Malaysian Black Scorpion: A Complete Care Guide

Malaysian Black Scorpion

Heterometrus spinifer (Malaysian Black Scorpion), is hardy, calm, and hard to care for. These large, glossy black scorpions are sometimes confused for the popular Emperor Scorpion (P. imperator) at first glance. It is stunning to look at as well. However, it cannot be handled, unlike the Emperor Scorpion. Compared to the more timid Emperor, it is a far more aggressive species.  

It is also frequently mistaken for its cousin, the true Heterometrus longimanus (Asian Forest Scorpion) and also known as the name Asian Forest Scorpion. The Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion, however, may be identified by its size, which is much larger. In general, it’s not recommended to handle scorpions because they frequently won’t become calm, and handling them increases the chance of getting stung and stresses the scorpion. However, they continue to make fascinating pets, particularly during feeding. Continue reading to know about the captive care of a Malaysian black scorpion. 

An Overview of Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion:

Scientific Name Heterometrus spinifer
Common Name Malaysian Black Scorpion, Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion, Malaysian Giant Scorpion, Asian Black Forest Scorpion, Asian black scorpion, Black Asian Forest Scorpion, Thailand Forest Scorpion, Thai Blue Scorpion, Asian Scorpion, Thai Black Scorpion, Giant Blue Scorpion, and Giant Forest Scorpion
Class Arachnida
Order Scorpiones 
Family Scorpionidae
Species spinifer
Type Terrestrial
Habitats Malaysian black scorpions generally reside under logs & other natural debris. They often live above ground, feeding on insects, although they may also burrow to some extent.
Range The Malaysian black forest scorpion is distributed across Southeast Asia. Their geographic reach extends to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Their natural habitat is in tropical forests.
Social Structure Communal
Size 10 cm or 4 inches
Growth Rate Medium
Activity Cycle Nocturnal
Lifespan The lifespan of the Heterometrus spinifer (Malaysian black forest scorpion) is seven to eight years.
Diet Black Asian Forest Scorpions feed on large insects including crickets, locusts, and even small mice. Large scorpions should be fed a varied diet that includes adult crickets, Tenebrio larvae, grasshoppers, and occasionally give mice (once or twice a month).
Natural Defenses Painful Sting
Venom Low potency – It is known to be significantly more potent than a bee sting and is typically not harmful to people except if they have an allergy.
Experience Level Intermediate

Background:

Ehrenberg first introduced the Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion, Heterometrus spinifer, in 1828. It was once thought that the Heterometrus genus belonged to the Buthus genus as a subgenus. Later in 1879, it was classified as a separate genus by F. Karsch, and F. Kovank reaffirmed this classification in 2004.

Nutritional Requirements:

Scorpions will eat live food including crickets, locusts, super worms, butter worms, mealworms, houseflies, and even cockroaches based on their size. These may be dropped into the cage without any additional supplements. Your Malaysian black scorpion will only be required to eat once or twice a week, based on the meal, and it is essential to remove any leftover live food. The Asian Black Forest Scorpion may be vulnerable to being eaten by live food, especially when it is molting.

All scorpions are carnivores (meat eaters) that use a tail’s stinger to paralyze their victim. The Malaysian black scorpion may live for an entire year on only one insect when food is in short supply. These scorpions do this by lowering their body’s metabolism.

Appearance:

The Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion is a large, black species of scorpion that resembles the Emperor Scorpion in appearance as mentioned above. It has a granulated, shiny black exoskeleton. In the wild, they mature sexually at around 4 years old (while in captivity it could be closer to one year).

They have an elongated body, like other scorpions, and an erectile, segmented tail that ends in the telson (the sting). They are poisonous, however, their venom is generally not fatal to humans. Here is a table about the appearance of the Malaysian black scorpion:

Body Parts Appearance
Base color (body and stinger) uniformly black, only manus and telson might be reddish-brown
Claws size Slightly lobiform, its adult length-to-width ratio 2.4 to 2.6 in both sexes.
Claws texture Smooth, with smooth carinae forming irregular reticulation.
Carapace texture With margins granulate and disc smooth
Pectinal teeth number 15–19
Patella of pedipalp With pronounced internal tubercle.

Color:

The body is shiny black with grayish-green reflections. Seem blue in the sun. The manus and telson of Malaysian black scorpion might be reddish brown, but the base color of an adult is consistently black. The telson might be yellow in juveniles, whose base color is reddish brown.

Size:

The average length of a Malaysian black scorpion is above 10 cm (4 inches), and they are known to have moderate to longer lifespans (more than 8 years), as well as are quite hardy.

Breeding:

In captivity, Heterometrus is a very easy species to breed, and females captured from the wild are frequently gravid. Make a habitat that has a flat surface for your pet scorpions to court on and is sufficient to keep two of them for at least a week. This could be a piece of broken crockery, rock, or slate. The male and female scorpions should be introduced and given time to adjust in the cage. 

It could take some time, but when the male and female are ready to mate, it will happen. A courtship dance will first be performed by the mating couple before the male locks his chelae with the female’s chelae and leads the female with rhythmic maneuvers. Although it may appear that the scorpions are fighting, they are really mating by grabbing each other by the pincers and moving back and forth.

Mating Dance:

The female will be moved around by the males by grabbing her by her pincers. He pulls the female over a spermatophore that has been placed on the ground. Then she will take this within her genital hole. It is a great idea to take the male and put him in another cage as soon as you discover that the female has grown bigger because of the pregnancy. You may ensure that your female gives birth quietly by keeping her in a separate, well-maintained tank. Stress may seriously interfere with a scorpion’s pregnancy and even cause cannibalism when the offspring are born.

Baby Birth:

Most scorpions give birth after about nine months, but this might vary depending on the temperature, species, and diet. During this time, it’s crucial to be calm and not stress the female, but to keep an eye out for childbirth. Scorpions are nearly colorless when they are born and will soon climb onto their mothers’ backs. Frequently, the female will wait to feed the young until they’ve molted into their second instar. 

The first instar will molt after one or two weeks, depending on the temperature. It is essential to keep humidity at this stage by misting and keeping the substrate moist. You can remove the babies from the adults after the scorplings reach their second instar of development and leave their mother’s back and create a setting for them that is similar to the adults. While there may be no issues with raising the young in the adult terrarium, it is still probable that the larger scorpions will consume them.

Start providing the mother with a lot of food now so she may recover herself and put on the lost weight once the young have moved on.

Raising Baby Malaysian Black Scorpion:

After the young have molted and left the mother, they can be separated into smaller cages. Black Asian Forest Scorpion young can be raised together without issue because they aren’t cannibalistic like many Buthids. Give the necessary large shallow water bowl, deep wet substrate, and hiding spots like cork bark or an upturned plant pot. Now the scorplings are hungry, start giving them small insects like pinheads and adult crickets that have been sliced up, and other insects to consume.

Behavior and Temperament:

In comparison to other scorpion species, Malaysian black scorpions are more hostile and less likely to cooperate when handled. If it is in danger or feels threatened, the Malaysian black scorpion will sting in self-defense. In contrast to other scorpions, like the Emperor scorpion, the black forest scorpion is unlikely to become tame while in captivity. 

The Asian black scorpion is one to admire visually because of its appearance, size, and behavior; young children and pets shouldn’t approach the Malaysian black forest scorpion. Normally, scorpions are solitary creatures, but this scorpion, such as the Emperor Scorpions, is an exception. It is possible to keep adults in groups of three or more. 

They occasionally get into fights, and it typically involves cricket. Therefore, make sure they receive adequate food. Additionally, it aids in providing more places to hide than the number of scorpions.

Handling:

Give your pet scorpion lots of hiding spots inside its container to avoid getting stung, and if you need to handle it, wear long and thick gloves. As a substitute, you might use a net to move your pet scorpion. To move Malaysian black scorpions, use deli cups, tweezers, and paintbrushes covered in foam since they could sting you. Scorpions are more appropriately classified as display creatures than “hands-on” pets.

The pain from a scorpion sting is usually much more severe than the victim would have expected. It is common for redness, swelling, and pain to persist for several days. Several Heterometrus species have been found to cause significant results including paralysis and respiratory difficulty.

Conversation Status:

The IUCN Red List for endangered species does not include the Malaysian Black Scorpion.

Terrarium Requirements:

Terrarium Requirements of Malaysian Black Scorpion
Image credit: myhomenature

The Malaysian Black Scorpion lives in humid conditions. Depending on the number of scorpions, they may be housed in a tank that is two and a half to fifteen gallons in size. 

Substrate:

Peat moss and damp sand substrate with a three inches deep layer of cypress mulch on top. African and Asian forest species known as heterometrus are warm and humid species. The habitat should include a deep layer (6 to 7 cm) of peat-free compost that could be covered with orchid bark chippings. Water must be sprayed on the substrate daily or so, but not to the extent where it becomes wet. It is important to take precautions to prevent the substrate from growing fungus or mold.

Humidity:

They must be housed in a humid environment of 60% to 80% humidity, which may be done by supplying a shallow water bowl and misting as needed. You will require a hygrometer to effectively maintain the correct humidity levels for your Malaysian black forest scorpion. A hygrometer is a tool employed to measure the tank’s relative humidity.

Temperature:

Malaysian black forest scorpion needs a temperature of 75°F to 90°F (24°C to 32°C). A temperature gradient is necessary so that the scorpion may regulate its body temperature as required. A heating pad made for placement under reptile enclosures is the simplest way to create a gradient. This should only be put under approximately 1/3 of the cage so that your pet scorpion may move between warmer and colder temperatures as needed. Although, you need to keep an eye on the temperatures by employing accurate thermometers at a few points throughout the enclosure to make sure they are being given the correct temperature.

Other Supplies:

Moreover, provide a large, shallow water dish. The cage for the Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion should have a sheet of cork bark or some other type of shelter or hide.

Health:

These are some signs given below that indicate, your scorpion is not well:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Having an excessively swollen stomach
  • Being lethargic or listless
  • Having missing or malformed limbs

Molting:

Scorpions have a hard outer covering, known as a cuticle that acts as a rigid exoskeleton. All scorpions must undergo a process known as the molt in which they secrete a new exoskeleton to develop.

Molting is one of the most frequent causes of death in scorpions. As your pet scorpion matures, it will undergo molting, which may be a stressful sight for novice owners since when scorpions flop on their backs to crawl out of the old molt, they frequently appear dead. Additional spraying and humidity will help with the process, but no further assistance is required.

Other Problems:

  • Overfeeding
  • Mite Infestation

Interesting Facts:

  1. The Malaysian black scorpion will emit a greenish-blue color when exposed to UV light. This might be due to moonlight in the wild. Scientists are still debating the reason why scorpions are able to do this.
  2. Researchers are investigating the use of scorpion venom in medicine. One possible application is to locate cancer cells in the brain.
  3. These creatures are popular as pets. This is because of the low risk and large size. You must take caution when around them because they’re still dangerous to humans. Anaphylactic shock is one significant threat.
  4. They are known by a variety of other names, such as giant blue scorpion, giant forest scorpion, and Asian forest scorpion.

Conclusion:

Malaysian black scorpions are a fascinating and easily accessible species for hobby. They have a striking and appealing appearance that enthusiasts highly admire. Malaysian black forest scorpions could be recommended to intermediate to experienced owners because of their aggressiveness. The fact that they are poisonous creatures is the biggest concern. Malaysian black scorpions should not be pets to play with.

It might be exciting, but keeping Malaysian black scorpions as pets comes with a lot of responsibility. They could, after all, survive for many years. As a result, the owner needs to do some basic research on the size, humidity, and temperature of the Malaysian black scorpion tank.

FAQ’s

Is the Malaysian black forest scorpion poisonous?

A mature adult might describe the Malaysian black forest scorpion’s sting as that of a large hornet. Although not fatal, the sting can be extremely painful, swollen, red, and numb in the extremities, which can persist for many days.

What is the average lifespan of Malaysian black scorpions?

Their average lifespan is around 7-8 years, and they attain sexual maturity at around 4 years in the wild (but it could be closer to one year in captivity).

What are the common names of Malaysian black scorpions?

Heterometrus spinifer is known by many names. Some of them are Malaysian Black Scorpion, Malaysian Black Forest Scorpion, Malaysian Giant Scorpion, Asian Black Forest Scorpion, Asian black scorpion, Black Asian Forest Scorpion, Thailand Forest Scorpion, Thai Blue Scorpion, Asian Scorpion, Thai Black Scorpion, Giant Blue Scorpion, and Giant Forest Scorpion.

About The Author

Azwa is a talented writer who recently joined our team. Azwa does a thorough investigation and gathers reliable data before writing about your pets and their care instructions so that you have all the knowledge you want. She works as a dietitian and has an incredible understanding of reptiles.

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