The Emperor Scorpion is native to Africa, coming from Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Its scientific name is Pandinus imperator, and they reach sizes between 5-8”. These pure black scorpions are very popular as pets due to their size, beauty, docile nature, and ease of care. Properly cared for Emperor Scorpions can live to 10 years and beyond.
Although many people house these species together, it is recommended they are kept alone as fights often break out between one another.
Although Emperor Scorpions are quite large, they do well in a standard 10 gallon aquarium/terrarium. A slightly larger enclosure is okay, but too large of enclosures are not recommended. Always use a secure lid that locks to ensure no escapes happen. Lids that let out less humidity are ideal as these scorpions require high humidity levels.
Never place these scorpions in direct sunlight, or any sort of UV light, as it can lead to death. Scorpions appreciate a proper day/night schedule however for their biological rhythms to stay functioning properly. So, during the day ensure the enclosure that your scorpion is in, has some light in it. The lighting of whatever room they're in works fine, and when it's night, ensure the enclosure is dark.
Temperatures of 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit work well for this species. It is always good to treat the scorpions enclosure as a natural environment and aim for a lower temperature at night than you use during the day (lowering it by a few degrees is good). The use of an under the tank heater is needed in some cases to ensure the enclosure stays at an ideal temperature (It is best that these are actually stuck to the backside of the enclosure, rather than under it, to avoid death). When using heating mats, always ensure that they are on a thermostat and cannot over-heat. Always use a thermometer to measure the heat level, do not just guess it, as this can lead to severe problems. (IF THE USE OF AN UNDER THE TANK HEATER IS NECCESARY, EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION. ALWAYS ENSURE THEY DO NOT OVERHEAT AND TURN THEM OFF WHEN THE ROOM IS WARM ENOUGH TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL DEATH.)
The substrate you use in your Emperor Scorpions enclosure should be completely organic (this means all natural, and completely chemical free). Substrates such as coconut fiber, bed-a-beast, orchid bark, peat moss, peat humus, or cypress mulch are all good choices. This species enjoys burrowing at times so the substrate bed should between 4-6” deep. The Emperor Scorpion enjoys spots to hide, too. Supplying the enclosure with things like cork bark, clay pots, or reptile caves work well. The scorpion likes its hiding places to be big enough to fit into, but snug enough to feel secure.
Always ensure that whatever decorations or caves you use are securely placed in the bottom of the enclosure, before adding substrate so the scorpion is not crushed by an unstable decoration.
Always supply the Emperor Scorpion with a shallow water dish. This not only provides them with water to drink, but also helps the enclosure to stay humid. Always use chlorine-free water. They will sometimes even use their water dishes to bathe in. Washing of the water dish is also necessary, and should be done anytime the bowl feels slimy, or there seems to be any oily substance on the top of your water. Do not use soap, simply use warm water and scrub it with a brand new toothbrush, or washcloth, that's never had soap or toothpaste on it.
Humidity levels for your Emperor Scorpion should be quite high, always at 80% or above. Misting the substrate, and use of the water dish is generally enough to keep the enclosure humid. The use of a hygrometer to measure your humidity is suggested, letting levels fall too low can cause fatal health problems. Substrate should be moist enough to clump together when you pinch it, and hold the form. It should not be completely soaked, though.
Emperor Scorpions will eat standard invertebrate insect prey, such as mealworms, grasshoppers, crickets, waxworms, and cockroaches. It's always good to vary their diet, to ensure they get all sorts of vitamins. Feed your scorpion around 1-3 prey items per week. Emperor Scorpions have no problem stuffing themselves and will happily overeat, so it's best to put in one prey item at a time, and stop when the white membrane between their body segments starts to show and poke out some. Emperor Scorpions have been known to go on long fasts, so don't panic if your stops eating. If this happens to you simply offer 1 food item, once a week until your scorpion is eating again, then resume normal feeding schedule. (Allow the cricket [or whatever you're using] to stay in the scorpion's enclosure for 24 hours before removing.)
It's also recommended that you gut-load your scorpions food 48 hours prior to feeding. Gut-loading is where you feed the crickets (or whatever you're feeding at the time) food. This can be achieved through commercial cricket food. Always supply a water source for your food, as well. Supplying them with oranges is a good way to do this, as placing a water dish in will only lead to drowning and the spread of bacteria.
Scorpions are a pet that are best for just looking at. The Emperor Scorpion is considered to be of low venom level, but every person can react differently and you will not know your own reaction until it is too late. Emperor Scorpions are known for being docile, but even they can sting, and pinch you, and they are strong enough to draw blood. It is best to just look at this pet, rather than touch it. However, if there comes a time when you need to handle your scorpion you should know how to do it properly.
If you're worried about being pinched, or stung, wear gloves that will allow you to still be able to handle the scorpion appropriately, but be less susceptible to an injury. When picking up the scorpion with your hands, grab it by the tail segment just below the stinger bulb, and quickly, but very carefully move him to the flat surface of your palm. Be sure to stay low to the ground, in case your scorpion bolts, it's not a far drop and will be less likely injure itself.
If you simply need to get the scorpion out of the enclosure for cleaning or something like that, and do not wish to handle your scorpion simply coax it into a plastic container that is large enough for him, that a lid can be placed on once it's inside. Remember to poke plenty of air holes in the container.
If the two previous methods don't suit you, then you can use tweezers, or tongs to pick up your scorpion. It is recommended that whatever instrument you choose to use be padded with Styrofoam, and you must be very gentle. Use the tweezers or tongs to pick up the scorpion by the tail segment just below the bulb, and quickly, but very carefully transfer it to wherever you need it to be. (I suggest you have a container right beside the scorpion enclosure so this can be done quickly, and without error.)
Note: Please be aware that most blacklights have UV rays, and these can lead to the death of your scorpion.
Signs to Understand and Watch For
If your Emperor Scorpion is too hot it will become very active and may try to sting itself, and even roll over onto its back.