Pandinus imperator more commonly known as the Emperor Scorpion is a very large, impressive, and hardy scorpion from tropical Africa. Emperor Scorpions are a marvel of the Arachnid-keeping world, and continue to appeal to collectors because of their size and intimidating appearance.
|Scorpion Information (for a more detailed Scorpion care review see Scorpion Care Sheet|
|Regions Found:||Tropical Africa - Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Sierra Leone|
|Longevity:||5-8 years in captivity and 3-7 years in the wild.|
|Adult Scorpion Size:||20-23cm|
|Temperament:||Docile,tolerant and harmless|
|Sting Potency:||Not lethal to humans - comparitive to a bee sting|
|Pandinus imperator Housing Requirements|
|Scorpion Housing:||Minimum 6 gallon glass tank with 3 inches of substrate|
|Temperature range:||21-29Â°C (70-85Â°F)|
|Humidity range:||60 - 80%|
|Special Requirements:||There are no special requirements.|
|Pandinus imperator Breeding|
|Birth Size:||Average of 12|
|Danger to Male:||None|
|Pandinus imperator Diet|
|A scorpions diet should consist mainly of livefood insects such as crickets, locust, butter worms, meal worms, superworms, houseflies and cockroaches.|
|Recommended Pet Supplies for Pandinus imperator|
This is an ideal starter scorpion, due to its forgiving nature and tolerance of beginners' mistakes. The venom of this species is considered to be very mild. They do have strong pedipalps (pincers) that should be respected.
The Emperor Scorpion is widely distributed through the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Sierra Leone where it lives in deep burrows in the tropical rainforest. Specimens caught in the wild are usually collected from Togo and Ghana. It is one of the only species of scorpions that are known to be handled by enthusiasts. (this is not recommended) They use their venom sparingly, and it is generally not harmful to humans.
Emperor Scorpions have been traditionally kept in groups of three or more, as long as they are provided with enough food. However, if possible they should be kept in separate enclosures. Increased competition for food will inevitably result in violent confrontations, inflicting harm on each other and potentially oneself.
As with most arachnids, it is important to keep your scorpion away from direct ultraviolet light. This species is especially sensitive to UV light, and excessive exposure will cause stress and ultimately death.
Providing the appropriate environment is the most challenging part of keeping scorpions. Maintaining optimum heat and humidity conditions is vital to sustaining the livelihood of your scorpion. Emperors can be kept alone or in groups. If keeping more than one, a larger tank will be necessary, and a good rule of thumb is to have at least a couple more hiding spots than you have scorpions so they can each have their own space. If there is any sign of aggression between the scorpions, it is recommended that they be separated immediately.
Emperors are native to Africa and live in humid warm environments, and all scorpions are nocturnal. These factors should be taken into account when creating a scorpion habitat.
Glass aquarium tanks are probably the easiest housing to use, and they should have a tight fitting secure lid. A 10 gallon tank is sufficient for one scorpion, but a larger one (20 -30 gallon) will be necessary for groups. However, don't give them too much space since it will be difficult for them to catch their prey in a large enclosure. Scorpions will move the cage decorations/furnishings around a bit, and although it may not look neat and tidy, it is best to avoid constantly rearranging the furnishings so as to avoid putting unnecessary stress on the animal.
There is much debate as to the ideal substrate for emperor scorpions - some use soil, some use peat and others use vermiculite. No matter what you choose, it should be approximately 3 - 6 inches to allow the scorpion(s) to dig burrows. Pieces of bark, flat stones, broken ceramic flower pots or even commercial reptile hides should be provided as hiding spots for the scorpions. Providing pieces of sphagnum moss on top of the substrate will also help to retain moisture in the environment.
A temperature gradient should be provided, from about 21-29Â°C (70-85Â°F). Some experienced keepers have suggested that temperatures of about 37.5Â°C (100Â°F) should be introduced occasionally. The temperature gradient is important to allow the scorpions to regulate their body temperature as needed. The easiest way to provide the gradient is by using a heating mat designed for use under reptile tanks. This should be placed under no more than about 1/3 of the tank, so the scorpion can move from warmer to cooler temperatures if desired. Always verify that appropriate temperatures are being provided by using accurate thermometers in a few locations within the enclosure.
The habitat should be maintained at a high humidity level of 60-80% by regular misting, preferably daily. The substrate should be kept damp, but not wet. If there is mold on the substrate or condensation on the walls of the tank, the humidity is too high.
Being nocturnal, scorpions do not have a requirement for UV lighting, and prefer a light-dark cycle with a slightly longer dark period. As previously discussed it is important to keep your scorpion away from direct Ultra Violet light. This species is especially sensitive to UV light, and excessive exposure will cause stress and ultimately death.
In the wild, scorpions eat a variety of invertebrates (insects, other arthropods) and vertebrates including small lizards. In captivity, they seem to do fine with a diet primarily of crickets, supplemented with other insects such as mealworms and moths. An adult emperor will only need 3 -6 adult crickets per week (feed every other day or so). The crickets should be fed a nutritious diet so that the nutritional value is passed on the the scorpions, and the crickets can be dusted with a quality reptile vitamin/mineral supplement every few feedings. Feed at night to replicate the conditions under which scorpions would naturally feed. A shallow (shallow enough to prevent drowning) water dish should also be provided.
 Sexing the Emperor
It can be tricky to sex emperor scorpions, especially the larger ones. Female scorpions usually have a slightly fatter appearance and have slightly larger claws, while the males are more slender looking with more elongated claws. The only sure way to sex an emperor scorpion is by looking at the feathery looking pectines. The males pectines are longer and more feathery looking.
Both male and female Black Emperor Scorpions take about three years to reach maturity, and will breed in another one to three years after maturity.
The mating process is a dance. The scorpions will lock pincers and walk back and forth, sometimes turning. This will continue for some time, minutes to days. Eventually, the male will secrete a spermatophore, and the female will scoop it up with her cloacae (abdomen).
If the scorpions lack a suitable dance floor, they might not mate. Also, it should be largish, so they are not distracted by falling from it. A piece of slate seems to work well.
After a successful mating there will be behavioral changes in the female after a short period of time. She will start to grow restless, and pregnancy will usually be visible. A pregnant female will have visible white masses located inside the intersegmental membranes. Young Scorpions do not hatch from eggs, but rather are born live. They must stay with their mother until they molt once to keep from dying of thirst. Young are commonly seen riding on their mother's backs until this time. Most female Black Emperors feed the young by crushing crickets and feeding them to her young. Mothers have been known to eat their babies. Some hobbyists report that this behavior can be decreased if the mother is well fed, but this is not always the case.
The usual lifespan of an Emperor Scorpion is 5 years in captivity, though some individuals may live as long as 8 years or more.
Scorpions are generally quite hardy and adaptable if they are provided with the correct environment. A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, acting listless or sluggish, having an overly swollen stomach, and missing or deformed limbs. Another problem can be an infestation of mites. Also if your scorpion is dragging its tail along the ground appearing to sting itself or going on to its back unfortunately it is most likely to be on its lastvlegs
One of the most common reasons for the death in scorpions is the moult. The scorpion has a tough outer covering, a cuticle, that forms a rigid exoskeleton. All scorpions must shed their old exoskeleton and secrete a new one in order to grow, this is called the moult. Scorpions will moult from 6 to 10 times during their lifetime. This moulting process takes a lot of energy and they are very vulnerable for a couple of days after the moult until their new skin hardens. For about 24 hours prior to moulting it is not unusual for a scorpion to get quite sluggish. A difficult moult can result in lost or deformed limbs, or death. This is thought to be related to humidity levels. There can be either too much humidity or too little, depending on the species. In captivity a lot of immature scorpions die during the moulting process.
 Other problems
Though many scorpions can go for long periods of time without eating, overfeeding can cause an overly swollen stomach as well as the loss of appetite, and even death. The stomach can be slightly swollen from regular eating, and this is not a problem. Another problem can be an infestation of mites. Uneaten food can attract mites, which are very dangerous and stressful to scorpions. Be sure to remove old food.