Emperor Scorpion Habitat Requirements: Tank, Heating Mat, Substrate & Lights

Tank Requirements

The most important variable to keeping emperor scorpion’s as pets is their habitat. The most common cage used to house scorpions is a fish aquarium. Go to your local pet store and buy a “20 gallon long” or also called a “breeder” series of tanks. All this means is that the tank is longer and more narrow. It doesn’t make sense to buy an aquarium that is tall because your scorpion will only be using the bottom.

Most guides are going to tell you to buy a 10 gallon aquarium but I dont agree with that. Its so easy to just get that little bit of extra in a 20 gallon long and it gives your emperor scorpion a lot more room to move around. Or maybe you want multiple scorpions living together.. so go with a 30 gallon “long” series tank.

Note: Why not go that extra mile and give your scorpion/s a little more room with a bit bigger of an aquarium. Make the tank an entertainment piece for someone to see and get a nice stand too. Just a thought/advice. It is said that large aquariums make it harder for scorpions to catch their prey but I’m not totally convinced on this theory.

Needed: Heating Mat

The only specialty item you will need to keep a pet emperor scorpion is a “reptile mat”. It is a heat pad that sits underneath your aquarium and lets you configure the temperature. I advise you to buy it on Amazon because local pet stores love marking up the prices on necessity items like this. Here are some top rated image links from amazon of reptile mats. Read more on this below in the article.

Substrate

Your cage needs to have a lining to it and the reason is because that is part of the scorpions natural habitat. We are ideally trying to build our cages into the animal’s natural habitat so it can have the healthiest life possible.

In most cases sand is going to be used as your tank liner. Reptile sand is pretty cheap and common (here is amazon link). What you need to watch for is additives that are put in the sand.. but if you buy sand with the word “reptile” involved.. then it will be safe. Sometimes people cut corners and use sand from home improvement stores. Its still a fine route to go but make sure you do your homework on additives.

Thickness of Substrate

Your cage (or aquarium) will need to have 3-6 inches of substrate lining on the bottom. This is a big deal because scorpions burrow to help bring their body temperatures up or down. If the temperature is too high the emperor scorpion will burrow down into a cooler area to cool itself down. So having enough depth is very important.

Hiding Spots are Needed

Scorpions need a constant place to hide. Its best to have a couple different hiding spots at all times. Its not necessarily that scorpions are insecure and need to hide.. but more or less its just part of their lifestyle. Flat pieces of rock work great. Other items like driftwood, large bark pieces, and generic reptile decorations work too. Make sure you have hiding spots available.

What Type of Lights?

Emperor scorpions are actually nocturnal so their lighting can be close to nothing. I see a lot of people use zero lighting and that is fine. Others complain that they want a cool LED light to “showcase” their awesome exotic pet. My answer to that is to use nothing ultraviolet or full spectrum because it will do harm. Its a common mistake to use UV lights with scorpions because they are thought to of need it since they live in the desert an such.. not true.

Note: A cool way to showcase your scorpion at nighttime is to get a backlight for your cage. This way you can watch them hunt and do what they do while awake.

Humidity Level

The Emperor Scorpion needs a maintained humidity of 80%. The way you keep the tank humid is by misting water on a daily to bi-daily basis. A tool you will want to buy is called a hygrometer. It measures the humidity level. Here are some amazon product links to help.

Temperature

Instead of having your scorpion cage one specific temperature, you want to create a variation of temperatures. One side of the cage should be at the high end of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. While the other should be around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this, use a heatpad on the bottom of the aquarium. Only have the heatpad on 1/3 of the aquarium bottom.

Note: We advise using a special reptile heatpad designed for reptile cages and such. Not just any heatpad will work at your specific temperatures you need like these ones do. Here is an amazon link to some best sellers it helps. Also, here are some image links.

The reason we want the variation in temperatures is to let the scorpion control its own body temperature (that’s what it does). They will burrow into the sand or dirt to bring their temp down when needed and vice versa for warming up. Emperor scorpions are experts at managing their body temperatures. We just need to setup their habitat properly to make it possible for them to do so.

Emperor Scorpion Diet Food List

Food

In the wild they will have a diverse menu of insects and other smaller critters to feed on. But in captivity, the best food is crickets, worms, and a variety of insects you can maybe find. To give you an idea of a proper amount of food. Emperor scorpion’s are a larger size scorpion and they will eat around 5-10 crickets a week. Remember to change it up every now and then.

Keeping Mealworms As Feed

Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle. Mealworms, like all beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, and have an egg, larva, pupa and beetle stage. Females lay up to 1000 very small eggs, which quickly become coated in substrate. They remain at this stage for around a week depending on temperature.

The newly emerged larvae are very small but grow rather quickly, leaving an exoskeleton behind at each moult. Mealworms spend around 3 months as larvae, then they pupate, this stage only lasts around two weeks. The beetle that eventually emerges from the pupa is a light beige, darkening to red, brown, and finally black after about two days.

You need a shallow container such as Tupperware or a packed lunch box. Size isn’t too important but a container 25cm long x 15cm wide x 10cm high filled almost to the top with substrate can house around 30 beetles and 200 mealworms. If the container is too small then the beetles will find and eat many eggs. Ventilation is quite important, air holes in the lid are needed but should be kept small so the newly hatched mealworms can’t wriggle out.

The substrate you should use is bran, if you cannot get this rolled oats will also be good. It is recommended to feed vegetables or fruit on occasion but this isn’t essential. This is the means that the mealworms get their moisture. Make sure that the food does not mould, replace it if this should happen.

Water

Don’t forget a small water dish for them too. They don’t need much at all. Just make sure its not too deep so they dont drown themselves.

Emperor Scorpion Anatomy & Facts

The scorpions body is divided into two main sections. The prosoma and the opisthosoma.

  1. Prosoma: The front of the scorpions main body. The prosoma is the head and thorax of the scorpion
  2. Opisthosoma: The rear of the scorpion main body, or the abdomen of the scorpion

From there, we move on to the other parts of the scorpion.

  • Metasoma: Five segments located after the opisthosoma, or the tail.
  • Telson: The bulb on the end of the metasoma, or tail that holds the stinger
  • Aculeus: The actual stinger. It’s hollow to allow venom to pass trhough it.
  • Chelicerae: The mouthparts of the scorpion
  • Genital opercula: The reproductive area of the scorpion, usually in an oval shape
  • Pectines: The feathery sensory structures found ventrally on teh scorpion.
  • Pedipalps: The “arms” bearing the scorpions pincers.
  • Chelae: The claws, or pinchers.
  • Legs: Used to walk around with…
  • Trichobothrium: The large hairs found on the chelae, used as sensors.

Are Scorpions Venomous?

All scorpions possess venom, but of them only fifty or so species are considered medically significant. Which means, if you get stung, by all but fifty species, you need not worry about running to the hospital. Mild to severe discomfort may be encountered, but unless you have an allergic reaction to their sting, you should be fine. Although many experts suggest that if you’re allergic to bee or wasp stings, you may also want to avoid scorpion stings.

Reproduction

Unlike the majority of the arachnid family, scorpions give live birth. After the babies are born, they stay on their mothers back, usually until their first molt. This stage is called the first instar. The instar, is the period of time between a scorpion’s molt. Starting at birth, the instar continus until their last molt, and they reach maturity. The average being between five and seven molts, for most scorpions to reach maturity. Most scorpions reproduce sexually, however there are a few who reproduce asexually. A few examples being; Hottentotta hottentotta, Hottentotta caboverdensis, Tityus columbianus, and others.

Do Scorpion’s Glow in the Dark?

It is said that scorpions glow in the dark, and this is not quite true. When exposed to certain ultraviolet light, such as from a black light, scorpions will glow. This caused by a protein found on the outermost layer of the scorpions body that fluoresces in UV light. Young, and newly molted scorpions however will not light up.