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Caring for a Scorpion

Origin: Desert areas as well as Brazilian forests, British Columbia, and the Himalayas. 


Lifespan: 5 - 10 years (species dependent) 


All scorpions are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. Although they are not great for handling, scorpions are quiet pets that are easy to care for. The most common scorpion species for pets are the Emperor Scorpion and the Asian Forest Scorpion. Emperor Scorpions are the largest, and do not have a particularly painful sting. 


A 10-gallon glass aquarium with a secure screen lid is appropriate for a single scorpion. Scorpions love hiding in tunnels and caves, so a good rule of thumb is to provide one hiding spot per arachnid. Some scorpions really enjoy digging burrows, so the substrate used should be between three and six inches deep. Appropriate bedding options include peat or EcoEarth. Humidity levels should be maintained by misting the habitat daily. Regardless of what bedding type you choose, it should remain damp (not wet). If mold forms, or there is condensation on the tank walls, the humidity is too high. Temperatures should range between 70 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat mats are the easiest type of heating to use for scorpions; the mat should be placed to cover no more than about 1/3 of the tank so that a cool area is available. A black light can also be used for heat. Placing a few thermometers in different locations in the tank can help read temperatures.


Scorpions are hunters, and eat a variety of insects and vertebrates in the wild. In captivity, they do well eating crickets dusted with calcium. Supplementing with other insects like mealworms and moth larvae is also suggested. Most scorpions do well eating a few crickets about two times per week. Feeding at night is recommended, as it replicates the conditions in which they would naturally eat. Remember to provide fresh water daily in a very shallow dish, to prevent drowning. 


Unless you notice mold, the enclosure substrate does not need to be regularly replaced. Make sure to remove any insects that are not eaten, and to check for and remove any discarded food. 


Scorpions are known to become dehydrated frequently. If your arachnid is lethargic or looks shriveled, this may indicate that they aren't getting the water that they need to stay healthy. Dehydration can usually be treated by increasing habitat humidity levels, but always consult with your exotics veterinarian if you notice your pet acting differently. 


If you absolutely need to pick up your arachnid, it is recommended to use a pair of long-handled forceps with puffy foam covering the gripping end. Use these to gently pick up the scorpion by the stinging end, closer to the body. Emperor Scorpions are the most docile, and rarely sting or pinch unless they feel threatened, so you may be able to pick them up by hand. 


Handling your scorpion is not recommended due to the stress it may cause them, even if the scorpion is more prone to pinching you with their pedipalps rather than stinging you. Each species of scorpion has a different danger level in regard to the venom that they carry. Even if a scorpion has a low venom level, some people may have an anaphylactic reaction to being stung, just like with bee stings. This may require medical attention. 

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