Keeping an Emperor Scorpion as a Pet

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. July 7, 2022
Keeping an Emperor Scorpion as a Pet

Exotic pets are very appealing to some and completely off limits to others. The idea of having an animal in the home with which it is difficult to bond misses out what many people see as the purpose of living with an animal. Yet there are many people who see the beauty of nature in all it's aspects, even those which can appear threatening. For this reason, some people want to consider keeping scorpions as pets.

Before adopting any animal into the home, it is vital you do your research. When it comes to emperor scorpions, this research is particularly important. It is for this reason AnimalWised looks at keeping emperor scorpions as pets and asks whether doing so is a good idea for you.

You may also be interested in: Keeping a Hedgehog as a Pet

Characteristics of the emperor scorpion

The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is an invertebrate that originates in Africa. Although many people have valid fears of venomous animals such as the emperor scorpion, it is becoming increasingly popular as a companion animal. Their popularity as pets has resulting in their presence in domestic environments all around the world.

Perhaps part of their appeal is their relatively large size. Female emperor scorpions can reach around 7" (18 cm) in length, with males measuring around 6" (15 cm). They are relatively peaceful types of scorpion and appear to tolerate human contact better than many others. They have a shiny black appearance, although they can have reddish tones on certain areas such as their claws.

Are emperor scorpions venomous?

As with all scorpions, emperor scorpions have venomous stingers. Despite having a stinger, they do not usually use them to kill their prey, instead relying on their relatively large claws. Although their stinger contains venom, it is not fatal to humans. It will cause us a lot of pain if we are stung by one, but it will not kill a healthy person.

Those most at risk are persons with allergies to scorpion stings and it shouldn't have to be said they need to be kept away from children. If you are thinking of keeping an emperor scorpion as a pet, you need to bear their dangerous nature in mind.

Keeping an Emperor Scorpion as a Pet - Characteristics of the emperor scorpion

Emperor scorpion care

Keeping emperor scorpions as pets does not require great care or dedication. Unlike dogs, cats or many other companion animals, we cannot bond with an emperor scorpion to a large degree. They can tolerate our presence, but they are not prone to displaying affection. They are a resistant and long-lived animal and can live up to 10 years in the wild, although their life expectancy in the domestic environment is closer to 5 years.

We will have to provide a large terrarium, the larger the better. These will provide the optimum conditions for living as they need a lot of space in which to move around. The design of the terrarium should be simple and emulate their natural environment. This requires adding a base of warm colored gravel (they love to dig) at least 5 cm deep. Rocks and small branches should decorate the terrarium.

Another very important consideration to take into account is the need to set a stable temperature between 25 ºC and 30 ºC (77-86 ºF). They also require 80% humidity. Finally, we must also stress the importance of placing the terrarium in a space away from drafts, but with sufficient ventilation and plenty of natural light.

Cleaning the habitat of the emperor scorpion is not as intensive as some other animals as they do not tend to get very dirty. We must be careful when picking up the pet emperor scorpion and removing them from the terrarium. Do not agitate them and always pay attention to the position of their claws and stinger.

Emperor scorpion diet

As with any domestic animal, feeding emperor scorpions is vital. Unlike many domestic animals, they only need to be fed 1-3 times per week. They feed on insects and the most commonly available in pet stores are crickets. Other possible insect feed includes cockroaches and beetles. The insects we feed our emperor scorpion should be live, but since they only eat 1-2 crickets per feeding, we cannot keep a lot of crickets at any given time.

Keeping emperor scorpions as pets also requires plenty of hydration. We will need to place a very shallow dish of water in their terrarium. This is because emperor scorpions do not swim and can easily drown if there is sufficient water depth. For this reason, some guardians of emperor scorpions keep a cotton ball soaked with water for hydration purposes.

Keeping an Emperor Scorpion as a Pet - Emperor scorpion diet

Is keeping emperor scorpion as pets OK?

Although it is possible you can keep an emperor scorpion as a pet, we at AnimalWised do not recommend doing so. The reasons are not as much to do with the harm it will cause the individual scorpion. They are to do with the possible harm they will cause in a household, as well as the potential harm they cause general emperor scorpion populations:

  • Responsibility: keeping emperor scorpions as pets may not be very intensive, but they require responsibility of care. As they can live for over 5 years, they should not be adopted on a whim and require commitment.

  • Danger: although the emperor scorpion's venom is not considered fatal in humans, their stingers and claws can cause harm to vulnerable persons. Some people may also be allergic and treatment can be difficult, depending on where you live.

  • Conservation: one of the main reasons for not keeping emperor scorpions as pets is their conservation status. They are an animal protected by CITES and are under threat due to collection from the wild.

  • Legality: it may not be legal to keep an emperor scorpion where you live. This is largely due to the illegal trading of these animals by poachers and breeders who do not care about the well-being of the individual animals and their larger wild populations. By adopting an emperor scorpion, you are likely contribution to this illegal trade and helping to sustain its nefarious practices.

Finally, it must be noted that the emperor scorpion is often confused with the similar Asian forest scorpion. Although they look alike and are both kept as pets, the Asian forest scorpion is generally more aggressive. Due to unscrupulous trade, it is possible to adopt an Asian forest scorpion even though they are advertised as being emperor scorpions.

Keeping a scorpion as a pet is also not recommended if you have other pets in the home. Learn more with our article on what happens when a cat is stung by a scorpion.

If you want to read similar articles to Keeping an Emperor Scorpion as a Pet, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

  • Remember that this is a protected species. Make sure that you don?t aid animal trafficking by going to animal shelters or authorised breeders,

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