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How to Care for Your Emperor Scorpion

How to Care for Your Emperor Scorpion

The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is a large, nocturnal, terrestrial invertebrate found in the tropical forests of west Africa. Their preferred habitat is the forest floor, where they generally hide in burrows, under organic debris, or inside termite mounds.

Emperor scorpions are typically 6-7” long, although they can get as large as 8” in some cases. They are impressive-looking scorpions with large pincers, a robust body, and a light covering of fine sensory hairs. Color is glossy, uniform black, although they fluoresce pale blue-green under a blacklight.

Emperor scorpions are known for being great beginner-level scorpions due to their tolerant temperament, hardiness, and mild venom. With good care, they can live up to 8 years.

How much space do emperor scorpions need?

The minimum for appropriately keeping one adult emperor scorpion is 20”L x 10”W x 12”H, or the equivalent of a standard 10-gallon tank. They don’t move around too much, but larger is likely to be beneficial. Whatever you use, don’t forget to secure the enclosure well against escape! This species can be surprisingly strong.

Cohabitation (keeping multiple scorpions in one enclosure) is not recommended, as cannibalism is possible.

Do emperor scorpions need UVB?

No, they do not.

However, it is beneficial to provide a day/night cycle, and if you want to use live plants as part of the décor, you will need 6500K lighting to help keep them alive. Lights should be on for 12 hours/day, and there should still be plenty of shade for your scorpion to hide in during the day.

What temperatures do emperor scorpions need?

Scorpions are ectotherms, which means that they need to be kept within a specific range of temperatures in order to regulate their metabolism and stay healthy.

The optimal ambient temperature for emperor scorpions is between 78-82°F during the day. Since this is generally not a realistic room temperature, it is likely that you’ll need a heat source. Use a small heat mat, stuck to the side (not bottom!) of the enclosure and regulated with a thermostat set to 85-90°F during the day. Track the temperatures in your enclosure with a digital probe thermometer.

What humidity levels do emperor scorpions need?

Emperor scorpions generally prefer high humidity conditions between 70-90%. You can do this by moistening the substrate, although take care that the substrate is never swampy or soaked. The top layer of substrate should be slightly damp to the touch, especially in hideouts. It can be helpful to mist the enclosure 1-2x daily with a spray bottle to maintain healthy humidity levels.

You can measure ambient humidity levels with a digital probe hygrometer.

What substrate is good for emperor scorpions?

Emperor scorpions are enthusiastic burrowers, so make sure to provide at least 5-6” of substrate. We recommend the following substrates for this species:

Replace the substrate and completely clean the enclosure every other month.

What décor can you use in an emperor scorpion terrarium?

Scorpions may not seem to do much, but it’s still beneficial to give them items in their enclosure that they can explore and use to express natural behaviors. It also makes the enclosure more attractive!

At minimum, your scorpion needs at least a couple of things to hide under. However, additional options include:

Make sure all décor is well-secured so that it can’t accidentally fall on top of your pet!

What do emperor scorpions eat?

Scorpions are carnivores, which means that they need whole prey in order to get the nutrition that they need. Offer 3-4 crickets, mealworms, or an equivalently sized dubia roach once a week. Grasshoppers can also be used. For juveniles, never offer prey half to three-quarters the scorpion’s length. 

Remove all uneaten prey within 24 hours to prevent the prey from stressing the scorpion.


Aside from daily misting, an emperor scorpion should have free access to a shallow water dish for drinking. Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly. 

Do emperor scorpions like to be handled?

As a general rule, it’s best not to handle scorpions. But as far as scorpions go, emperor scorpions tolerate it better than most. You are more likely to get pinched than stung, and even if you do get stung, the venom is unlikely to cause more than mild discomfort.

To handle your emperor scorpion (such as for general inspection), allow it to crawl onto your hand of its own volition to reduce stress. However, never handle a pet within a week of molting, and always handle it over a soft surface (ex: your bed or couch) so that if it falls, it won’t get injured.

*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please do further research with high-quality sources to obtain additional information on caring for this species.

"Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)" by jwinfred is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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