Scorpions

a close up of a Scorpion

Scorpions are an interesting and unique creature that can make a great pet for first time pet owners. They belong to the arachnid family, which includes spiders, mites, and ticks. Scorpions have been around since prehistoric times and are found in many parts of the world.

Scorpions are one of the most common types of arachnids found in the United States. Because they are arachnids it means that they’re related to spiders. They are sometimes kept as pets, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be aggressive. They’re venomous, and will sting if given the opportunity. The only good thing is that most will only cause a mild reaction with adults.

Scorpions come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. The most common type of scorpion is the Emperor Scorpion, which is black in color and can grow up to 8 inches long. Other types of scorpions include the Desert Hairy Scorpion, which is yellowish-brown in color and can reach lengths of up to 4 inches, and the Arizona Bark Scorpion, which is light brown in color and can reach lengths of up to 3 inches.

They’re relatively easy to care for, and require little maintenance. They adapt well in a home environment and will do well in an aquarium. The good news is that this is one of the most quiet pets you’ll ever own.

Because they sting in defense, and children will react more with a Scorpions venom, they’re not exactly child friendly. If you have children that will enjoy watching them through the glass they can be excellent pets, but they’ll never be a hands-on family pet.

Pet Scorpions can be purchased from pet stores, and are relatively inexpensive to buy. They can be found at reptile pet stores or from online sellers, depending on their type they can be a variety of colors and sizes. Depending on the species they’ll cost between $15 and $35 for the more common ones, and around $70 for the rarer types.

When it comes to handling scorpions, it is important to use caution. They have a venomous sting that can be painful and even dangerous if not treated properly. It is best to use tweezers or gloves when handling them, and to avoid touching their tail.

Scorpions are also relatively low maintenance pets. They don’t need to be fed every day, just once or twice a week. It is important to give them a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

Scorpions can make great pets for first time pet owners. They are relatively low maintenance and do not require much in terms of care or attention. Additionally, they are fascinating creatures that can provide hours of entertainment. If you are looking for an interesting and unique pet, then a scorpion may be the perfect choice for you.

Overall, Scorpions can make great family pets for first time pet owners. They are fascinating creatures that require minimal care and attention, and can provide hours of entertainment. With proper care and handling, scorpions can be a great addition to any home.

Scorpion Information

  • Average Length: 6 to 8 inches
  • Average Weight: Less than 1 ounce
  • Skin Appearance: Rigid outer skeleton
  • Skin Colors: Red, yellow or black.
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Every 5 to 8 months.
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Stinging Tendency: Yes
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes 
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: No
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Dehydration and Molting Problems
  • Average Life Span: 6 to 8 years

Physical Appearance of Scorpions

Scorpions get in a defensive posture when they feel threatened

Scorpions are small arthropods, organisms that have segmented body parts. There are two types of Scorpions – desert and forest. There are over 2,000 species of Scorpions and they can have all types of color patterns.

They have eight legs and are closely related to spiders, mites and ticks. They look a little like lobsters because they have a pair of pincers and a thin tail. The tip of their tail has a small part called telson. The telson contains a venom gland that Scorpions use to sting prey or predators.

Scorpions use their pincers or claws to hold prey and then sting them with their tail.

Emperor Scorpions are the most commonly kept species of Scorpions and have a large black or dark blue body. Their exoskeleton is bumpy and they have broad pincers. Emperor Scorpions will grow between 6 and 8 inches long.

Temperament of Scorpions

Most Scorpions are nocturnal animals. They are active at night and spend their day sleeping and hiding.

Most Scorpions are territorial and aggressive. Emperor Scorpions are the least dangerous and aren’t known for attacking their owners. This is why they are the most popular Scorpion species kept as pets. All Scorpions are venomous and can sting their owners. Depending on the species the sting can vary from mild to severe.

Some Scorpion species can live together with their own species. Others are aggressive and can eat their own species if housed together. These should be housed alone in a tank. Different types of Scorpion species or different invertebrates should never be kept together.

Emperor Scorpions are one of the Scorpions that can be kept with others of their species. For two to be kept together they should have three to four square feet of space in their tank to keep them from fighting. It’s possible to have a number, but for each additional Scorpion they should have about one and a half additional square feet in their enclosure. We recommend having scorpions that are roughly the same size so it’s less likely that they’ll fight. More hiding spots should be added to their enclosure as more Scorpions are added.

Their Compatibility with Children

a Scorpion with their tail up in a defensive posture

As mentioned before Scorpions are venomous and can sting. We don’t recommend that they be handled by children, especially young children. The Scorpion’s enclosure should be kept in a safe place where children can’t reach them and try to handle them.

Living Space for Scorpions

Setting up an enclosure is easy as they can be housed in a small glass tank. The tank should have a tight lid on top to keep the Scorpions from escaping. Some Scorpions are good climbers and ones that climb well should not be kept as pets because they are highly venomous.

Cage Size

The tank size will vary based on the Scorpion species you get. A 10-gallon tank should be large enough to house one Scorpion. If you plan to keep more then a larger tank of 20 to 30-gallons should be used. Their cage should not be too large because it will be difficult for your Scorpions to find and catch prey.

Substrate

Scorpions like to burrow and like a deep substrate. The substrate needs of your Scorpion will depend on the type you get – Desert or Forest species.

Desert species prefer a drier substrate. Their tank should be filled with around 2 to 3 inches of coarse sand. Desert scorpions don’t need much moisture and their substrate doesn’t need to be misted very often.

Forest species prefer a humid substrate. Their tank should be filled with around 2.5 inches of peat-free compost. Orchid bark chippings are a good option to cover the compost. The top of the substrate should be misted with water but it shouldn’t be very wet.

Decorations

a close up of a Scorpion hiding at the base of a plant

A few flat pieces of cork bark, ceramic plant pot or wood can be added to their tank for hiding places. Decorations will make the tank look more natural and give your Scorpions several places to hide.

Water Source

There should be a shallow water bowl in their tank. Adding a few pebbles or stones can help them climb in and out if needed. Scorpions usually don’t drink but the water should still be changed daily.

Best Climate for Scorpion

Scorpions are hardy and can adapt well to different types of climates. Their adaptability makes them easy to care for. They are nocturnal and don’t need a specific type of lighting in their cage.

Temperature

Scorpions prefer a temperature kept between 70°F and 90°F. An under-tank heat mat can be used to keep their enclosure warm. The size of the heat mat only needs to be large enough to cover only one-third of their tank. The heat mat helps create a warm and a cool area inside their tank. 

If the temperature gets too hot, Scorpions will burrow to escape the heat. The heat mat shouldn’t cover an area larger than one-third of their enclosure or it can become difficult for them to cool themselves.

Thermometers are needed in their enclosure to make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high or low. 

Humidity

The humidity needs of the Scorpions will depend on the type of species you have. Desert species will need less humidity than Forest species. Emperor Scorpions, the most commonly kept forest species need a humidity level of 75 percent. Mist their tank a few times a day to keep the humidity high inside their tank.

A hydrometer is needed inside their tank to check the humidity and make sure that it stays high enough.

The Attention a Scorpion Needs

Scorpions should not be handled because they can sting you. If you still want to handle them, do it with extreme caution. While most Scorpions have a sting that’s about as strong as a bee, around 100 species have stings that can be harmful to humans. There are 30 to 40 Scorpion species that can kill humans if they sting!

As a preventive measure try using a long pair of tweezers or forceps to handle your Scorpions. Keeping them at a distance will keep them from stinging you.

Health Issues

Common health issues in Scorpions are:

Dehydration

A frequent problem with scorpions is dehydration. Scorpions must have water to drink, but they can survive for months without food. All Scorpions need some water. Jungle species should have a water dish in their enclosure, one that won’t tip over is best. For desert species, they really only need a small moist sponge.

Scorpion dehydration symptoms you’ll see:

  • They appear lethargic
  • A shriveled appearance

Mist their habitat daily to keep the humidity high and prevent dehydration. Change the water in their enclosure daily. Even though tjey don’t drink much water, they still need to have it around.

Molting Problems

For insects that molt, molting is the most dangerous time for them. If the conditions are not right during the molting process they could die from being trapped in their old body.

Signs your Scorpion is having problems molting:

  • Stuck in the old carapace
  • One or more legs fail to release from the carapace

Humidity is very important to molting. If you know that your Scorpion is about to molt it’s always a good idea to raise the humidity level within their enclosure. You’ll want the humidity close to 80% for molting. If your Scorpion is dehydrated it can also make molting difficult.

If you notice that your Scorpion is stuck and unable to free themselves from their old carapace there are a few options. With a wet paint brush or Q-tip you can try to help moisten the area where the problem is.

If they have a leg that they can’t free and water isn’t helping get it out you can try to pull the old carapace off with tweezers. Be careful and don’t try to pull too hard because pulling too hard could damage or remove part of the leg. If the leg becomes damaged and doesn’t fall off on its own in a few days it should be removed. If left in place it’s very likely to cause problems in the next molt.

General Scorpions Care

a Scorpion blending in with the bottom of their enclosure

Scorpions are easy to care for because they are not messy pets. They only need specific care when they molt. They molt or shed their exoskeleton up to 6 times before they reach adulthood, at around 3 years of age.

A few days ahead of molting your Scorpion will hide and become inactive. They will not eat anything during this time. If you observe this or their outer shell cracking, it means they are molting. Remove living insects or any cage mates from their tank when they start molting. The humidity should be increased because this will help with a smooth molt.

The molting process can take up to a week to complete. They take half a day to molt and then up to a week for the new exoskeleton to form. If they have an incomplete molt, contact your vet immediately because incomplete molting can be fatal for them.

Remove the exoskeleton after they shed.

Their cage should be completely cleaned once a month. Before you begin cleaning, remove your Scorpion and all the decorations inside their tank. Use a 3% bleach solution to scrub the tank and all the decorations. Let the tank completely dry before placing your Scorpion and decorations back inside.

Feeding Your Scorpion

All Scorpions are carnivores. They need to be fed insects, spiders or small lizards. The amount they need will depend on the size and type of your Scorpion. A large Scorpion should be fed 2 to 3 crickets a week and younger Scorpions can be fed daily.

Scorpions should be fed at night because that’s when they would hunt and eat in the wild. Scorpions usually don’t eat food if the climate is not good. If your Scorpion is not eating food, check their enclosure to make sure the temperature and humidity levels are good.

The insects they eat should be gut-loaded before being fed to your Scorpions. Gut-loading involves feeding insects nutritious food so it can pass on to them. The insects should be dusted with calcium supplements daily and with vitamins or minerals once a week.

Related Questions:

Which Scorpion Species are Recommended for Beginners?

Emperor Scorpions and Tanzanian Red Claw Scorpions are best for beginner Scorpion owners. They don’t have high attention needs and their sting is not dangerous. Javanese Jungle Scorpion and Thai Black can also be kept as pets but they can be hard to find.

Which Scorpion Species Should Not be Kept as Pets?

Androctonus genus, Centruroides genus, Vaejovis and Scorpio Maurus can be found in some pet stores but they don’t make good pets especially for beginners. These are dangerous for humans and their sting contains toxins that can kill humans.

Why are Scorpions Called an Ancient Species?

Scorpions are one of the oldest animals to live on this planet. Scientists believe that they were the first species to move from water to land. They have been on the planet for over 400 million years. They inhabited the earth well before dinosaurs.

My Scorpion Stung Me, What Should I Do?

Most Scorpion stings won’t need medical treatment. The sting is similar to a bee sting and most people will be fine. You can use mild soap and water to clean the sting. If it gets severe visit your hospital or your a doctor.