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Emperor Scorpion Habitats, How to Create

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Emperor Scorpions are not difficult pets to keep, but there are specific requirements you will have to meet when setting up their habitat. The following information will help you to create a healthy, hospitable environment for your scorpion.

Enclosure One scorpion will need a 10 gallon terrarium, and groups will need a 20 to 30 gallon terrarium. The length is much more important than the height, as scorpions spend their time on the floor of the cage. They require ample floor space for moving around and burrowing. Don't just go out and purchase the biggest terrarium you can find though. An enclosure that is too big will make it difficult for them catch their prey.

Glass terrariums are easiest and safest to use, and they will help to maintain humidity levels. Use a wire mesh lid that fits tightly to prevent escapes and to allow for proper ventilation.

Appropriate substrate includes peat moss or potting soil. Scorpions spend a lot of time digging and burrowing in their substrate, so it must be at least 3" to 6" deep.

Landscaping Place numerous hiding spots throughout the habitat. Items you can use include rocks, flat stones, logs, cork bark, and commercial hiding spots. Nontoxic plants can also provide hiding places. In addition to creating a sense of security, hiding spots will also act as sightline breaks to decrease aggression in a group.

You will find that your Emperor Scorpions rearrange the accessories in their cage however they want to. Though it may look messy, resist the urge to rearrange the cage the way you would like it to be set up, as that will cause stress for your scorpions.

Temperature The temperature in your Emperor Scorpion's habitat should range from 76°F at the cool end to 86°F at the warm end. This gradient is necessary to allow them to regulate their own body temperature by moving between hot and cool areas as needed.

To achieve this gradient, place a heating mat under approximately 1/3 of the tank. Overhead heat lamps are not necessary, and heat lamps that give off light should never be used. Monitor temperature with two thermometers, one at each end of the enclosure.

Humidity Emperor Scorpions are native to tropical areas, and they require a high level of humidity - around 80%. To maintain this high level of humidity, mist the enclosure daily to weekly and dampen the substrate under some of the hiding spots. You can also place sphagnum moss on parts of the substrate, but be sure to leave plenty of substrate exposed so your scorpions can burrow.

Be careful not to make the environment too moist. Substrate should be damp, not wet. If the substrate is molding or condensation is forming on the inside walls of the habitat, it is too humid. Monitor humidity levels with a hygrometer.

Lighting Scorpions should have no exposure to UV light, so avoid using full spectrum lights over or near the cage. They are highly sensitive to UV rays, and will become highly stressed and eventually die with regular exposure.

Emperor Scorpions are nocturnal, so they require no daytime lights. They require only 8 to 12 hours of daylight in a photoperiod. If you would like to observe them at night without disturbing them, use a low wattage nocturnal black or red bulb.

Cleaning Spot clean the substrate every one to two days and change water daily. Change the substrate completely and thoroughly clean and disinfect the terrarium once a week. Always wear gloves or use forceps to handle your scorpions while you are cleaning the tank. Though they are not toxic to humans, you could be allergic to their venom. Place them in a separate, secure enclosure while you are cleaning their terrarium.

Housing Multiple Emperor Scorpions Emperor Scorpions are actually social, and they live together in large groups in the wild. However, they have a significant amount of space to move about in the wild that they do not have in captivity. Even with a large tank, fights will break out. You can house more than one scorpion together, but be sure to increase the size of the enclosure significantly, and provide many hides throughout the habitat. Be prepared to house them in separate terrariums if they are too aggressive to be housed together.

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