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Home > General > Emperor Scorpion: Facts, Pictures, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide

Emperor Scorpion: Facts, Pictures, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide

Emperor Scorpion

For years, scorpions have been portrayed in movies and TV shows as dangerous creatures that you should run away from. Although some are dangerous, the Emperor Scorpion is one that is surprisingly relaxed and a species that is suitable for anyone looking for a unique pet. Before you order one off the internet, make sure you have everything you need to take care of them and understand what you’re getting yourself into so that they can live a full life.

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Quick Facts about Emperor Scorpion

Species Name: Pandinus imperator
Family: Scorpionidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperature: 70°F to 90°F
Temperament: Docile
Color Form: Glossy black, dark brown, green
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Size: 6-9 inches
Diet: Crickets, mealworms, moths, small lizards
Minimum Tank Size: 10-gallon tank
Tank Set-Up: Secure lid, hides, and soil, peat, or vermiculite
Emperor Scorpion Close Up
Image By: 12019, Pixabay

Emperor Scorpion Overview

It’s becoming more and more ordinary to find people who keep scorpions as pets, and the Emperor scorpion is one of the most beloved. If arachnids and insects fascinate you, you might enjoy having one of these scorpions around. Emperor scorpions aren’t ideal for handling, but they are rather docile compared to other scorpion species. They are a long-term commitment because they live almost a decade, but they are also the ones that are most recommended for first-time owners.

Emperor scorpions are one of the most commonly found species in the United States pet trade. They may be massive, but their calm demeanor and low-key care make them a pet that is fascinating to watch. They are mainly found throughout forests of western Africa around human settlements, and they spend their days hiding in leaf litter and appearing at night to look for food. Emperor scorpions should be your first choice if you have never had a scorpion as a pet before. You may not be able to snuggle them, but you get to learn a lot about them, and they are a real conversation starter among your friends.

How Much Do Emperor Scorpion Cost?

Most pet stores carry invertebrate species, but it is always better to find a reputable breeder. In the age of the internet, it is even easier to find a breeder who will ship the scorpions directly to your home. Reputable breeders always have detailed records of the scorpion’s life and health. Depending on who you buy from, most Emperor scorpions cost anywhere from $25 to $100.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Emperor scorpions are one of the least dangerous to own compared to all the other species of scorpions. This species rarely uses its stingers and pinchers. The only time they tend to use them is if they feel threatened. Even if you do happen to get stabbed, the venom is mild and feels like a bee sting. These scorpions would rather pinch you with their claws than sting, and again, won’t do so unless they feel threatened. If you do have to handle your scorpion, make sure to use long-handled forceps to pick them up.

Emperor scorpion
Image Credit: Vova Shevchuk, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

A lot of people have a general understanding of what a scorpion looks like. Unlike a lot of other species, these ones are much larger. Emperor scorpions are the largest in the world and measure up to 8 inches long. The average adult weighs 1 ounce, and they have eight legs total that protrude from the sides of their bodies.

The Emperor scorpions tale is one of its most distinct features. The tail, also called the metasoma, curves over their bodies and has a tipped stinger on the end that is red in color. The metasoma is covered in small hairs that allow them to sense their prey by feeling vibrations. The front of their bodies showcases a large set of blackish-red pinchers that they use to defend themselves.

The Emperor scorpion’s body reflects back blue or green hues when places under ultraviolet light, but they are dark brown or sometimes green to our naked eye. Adult male Emperor scorpions are only slightly smaller than the females, so it is hard to distinguish the difference between the two. new scorpion divider

How to Take Care of Emperor Scorpion

Caring for Emperor scorpions isn’t too complicated. After all, they aren’t pets that you want to snuggle up with at night or let out to go to the bathroom. As long as you give them a warm, safe, and clean environment, they tend to live long, healthy lives.

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Giving your Emperor scorpion the right habitat to live in is crucial for their health. Without the right conditions, they could become ill or die. Taking care of scorpions isn’t high-maintenance, but it is a responsibility that you should take seriously.


Emperor scorpions come from African forests and thrive in hot, humid environments. The most challenging part of keeping them alive is providing them with plenty of heat and humidity inside their tank. These scorpions can either be housed alone in small groups. A 10-gallon tank is an adequate size for one adult, but 20 to 30-gallon tanks are necessary if you are going to have more than one inside. If they have too much space, it makes it more difficult to catch their prey.

Give Emperor scorpions a lot of hiding places. You should have at least one hiding spot for each scorpion in the enclosure, but more is even better. Pieces of bark, broken flower pots, and even flat stones make excellent hides. If housing groups of them, look for signs of aggression between them and consider separating them to prevent future injuries.


Most Emperor scorpions enjoy using soil as bedding. Soil, peat mott, and vermiculite are all good choices to put inside your tank. Make sure the bedding is at least three to six inches deep so that they can dig burrows and burrow themselves below the surface level. Adding in a few pieces of sphagnum moss to the top of the substrate helps the cage retain moisture and gives it some nice color. Try not to undo the arrangement of everything, or it could stress your scorpion out.

Temperature and Humidity

Keep an Emperor scorpion’s habitat fairly humid, around 75%, and mist water onto the tank walls daily. The substrate should remain damp but not soggy, regardless of the type that you chose to use. If you notice that mold starts to grow, then you know that the humidity level is too high and need to clean the tank and try again.

Emperor scorpions are nocturnal and don’t require lights. However, they do need warm temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. Some experienced scorpion owners recommend allowing temperatures to even occasionally reach just under 100°F because the temperature gradient helps them regulate their body temperature. To keep the heat up, use heating mats that are specifically designed to go under the scorpion tank. Avoid using heat lights if possible because they dry out the enclosure too quickly. Use a thermostat to constantly regulate the temperature.

Do Emperor Scorpion Get Along with Other Pets?

While scorpions have no issues living alone, they don’t mind living with other scorpions either. With that said, you want to ensure there is plenty of space in the tank for your group of scorpions and give them a lot of hiding options. Keep the substrate height about six inches deep and supply lots of rocks, pots, bark, and other hides for them to retreat to.

Scorpions have stingers and pinchers that could injure your other pets at home, like cats and dogs. Make sure the enclosure to the lid secures tightly and keep your other pets away from them to avoid any injuries.

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What to Feed Your Emperor Scorpion

Captive Emperor scorpions do just fine on a healthy portion of crickets and mealworms. As adults, the occasion waxworm or newborn mouse is a nice treat and variety from their usual diet.

Scorpions don’t require a ton of food. About three or four crickets per week are enough to do the trick. However, they are also known to gorge themselves followed by an extended fast sometimes. You don’t have to supplement a scorpion’s diet, but giving the prey a nutritious diet a day or two before feeding them, also called gut loading, ensures that they consume an even wider variety of vitamins.

Provide scorpions with a shallow water bowl at all times. This serves as drinking water and also helps keep their environment moist.

Emperor Scorpion Close Up
Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

Keeping Your Emperor Scorpion Healthy

In general, keeping scorpions healthy is fairly simple to do. The main things you have to pay attention to are the heat, humidity, tank size, substrate levels, food, and water. Scorpions aren’t meant to be handled and are better for observing and appreciating them from afar. If you do have to handle them to clean their tank when it starts to smell, use long forceps and put them in a safe place until you can get the tank clean. Try to put everything back in its original place after you change out the bedding, so they don’t get stressed.


Emperor scorpions reach sexual maturity when they are between 2 and 3 years old. Breeding can happen at any point throughout the year as long as they are in warm and humid conditions.

The male Emperor scorpion deposits sperm onto the ground and positions the female over it. The female picks it up when in position and places it inside her genital opening.

The gestation period takes about 15 months in scorpions, and the females give birth to 15 to 20 babies that are about 2 or 3 centimeters in length and a snow-white color.

Are Emperor Scorpion Suitable for You?

Emperor scorpions are a suitable pet if you’re into insects and arachnids and are looking for something fascinating to take care of. They aren’t common pets, but they are getting more popular. They aren’t a lot of work, but they also aren’t a pet that you want to handle regularly. If you’re looking for something that wants to cuddle, then a scorpion certainly isn’t the right choice for you.

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Scorpions are a complicated species, but they aren’t difficult to take care of. They tend to keep to themselves and are perfectly content in an enclosure that is warm, humid, and a safe place for them to hang out. If you’re looking for a pet that is going to grab people’s attention, the Emperor scorpion surely has an undeniable wow factor.

Featured Image Credit: 41330, Pixabay

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