Emperor Scorpion (Pandanis Imperator) – A Complete Care Guide

Emperor Scorpion

The fierce-looking Pandanis imperator commonly referred to as emperor scorpion catch the imagination of many people due to their fierce appearance, as scary as they look they aren’t as dangerous. They are the easiest scorpion to adopt as a pet.

Emperor Scorpion Care Guide
Image Credit: petco

Proper research should be done before adopting them as a pet. Emperor scorpions are venomous but their sting is not more poisonous than that of a bee’s sting. It is easily curable, that’s why these scorpions are also called beginner-friendly scorpions.

Overview

Common nameBlack emperor scorpions African emperor scorpionsImperial scorpions
Scientific name :Pandinus imperator
Kingdom :Animalia
Phylum :Arthropoda
Class :Arachnida 
Family :Scorpionidae 
Species :P. imperator
Size  :Range from 5 to 8 inches
Color :Black, dark brown, and green.
Lifespan :2 to 6 years
Temperature for survival :70°F to 80°F
Care level :Moderate

Physical Appearance & Description

An emperor scorpion has tiny hair on his tail, this hair helps him detect its prey because of their weak eyesight. The tail of an emperor scorpion is curved upwards towards his body, and the end of his tail has a stinger in red color, The tail is called metasoma.

Emperor scorpions are shiny, usually black or brown colors, but it shines to a blue color under UV light.

These scorpions also have a large pair of very strong pincers that are of a reddish black color. It has 8 legs in total, 4 on each side of his body. 

The texture of emperor scorpions is gritty; they have a hard shell. The front part of an emperor scorpion’s body is called the prosoma.

Size

As emperor scorpions are the largest species of scorpions but not the longest, still their length is greater than the length of all the other scorpions. The average length of emperor scorpions is 8 inches (20 cm).

Size of scorpion

Female emperor scorpions are a little bigger than male emperor scorpions, but they have smaller pectineus as compared to male scorpions. 

A pectineus are comb shaped limbs that are situated ventrally behind the legs of the scorpions , they are used as sensory organs.

Weight

Emperor scorpions weigh 30g, but female emperor scorpions weigh more than male scorpions. The average weight of a male emperor scorpion is 27g, while the female can weigh up to 30g.

Is Emperor Scorpion Venomous?

The emperor scorpions sting with their stingers on their tail. The sting of an emperor scorpion is like a bee sting. It is not fatal, it is painful and may give an infection, but it is not strong enough to kill, this species of scorpion is not that harmful to humans.

Small children and elderly people may face complications, but a healthy adult doesn’t need any medications to cure the sting.

The emperor scorpions do not sting their prey either; they rather use their claws to kill the prey.

Behavior

Emperor scorpions are social reptiles. They live in colonies, but they also prefer their own space. You can keep two emperor scorpions together in a tank, but provide them with enough food so that they don’t attack each other.

Emperor scorpions are not aggressive unless they feel threatened by humans.

Growing Speed

Emperor scorpions have a fast growth rate, in the beginning, they are carried over the mother scorpions back and they are white in color for that period. Until their first molt (molt is the dead skin or shell that scorpions shed off), they are weak and dependent upon the mother, this maternity period finishes after the first molt.

The emperor scorpions grow in size very quickly. The size of a 2-year-old scorpion is 4 inches, while the size of a 4-year-old changes to 6 inches. 

Speed of an Emperor Scorpion

Emperor scorpions move very fast, the prey can’t escape when it is in the range of an emperor scorpion,  but the exact speed of an emperor scorpion is not yet known.

Life Span

The lifetime of emperor scorpions is long if they are taken proper care of. The average life span is 5 to 6 years, but if proper care is taken this can extend to even 8 to 9 years

Reproduction

The emperor scorpions breed throughout the year, but most of it happens during summers. They produce approximately 9 to 10 offspring at a time. The gestation period of emperor scorpions is 9 months.

The average age of sexual reproductivity maturity of both male and female scorpions is of 4 years.

The mating process takes place when two emperor scorpions meet, the male deposits the spermatophore in the female when it finds the suitable spot, the female is then pulled over the top where she moves it in her genital aperture.

Female scorpions assume a stilting posture several hours before giving birth to their babies. The anterior portion of the body is elevated above the substrate and the female genital operculum opens.

 The small baby scorpions come out one by the other then they crawl up to the female’s back.

Geographical Distribution of Emperor Scorpions: 

The emperor scorpions originate from West Africa, these are found in deserts as well as in forests.

 African countries like Ghana, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra have a large number of these scorpions.

Emperor Scorpions As Prey

Emperor scorpions are a part of the economical system despite their venomous sting, not only birds but insects too prey upon emperor scorpions. Emperor scorpions are the prey of animals like owls, bats, spiders, small snakes, lizards, meerkats, centipedes, larger scorpions, shrews, and even humans.

Extinction

We cannot tell the exact population of emperor scorpions but they are not a threatened species, they are still present in a great number. CITES has listed the emperor scorpions in appendix II such species are not in danger or threatened but it is still protected to keep them from any risk of extinction. The US federal list also has no special status and they are not evaluated in the IUCN red list.

Natural Habitat

The habitat of emperor scorpions is humid and warm climates as they come from African countries.  They require at least 75% humidity in the environment they are living in. 

enclosure for your pet scorpion

Emperor scorpions are commonly found in rainy and tropical areas. These two factors increase the humidity level in the environment, which makes it a perfect environment for emperor scorpions to live in.

Emperor scorpions like hiding under rocks, digging burrows to hide in, and climbing surfaces, that’s why most of the scorpions are found in tropical savanna areas.

Emperor scorpions live inside burrows during the day; some burrows are permanent while others are semi-permanent. A scorpion’s burrow can be 3 inches deep in the ground or even more. They dig burrows to live in, these burrows may be under rocks, bark, and roots of trees. Two emperor scorpions can share the same burrow. 

How To Create A Pet Habitat For Scorpions?

Emperor scorpions can be kept easily in glass or plastic tanks, ideally, this tank should be at least 10 gallons big this makes it easier for the scorpion to move around.

Aquarium for scorpion

The tank should have holes through which there can be air ventilation, and it should also have a strong lid. Emperor scorpions are strong enough to remove the lid and escape if the lid is loose. Cover should  be provided to make them feel at home by mimicking their natural habitat.

Ideal Temperature For a Pet Emperor Scorpion

For the survival of an emperor scorpion, the temperature inside the tank should be 70°F to 80°F, temperatures higher than this can kill the emperor scorpion, hence it is advised to have a thermometer in the tank so you are aware of the temperature at all times.

The ideal temperature of 70° can be adopted by using heating mats, and a humid environment can be achieved by spraying the tank once a day with water or by using a bowl of water kept in the tank for evaporation purposes.

Depending on which country you live in you may or may not require this, if you live in a country such as Africa then you don’t need to get heating mats but if you live in a country such as Canada it’s highly recommended for you to get heating mats, and spray the substrates with water to retain moisture in the tank.

 The humidity level should  be kept in control. The humidity level should be 70%. It shouldn’t exceed that as too much humidity can also cause harm to the pet.

Floor & Substrate

Emperor scorpions like to dig in the ground, for us to provide them with this environment we should add substrate in the tank such as coconut fibers, reptile bark, or even soil. This substrate layer should be 3 to 5 inches thick.

The substrate should be sprayed with water until it’s damp to retain moisture.

 Moisture helps to keep the environment humid but spraying the substrate should only be done once or twice a day.

Obstacles such as rocks, bark, flower pots, etc. should be provided in the tank as emperor scorpions like to hide, dig, and climb. They are very interactive with the environment that they are living in.

Diet For Pet Emperor Scorpion

Emperor scorpions and carnivorous animals. They prey upon small insects like crickets, moths, mealworms, and other pest insects, larger emperor scorpions also eat lizards and mice. These insects are easily available on the ground, but scorpions can dig into the ground up to 5 feet to hunt for prey.

Emperor scorpions should be fed crickets and worms, but we should not overload their gut with too many of these, we should only feed them 2 or 3 crickets at first. Scorpions eat live insects, but keep them away from living insects when they are molting, and do not feed your scorpion when they are molting. Scorpions don’t eat every day, depending on the number of insects your scorpion eats you can feed him thrice or twice a week.

Emperor scorpions should also be provided with an adequate amount of water to make them stay hydrated; the scorpions also require water to lay into sometimes so that they can cool down. Keep in mind that the dish should be big enough for the scorpion to lay in but not so big that the scorpion drowns in it the dish should also be sturdy.

Tap water is not the best for emperor scorpions, they should be given spring water, but keep the water for aging purposes for at least a day so that the chlorine in the water can evaporate.

Healthcare For Pet Emperor Scorpions

Generally, it’s very easy to take care of emperor scorpions, as they don’t have many health concerns but the problems that you may come across are regarding dehydration or excessive humidity both of which are related to the temperature in which the scorpion is kept.

If the scorpion is overly heated it becomes very active and may sting people or even itself, this may cause the death of the scorpion. Another problem is dehydration, if the scorpion is dehydrated he may look dried up. This can be easily taken care of by increasing the humidity level but an exotic vet should be consulted first.

fungus infections can also infect the scorpions. If you see flat or fuzzy gray or white patches on the body of the emperor scorpion, then it may be that the scorpion has gotten a fungal infection. Although this is uncommon with scorpions, it can happen as they are  kept in humid conditions.This can be treated by lowering the percentage of humidity in the tank or moving the scorpion to a drier environment for a while. You can also use fungus persists on your pet scorpions.

In case of any cuts or scrapes on the exoskeleton of the scorpion, you can apply some jelly on it to stop it from bleeding.

The scorpion can also get stuck in its exoskeleton due to dry conditions, increasing the humidity level in the tank to help them out. You can also remove bits of its exoskeleton with the help of forceps.

Light For Pet Scorpions

Emperor scorpions don’t need sunlight. Darkness is healthy for them due to their weak eyesight. Emperor scorpions remain in their burrows during the day and come out during the night.

Some people add UV lights to the tank of an emperor scorpion because it’s mesmerizing to look at its bluish color under UV lights, but they aren’t safe for the scorpion. Short-term use of UV lights once in a while is alright, but long-term use is harmful as UV lights are simply a part of sunlight.

Grooming

Unlike other pets, emperor scorpions are self-grooming; they shed their exoskeletons; this process is called molting. A scorpion sheds its exoskeleton approximately 6 times until it reaches adulthood. If you notice cracks on its outer shell, then it’s most likely the scorpion is molting.

Emperor Scorpion Shedding

While a scorpion is molting it’s advised not to feed it, and also to keep it away from any live animals as it’s very vulnerable around this period. Usually, a scorpion stops eating 5 to 10 days before it starts molting, so we shouldn’t feed them for an additional week after molting.

To help your scorpion mold better you can increase the humidity in the environment . If your scorpion hides during molting  and doesn’t interact much it’s nothing to worry about.

A scorpion usually sheds for a day or two, and it takes one week for it to fully develop a hard shell.

Cleaning After Pet Emperor Scorpions

Emperor scorpions are pretty clean and they don’t make a lot of mess, but you should clean their tank and substrate at least once a month, and remove any uneaten insects as those may try to attack the scorpion especially when it’s molting.

Remove uneaten food so there are no growing bacteria in the tank that may cause disease.

Use eco earth substrate which resembles the natural habitat of the scorpion so they can feel the comfort of home.

Handling Pet Scorpions

It’s not advised to handle emperor scorpions often as they don’t like to be touched a lot, but if you  need to for cleaning purposes then you may take them out with a pair of tongs.                                                                                     

when you handle them too often they feel that they are being attacked and sting you for defense, hence it’s best to not handle them often and only do it when it’s really necessary.

If you choose to handle an emperor scorpion with your hand, grab it by its tail so that it can not sting you.

Risk Factors To Keeping Pet Scorpions

The risk factor to keeping emperor scorpions as pets is that they may escape their tank and they can also sting you. Even though their venom is mild, it can cause painful infections. It’s not a great option to keep them in a house of kids and toddlers.

Cost For Getting an Emperor Scorpion

The cost of emperor scorpions varies on some factors these factors are:

  1. Gender of scorpion
  2. Size of scorpion
  3. Age of scorpion
  4. The country in which it is purchased
  5. Demand for emperor scorpions

Besides these, the average price of an emperor scorpion is 25$ 

Emperor scorpions can be bought on online stores like Amazon, eBay, etc, or seek a reptile breeder.

Legality

One of the most important things to be checked before buying an emperor scorpion is to check whether its purchase is legal in your country or not. Fortunately, emperor scorpions are hard to find but are legal to be bought as pets in all countries, along with some other scorpions like the Tanzanian red-clawed scorpion.

 If you live in the United States you need to consider getting permission since they fall under Appendix II by CITES.

Conclusion

We conclude that emperor scorpions are great exotic pets, especially for people who are new to exotic pets. They are easy to handle and don’t require any sort of pampering. All you need to do to keep your scorpion happy is take care of the temperature and humidity within the tank and provide it with a sufficient amount of food.

Any sort of health hazard can be easily detected and taken under control by the advice of a vet.

Overall, they are the best type of scorpions to be adopted as pets, as they aren’t dangerous and the most they can do is sting which is not fatal.

How often do you clean the tank?

The tank should be cleaned once a month, it can even go longer without cleaning but it’s advised to do it once a month.

Can we keep other pets with emperor scorpions?

No, you shouldn’t keep it with emperor scorpions as the pet may attack or get attacked by the scorpion.

Where to place the heat mat?

The heat mat can be placed on the outside of the glass tank, if you are using a plastic tank then use a plastic safe heat mat that doesn’t burn it. Do not place the heat mat under the tank as this may cause the scorpion’s death.

Is my scorpion eating itself?

No, it’s most likely that the scorpion is cleaning itself, emperor scorpions are self cleaners so if you notice its stinger in its mouth then the scorpion is cleaning itself.

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