan is of around 8 years in captivity.
Asian Forest Scorpions love to eat, and they hardly refuse a meal. They eat insects which are appropriate in size.
Special instructions for keeping an Asian Forest Scorpion
This specie is very easy to care for. They are low maintenance, and they also breed easily in captivity. They need proper space to breed, and for that matter, a 10-gallon tank is sufficient. But as the family grows, you can think of getting a bigger tank for them.
3. Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis)
As the name suggests, Desert Hairy Scorpion is mostly found in the deserts, and it has hair on its body. They are slightly smaller in size as compared to the Emperor Scorpion, but their venom is stronger than of the Emperor Scorpion. Because of this fact, they are not recommended for beginners. Their sting is not venomous, but it can get painful. They tend to get wary and will do an averting posture if they are provoked.
Physical Traits of Desert Hairy Scorpion
- Their length varies between 5 to 6 inches (12 – 15 cm).
- They weigh approximately an ounce (30 g).
- Desert Hairy Scorpion are lighter in colour with a darker back.
- They have yellow claws, tail and legs.
- They have hair on the tail.
They tend to eat locusts and various smaller species of scorpions when they are in the wild. But in captivity, they love eating crickets and other smaller insects.
Special instructions for keeping a Desert Hairy Scorpion
Desert Hairy Scorpions are territorial and aggressive; hence they need to be lodged individually. As they are found in deserts, they require a desert setup in their tank, which includes coarse sand and the humidity levels should be around 55%. The temperature has to be maintained between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 – 32 C).
4. Dictator Scorpion (Pandinus dictator)
Dictator Scorpion is known for being the largest scorpion in the world. It is also similar to Emperor Scorpion due to its size. It can be even bigger than the Emperor Scorpion as well. Its nature is not aggressive, but it is more timorous around people. Because of its shy nature, it spends more of its time hiding in its den. It is considered to be one of the rarest species of scorpions in the world.
Physical Traits of Dictator Scorpion
- It is usually 8 inches (20 cm) in length but can go beyond that.
- Dictator Scorpion also weighs one ounce approximately.
- It is dark brown or black in colour.
- It has a hefty build with broad pinchers.
While in captivity, they tend to eat the following:
Special instructions for keeping a Dictator Scorpion
Dictator Scorpion is not difficult to manage. Unlike other scorpions, the Dictator Scorpion can go well with the ones it shares its space with. It can only get in fights with male scorpions if provoked. A big tank will suffice for a Dictator Scorpion with an appropriate substrate in it.
5. Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpion (Pandinus cavimanus)
This specie is not suitable for beginners. Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpion is an aggressive specie and can get agitated quickly; hence, they are not recommended for beginners. They use their sting only to defend themselves. It belongs to the same family as the Emperor Scorpion, but it is more on the hostile side and is smaller in size comparatively. Its venom is similar to that of a bee, mild in nature.
Physical Traits of Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpion
- Their length is around 4 to 5 inches (10 – 12 cm).
- They weigh about one ounce (30 g)
- Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpions have a sturdy black body.
- Their claws are rusty red in colour.
- Their lifespan is approximately 8 years in captivity.
Tanzanian Red-Claw Scorpions love to hunt. They choose prey as:
- Small mice
- Appropriate sized rodents
Special instructions for keeping a Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpion
This specie can survive in a humid area. Their enclosure should have humidity level from 75 to 80 per cent. They prefer temperature to be around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 – 29 C). They don’t get along with other scorpions, so it’s better to keep them in individual enclosures; otherwise, they will fight each other to death.
6. Malaysian Black Scorpion (Heterometrus spinifer)
The Malaysian Black Scorpion is a quiet and hardy specie, but it can get aggressive if kept in captivity. This specie does not settle down easily in captivity. It is similar to the Emperor Scorpion in appearance, just a little smaller in size but nature wise it is extremely aggressive. It is pretty defensive, and it will sting the moment it feels it is in danger.
Physical Traits of Malaysian Black Scorpion
- Malaysian Black Scorpion’s length varies between 4 to 5 inches (10 – 12 cm).
- It weighs one ounce approximately (30 g).
- It has a shiny black body with large claws.
- These scorpions have a lifespan of 7 to 8 years on average.
This specie loves to feed on insects like crickets, grasshoppers and locusts and like to feed on small mice as well.
Special instructions for keeping a Malaysian Black Scorpion
This specie can do well in a small 5-gallon terrarium with a substrate of damp sand. They like warm and humid conditions, so humidity level at 75-80% is ideal for them. The temperature is to be maintained at 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (23 – 32 C).
7. Javanese Jungle Scorpion (Heterometrus javanensis)
This specie belongs to the rainforests and jungles of Indonesia. Javanese Jungle Scorpion are difficult to obtain; hence they have a huge demand. They are quite aggressive, but they can be kept with other scorpions. They get along other scorpions pretty well unless provoked. Javanese Jungle Scorpions usually protect themselves with their strong claws. Their sting is mild and similar to that of a wasp. They are not very difficult to handle; therefore they are a great choice for beginners.
Physical Traits of Javanese Jungle Scorpion
- They are usually 4 to 7 inches long (10 – 18 cm).
- They weigh around one ounce (30 g).
- Javanese Jungle Scorpions have a hefty build.
- They are generally dark brown or black with a greenish tint
- Their lifespan is around 5 to 8 years in captivity
The diet for this specie should include:
- Butter worms
Special instructions for keeping a Javanese Jungle Scorpion
A 10-gallon glass tank is perfect for the Javanese Jungle Scorpion with almost three inches of substrate. The temperature should be between 75 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (23 – 32 C) with humidity levels at 55%.
8. Large Clawed Scorpion (Scorpio maurus)
Large Clawed Scorpions are the habitats of wild deserts of the Middle East and Northern Africa. They are smaller in size as compared to the above species. They are also known as Israeli Gold Scorpions. Large Clawed Scorpions are excellent diggers and are usually found in burrows. They have a wary attitude, and they use their big strong claws for defence. They are not likely to sting, but when they do, their venom is not dangerous but mildly painful.
Physical Traits of Large Clawed Scorpions
- They are 3 inches long (7 – 8 cm).
- They weigh less than an ounce (~20 g)
- Large Clawed Scorpions have big claws which are golden to reddish-brown in colour.
- They have a brown coloured back.
Large Clawed Scorpions love to feast on crickets and locusts.
Special instructions for keeping a Large Clawed Scorpions
Because their natural environment is based on deserts, it becomes difficult to give them the same environment in captivity. They require a mixture of sand and eco earth substrate in their enclosure. The optimal temperature should be between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (23 – 26) with humidity at 75-80%.
Some people are full of surprises. Their interests are different from the usual typical kind of people. They do such different things which make the other person go in awe. An example of such type of people is who like to keep unconventional pets.
Not everyone can agree with having a scorpion pet. Some even might wonder how it works with a scorpion. It is just like keeping any other conventional pet. The only difference is that you don’t get to have cuddly moments with it. You cannot pet it like you do a dog or a cat. Having a scorpion can be a different experience but adventurous at the same time.