Other common names: Imperial Scorpion
Scientific name: Pandinus Imperator
The Emperor Scorpion is native to Africa and lives on the damp humid floor of the tropical rain forests. They are a forest dweller and like to burrow as well.
Appearance / health:
The Emperor is one of the largest species of scorpion in the world, with adults reaching about 6-8 inches. Young scorpions are white when they are born, but become darker after each molt. Adults are most seen as a glossy black, but some have been known to be dark brown or green. The stinger and claw have also been seen as a reddish color. Despite being near-black in color, the emperor glows a bluish-green when exposed to black lights.
Behavior / temperament:
The Emperor Scorpion is the most docile and easily handled of all the scorpions kept in captivity. It can be corralled to the palm of a your hand without any problem. If grabbed by the tail, they will often rear back and try to pinch. Their pinch is very strong and can be quite painful. Their sting is mild and they don’t usually use this type of aggression unless they are pinned or grabbed carelessly. People have compared the sting of this scorpion to the sting of a bee. The sting, although toxic, has varying affects on humans; some report no problems while others suffer severe pain.
One Emperor Scorpion can be housed in a 10 gallon tank. If using a different sized tank, just remember that floor space is more important than height. Substrate should be at least 3 inches deep. Hide spots and rocks may be added as they love to hide.
Enclosures should be kept between 75-85F and humidity should be around 80%. Regular spot cleaning is needed. Substrate may consist of eco earth (bed-a-beast), peat moss, or potting soil. A shallow wide water dish may also be added and cleaned frequently.
A varied diet consisting of crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, and only occasional feedings (once or twice a month) of mice. Variety is best and resembles the diet of this scorpion in the wild and will keep them healthy.
The pectines on the underside of these scorpions can be inspected to give you an idea of your scorpion’s sex. Inspect the underside of the scorpion; males have longer combs on their pectines and females have shorter and often fewer combs on their pectines. When placed together, the male quickly grabs a hold of the pincers on the female and begins a shaking action. Then, after a short shoving match, the male deposits a spermatophore onto the substrate and positions the female over the packet of sperm. The female then lowers her abdomen and picks up the spermatophore into her genital opening. The two separate and retreat in opposite directions. After a gestation period of seven months, a litter ranging in size from 15 to 40 young scorpions is produced. The young grow in the mother, are born live, and then will spend most of the time on the mothers back. The mother scorpion feeds her young by killing an insect and leaving it on the floor of their enclosure. The baby scorpions will then climb off the mother’s back and feed on the dead insect.
attractive novice scorpions, Underrated Pet, docile scorpions, delightful pet
Care Cage Requirements, allergic reaction
HIGHLY communal species, Offspring cannibalization, nightviewing light bulb, shinny apperance
The Emperor Scorpion
Late 1989 my family and I moved to Dakar, Senegal in West Africa. As you can imagine a move from Florida to Dakar has quite a culture difference. Although we did get out often and I had school and the friends that that brings, my brother and I were often bored. Due to the hassle with the import and export of cats and dogs into and out of the country my parents wouldn’t let us have one.
My father worked at a remote site out in the wilderness. As you can imagine he came across a lot of different animals and bugs. Although most were so dangerous and high maintenance (not to mention illegal even there), he did bring us home a couple of pets… The Emperor Scorpion x2. We kept them in an aquarium that we tried to fix up to look like the desert with natural foliage and drinking pond. We fed them with flies and other insects we could catch.
The Emperor Scorpion is an impressive pet to own. Any guest we had over would rave about how cool our pets were. Nobody we ever stung as we kept our hands and fingers clear of the tail and pinchers.
A few drawbacks I can note is they need to be kept from children. They also are stinky animals. I haven’t owned them in over 25 years but can imagine and remember their smell as if I’m sticking my face in the aquarium. And yes we did clean the cage but two scorpions on a bug feast diet my brother and I provided them would cause them to produce a lot of stinky waste. Overall, I would recommend this scorpion as a pet to anyone who naturally exercises caution around dangerous animals..
From Denverb Nov 8 2015 9:49AM
Big, but not so scary
Emperor scorpions are big scorpions, with big claws and tend to look pretty scary (unless you know scorpions). They're not really scary or dangerous, but it's always fun to watch your guests be terrified.
Emperors tolerated handling better than the red claw I had, but only marginally so. Basically, it's a big arachnid, it doesn't want to be petted. They will quickly relax and walk around on your hands and arms, which is kind of surreal the first few times - your body wants to freak out, but your brain knows it's pretty much harmless.
If you're unlucky enough to get stung, it hurts, similar to a bee sting. I found it unpleasant, but nothing a bit of ice and some ibuprofen didn't help. I did learn a valuable lesson about annoying the scorpion though.
They like to burrow, so make sure you have substrate that they can dig in as well as numerous hides. They will ambush crickets and mealworms, which can be interesting to watch.
Be careful about having more than one in a tank, a friend learned that they will kill (and possibly eat) each other.
They are nocturnal, so best for night people like myself. They glow under black light (like most scorpions), which can provide some entertainment..
From NomadMorgan Jul 7 2015 1:43AM
Fred the Scorpion.
My now-husband insisted one day at the mall that he could simply not be happy and complete without a pet scorpion in our little apartment. It was cheap, and I thought would be simple, though I've always been repelled by them. I didn't realize HOW repelled I was by it until he emptied it from the box to the little fish bowl, the way one might shake a happy meal box to get the last fries out, and I cried from disgust. That night, I got up to go to the bathroom. The scorpion. WAS. NOT. IN. THE FISH BOWL. I immediately woke up my husband, got in the bed, and refused to let him back in until he found, and killed, the scorpion. Four hours later, he found it in the closet rummaging around our shoes. He refused to kill it, so we put it back in the fish bowl, and I piled about 10 heavy books on top while we left to go get a plastic container with a lockable lid for it! We did, and Fred (I named in when I realized we wouldn't be getting rid of him) lived in peace in his little cage, without much maintenance, for the rest of the year we lived there. My husband took him out and handled him a few times, and he seemed docile enough...I passed. We also figured out how he got out of the fish bowl...he "stood" up on his little tail, and then used his claws to pull himself over the edge! A terrifying site, but not a problem in his second (lockable, plastic) home. We gave him away when we left the country, but I heard he lived for several more years!.
From SarahDV Oct 18 2015 4:05PM