Hardly anyone can say for sure how sympathy for animals arises. Someone loves cats or dogs, someone gets reptiles or rabbits. And someone is ready to open his heart to completely unexpected pets - imperial scorpions. But before you decide on such a purchase, you should study in detail the way of life and the conditions of the future pet.
Description of the species
Imperial scorpions are arthropods spider-like animals from the order of scorpions. The Latin name of the species is Pandinus imperator. This is one of the largest representatives of the squad on Earth. The size of an imperial scorpion can exceed 20 cm. It is believed that only the giant specimens of the species Pandinus cavimanus are larger. An adult male weighs about 30 g. The females are larger, their weight is almost 50 g.
The body of an arthropod has a dark color. It may be black, cast in the sun green or blue. Many individuals have claw and telson reddish brown. Under ultraviolet light, emperor scorpions glow in a greenish-blue color. This is one of the reasons for the popularity of the species as a pet.
The body of the scorpion has a small cephalothorax (millet) and a long abdomen (opisthosome). The belly itself is divided into 2 sections:
- Front wide section, closely docked with the cephalothorax. Together they are called pre-domain.
- Behind the narrowed five-part division, which is called the post-domain domain. This area of the body is similar to the tail.
The additional segment of the pear-shaped form adjoins the fifth segment of the narrow abdomen. Its name is Telson. It is a tail spike with a needle bent upwards, on top of which are poison glands. As you know, this creature does not bite, but sting its prey. Immediately the question arises: "Is the imperial scorpion poisonous or not?" You should not worry. The poison of this species does not affect humans. Although it can cause a strong allergic reaction.
The body of a scorpion is "packed" in a chitinous shell, consisting of several shields and closed rings. Front pair of limbs, chelicera - horizontal claws, similar to mandibles. They are located above the oral opening. The next pair of limbs is called the pedipalps. They also have claws, but significantly larger ones designed to hold and tear food. Scorpios have 8 walking legs.
Breathing emperor scorpion pulmonary bags. The animal has a good sense of touch, but poor eyesight. The eyes are located on the cephalothorax: a pair of large ones in the middle and 5 pairs of small ones on the lateral surfaces.
How to distinguish male from female
Not being a specialist, it is quite difficult to distinguish a male imperial scorpion from a female. The main difference is size. The female is larger. You can also try to distinguish by claws - in the male they are more massive and elongated. To distinguish between young individuals, it is necessary to observe the activity. Females are calmer.
Experts distinguish emperor scorpions by caps covering the sex hole. Its place is the gap between the bases of the cribriform organs. The males have two caps, with one covering the other. In females, they have grown together at the seam. With a careful attempt at movement in females, the cap is lifted entirely, in males only the upper half. Beginners can view this element on molded skins of emperor scorpions. In this case, there is no risk of injuring arthropods or experiencing the aggression of a pet.
Where are found in nature
Unfortunately, this species of scorpions in nature is now on the verge of survival. Previously, its range spread to the western part of Africa. Black imperial scorpion met on the territory of the Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Nigeria, Togo and so on.
Pandinus imperator is adapted to terrestrial life. He digs holes in the loose soil of rain forest or shroud. Sometimes natural shelters can settle in, settling under large pieces of bark or in heaps of leaves.
Imperial scorpions hunt at night. In their diet, large and sedentary insects, cockroaches, and even newborn mice. Imperial scorpions are strangled and crushed by claws. Poison for killing is rarely used because it is weak. To kill a little mouse, he has to sting many times. This once again proves that the bite of the imperial scorpion is not dangerous to humans.
To make an unusual pet feel comfortable, it is necessary to equip a horizontal ventilated terrarium with a lid. One or two individuals feel well in a tank, whose height is about 15 cm, width - 30 cm, length - 50 cm. If there are more arthropods, then the terrarium is chosen more capacious.
The bottom of the tank is covered with a mixture of soil and peat, which is well moistened. First, the wet mixture is compacted, forming a layer of 10-12 cm. Then a layer of loose substrate 5-7 cm high is filled from above. Thus, the pet will be able to dig holes, as in a natural environment.
Do you remember where the imperial scorpion lives in nature? Equatorial rainforests and savannas warm up above +30 ° C during the day, which means that in a terrarium you need to maintain a similar temperature. At night, scorpion is comfortable at +20 ° C. It is not recommended to lower the temperature below.
In the terrarium there should be a high level of humidity (about 80%). For this, the substrate is sprayed daily. Twice a week, pets should be cleaned from food and waste products.
Transparent tank, filled with soil-mixture, does not look very presentable. As a design, you can place stones, pieces of bark, twigs or thick snags in it. This pet will use all this decor as shelter. To maintain the level of humidity, you can place live plants in containers. However, they should not be planted in the soil-mixture, because the imperial scorpions dig minks and can damage the roots. Plants are exposed in pots attached to the bottom. By the way, the drinker is also fixed to the wall or bottom. The drinking bowl should be large and flat. The pet will sometimes crawl into it completely. For convenience and safety, lay a flat stone on the bottom so that the imperial scorpion can be placed on it without risking drowning.
Diet in captivity
Pandinus imperator is not picky about food. These arachnids have a very good appetite. They are happy to eat crickets, do not give up locusts, meal worms and other large insects. Live food should be sprinkled with mineral additives. Once a month you can feed the newborn mice.
Sexual maturity in captivity in imperial scorpions occurs in 2-2.5 years, after 6-7 molts. In the wild, it happens earlier. The pregnancy of a female can last from 6 months to 1.5 years (depending on the conditions of detention). Up to 25 white cubs are born. Toddlers move to the back of the mother and for a long time (up to two weeks) are there. Independent scorpions become after the first molt. With each new molt, their color becomes darker, and the chitinous cover is firmer.
Emperor scorpions are one of the most convenient species for home keeping. They are unpretentious, not dangerous and very effective.
Imperial scorpions are the original inhabitants of rain forests and wet savannas on the African continent. They are found in central and western regions of Africa from Mauritania to Zaire. The largest populations are observed in Guinea, Togo, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Nigeria and Mali.
This type of land is attracted with a relative humidity of 70-80% and an average daytime air temperature of 26 ° -28 ° C. At night, in its habitats, it drops to 20 ° -24 ° C. He prefers to live in independently dug minks up to 35 cm in depth, under rotten wood, fallen leaves and bark. A little less often it settles right in the cracks and hollows of trees or in abandoned termite mounds and rodent burrows.
The emperor scorpion spends daylight in his refuge, and with the arrival of twilight he goes on a hunt and trades almost until dawn. The search for edibles takes place mainly on the surface of the soil, but it can climb trees and rocks.
Representatives of this species can lead as a single lifestyle, and unite in small groups, which is quite rare in the family Scorpinidae. They are tolerant to their fellow tribesmen and do not show aggression towards them. With a lack of food, the angelic character disappears, and cases of cannibalism are observed quite often.
At short distances, scorpions can move very quickly. Being disturbed, they assume a typical threatening pose with raised claws and tail. However, this does not mean an immediate attack. Having spotted vertebrate creatures larger than an adult mouse, these arachnids prefer to flee. They have good eyesight, which allows to distinguish living beings at a distance of about 1 m.
Each adult has its own home area of about one square meter. Its borders are protected from the encroachments of any outsiders.
Scorpio often pauses for rest, as it has a rather weak stamina. He climbs very poorly in vertical objects and is usually reluctant to climb plants above 30 cm from the surface of the soil.
The poison of an imperial scorpion in its effects on the human body resembles the bite of a bee or a wasp. Swelling and severe pain appear at the site of the bite. In allergy sufferers, it can be fatal. Sting a second time arachnid will be able only in 3-4 weeks, when it produces a sufficient amount of poison. It is able to control the amount of injected toxic substances in the victim's body. The maximum amount is injected only in case of self-defense from predators. Then the dose is enough to kill two guinea pigs.
Imperial scorpions are among the predators that feed on any living creature that is able to prevail. They eat cockroaches, grasshoppers and other insects. With a favorable set of circumstances, they will not deny themselves the pleasure of eating newborn mice.
After eating a predator at least 3 days without food. Despite his excellent appetite, he can go hungry for months without losing his weight.
The victim is killed by powerful claws, the poison is used very economically and only to kill large prey. Before eating the victim, a special liquid is injected into its body, which turns its insides into nutritious broth. Its like the rest of arachnids the scorpion drinks with pleasure.
Puberty at Pandinus imperator comes at the age of 3 years. Imperial scorpions are viviparous animals. Pregnancy lasts 12-15 months depending on environmental conditions. The female brings from 10 to 40 cubs (usually 15-25), which hatch in her body from fertilized eggs and are painted in a whitish color. They are relatively large and are called larvae. The larvae emerge from the mother's body singly for 1-4 days. They crawl on her back and stay there for up to three weeks. Some babies attach to their mother’s pedicles and abdomen.
In the body of the young there is a sufficient amount of protein, so they do without food for up to 6 weeks. During this time, their shell blackens and hardens, after which the kids will be able to eat food themselves. At first, the younger generation feeds on the fodder harvested by the mother. Having become strong enough, at the age of 3 months, it runs in different directions and moves on to a completely independent existence. Some young scorpions immediately acquire their own home plots, while others live in adolescent groups.
The average body length is 15 cm, less often 20-25 cm, and the weight of adults is 30-40 g. Pregnant females can weigh about 50 g. The color changes with the light. Under the light of incandescent bulbs, the animals acquire a black, shiny shade, with daylight they become olive-green, and in ultraviolet light they appear white, blue or yellow.
Two powerful claws serve to protect and tear the prey apart. The poisonous sting is located on the tip of the tail and is colored dark yellow, orange or reddish.
The life span of an imperial scorpion is about 15 years.
For one adult Pandinus imperator, a terrarium of at least 50x30x30 cm is required, 60x30x30 cm is recommended for couples, and for a group of 4 animals 100x50x50 cm. It must have at least two air vents and a securely closed lid. Representatives of this species are distinguished by great strength and tendency to escape.
In the terrarium, you must have a soil substrate in which the pet will make underground passages. You can use the usual soil for indoor plants. For decoration, it is advisable to take small snags, which will give shade and serve as additional shelter.
During the daytime the air humidity is maintained at 60-70%, and at night it rises to 70-85%, and the temperature is 27 ° -30 ° C and 20 ° -22 ° C, respectively. Coolness below 18 ° C can cause irreparable harm to the indigenous inhabitants of the tropics. The soil should always be slightly wet, but not wet. It is necessary to periodically sprinkle it with warm water from a hand spray. Waterlogging leads to the destruction of the system of underground tunnels, which brings imbalance in the life of scorpions.
Feeding is enough to produce once a week or one and a half. The choice of feed depends on the size of the pet. It is best to feed animals that he can eat immediately. Scorpion will eat a large victim partially, and hide the rest under the ground, which is not very useful from the hygiene point of view. Be sure the constant presence of drinking water in shallow drinking bowls.
Females with offspring should be protected from any possible stress. In case of a strong fright, they often eat up all their offspring. Pregnant females are recommended to keep separate. To avoid cannibalism in their terrariums, food should always be available.
For transplantation of animals it is desirable to use tweezers, small boxes and wear gloves.
Habitats of the imperial scorpion.
The imperial scorpion usually lives in wet forests. It hides in burrows, under fallen leaves, among forest debris, along rivers, as well as in buildings of termites, which are their main prey. Imperial scorpion is usually present in large quantities in areas inhabited by humans.
External signs of the imperial scorpion.
The emperor scorpion is one of the largest scorpions in the world. The length of its body reaches about 20 cm. In addition, individuals of this species are much heavier than other scorpions, and pregnant females can weigh over 28 grams. The covers of the body are of a beautiful shiny black color.
Imperial Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)
Two huge pedipalps (claws), four pairs of walking legs, a long tail (telson), ends with a sting. An imperial scorpion has special sensory structures called pectins for sensing irregularities in the relief. In the male, they are more developed, in addition, the crested teeth on the front section of the abdomen are longer. Like other types of arthropods, the imperial scorpion goes through several molts. The poison is weak and is used mainly for defensive purposes. Uses its powerful claws to capture prey. Like other scorpions, the emperor scorpion acquires a fluorescent bluish-green color external under the influence of ultraviolet radiation.
Imperial Scorpion: Animal Limbs
The behavior of the imperial scorpion.
Despite the impressive appearance, imperial scorpions are secretive and cautious, they do not show much aggression if they are not disturbed. Therefore, this species contain as popular pets.
Imperial scorpions are nocturnal predators and are rarely active before dark.
When moving, they use an elongated hip joint. When life threatens, emperor scorpions do not attack, but run away and hide in any gap that they have, trying to squeeze their bodies into any small space. But if this could not be done, then the arachnids become aggressive and take up a defensive posture, lifting powerful pincers up. Imperial scorpions show signs of social behavior, they live in colonies of up to 15 individuals. Cannibalism is manifested very rarely in this species.
During hunting and protection, imperial scorpions are oriented with the help of sensitive hairs on the body and determine the smell of prey, their eyesight is poorly developed. When moving, imperial scorpions make hissing sounds with stridulatory setae located on pedipalps and chelicerae.
Eating the imperial scorpion.
Imperial scorpions, as a rule, prey on insects and other arthropods, less often attack small vertebrates. They usually prefer termites, spiders, mice, small birds. Взрослые императорские скорпионы, как правило, не умерщвляют свою добычу с помощью жала, а разрывают ее. Молодые скорпионы иногда пускают в ход яд.
Значение для человека.
Императорские скорпионы являются популярным объектом для торговли, так как они крайне пугливые и имеют слабый токсин. Особи данного вида в основном вывозятся из Ганы, Того. Императорские скорпионы часто снимаются в фильмах, сильное впечатление на зрителей производит их эффектный внешний вид.
The poison of an emperor scorpion acts on peptides.
A substance called scorpine was isolated from the venom of an imperial scorpion. It has antimalarial and antibacterial properties.
The bite of an imperial scorpion, as a rule, is not fatal, but painful, and the pedipalp tweaks cause discomfort and leave visible traces. Painful sensations in the place of poison hit are weak, irritation appears, slight skin lightening. People who are prone to allergies may experience increased symptoms of poisoning.
Conservation status of the emperor scorpion.
The emperor scorpion is listed in CITES, Appendix II. The export of individuals of this species outside the range is limited, thus preventing the threat of reduction in the number of habitats. Imperial scorpions are caught not only for sale in private collections, but are collected for scientific research.
The content of the imperial scorpion in captivity.
Emperor scorpions are contained in free large terrariums. An earthen mixture is suitable as a substrate (sand, peat, leaf soil), piled about 5–6 cm in thickness. Tree cuts, stones, pieces of bark are installed for shelter. This type of scorpion requires a temperature of 23-25 degrees. Lighting use muffled. Emperor scorpions are sensitive to drying out, especially during shedding, therefore they spend daily spraying the bottom of the terrarium. In this case, the water should not fall on the inhabitant. In August-September, the substrate is moistened less frequently. The main food for scorpions are cockroaches, crickets, meal worms. Young scorpions are fed 2 times a week, adults - 1 time. In captivity, emperor scorpions can live more than 10 years.
The chelicerae, the first pair of the mouth apparatus, resemble insect mandibles. Pedipalps (second pair) form massive claws similar to those in crayfish.
The abdomen is articulate; it is divided into anterior-belly and hind-belly, each of which has six segments. The peritoneum forms a thickening with a poisonous sting.
The organs of movement of the emperor scorpion are four pairs of legs, like all spiders have. Respiratory - pulmonary bags.
The color of the "emperor" is black. But in daylight the color of the body turns green, and with ultraviolet radiation, the scorpion fluoresces.
Emperor scorpions are nocturnal. In the wild, live on land or dig mink. They can be found in tropical and equatorial countries of Africa.
In the food of the scorpion is dominated by insects, maggots, small vertebrates.
Is this scorpion dangerous?
The “emperors” look very frightening, but they have a calm character, they use the sting only for self-defense and hunting. The poison of a scorpion is dangerous for its prey: crickets, moths. To the man, the imperial scorpion cannot do much harm. One has only to compare the size of its claws and stings (the latter is several times smaller than the first), and it will immediately become clear that the bite of this species is comparable to that of a bee.
The toxicity of any scorpion depends on the size of its sting: the more it is, the more damage it will do to the victim. But after the bite, the following symptoms will still appear: pain, swelling and redness of the wound.
In the world there are about 1200 species of scorpions. Below are some of them:
- The black fat-tailed scorpion (androctus thick-tailed) lives in the deserts of the UAE. Color - from black to brown. This scorpion belongs to one of 25 species, deadly to humans. His bite kills a person in 7 hours.
- The yellow tree scorpion lives in southeastern Arizona. The body is yellow, without stripes. Loves wet habitat. Easily penetrates the dwelling of man. It is perhaps the most poisonous among their relatives.
- Androctus Australis is very poisonous. Lives in North Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India. Body color is light yellow with stripes, the tail is thickened.
- Stone scorpion in nature is found in South Africa. Color from black to brown. Suitable for home breeding.
- Chinese scorpion lives in China. He usually lives in groups, preferring wet sandy places. At home, this species is better settled in several individuals.
- Crimean scorpion lives on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula. The body is light yellow, brown claws. The bite is not fatal to humans, but can cause poisoning.
- Scorpion Dunes lives in Arizona. Interesting lack of color: in different conditions, body color is variable.
- Tailless scorpions (frins) are very similar to big spiders. They live in humid tropics and subtropics. Do not have a sting, so safe for humans.
Do you wonder where the black widow lives? Then read this article.
Androctonus is one of the most venomous scorpions on the planet. You can read the full description of this animal in the article at http://stopvreditel.ru/yadovitye/skorpiony/androctonuos.html link.
Not all of these scorpions can be kept at home due to their dangerous poison. But the imperial scorpion in the modern world is actively used as a pet.
For safe breeding, you must observe the following rules:
- The dwelling area for one scorpion should be 30 cm long and 20 cm wide. It can be an aquarium with a lid or a terrarium.
- It is better to keep individuals apart from each other because of their aggressiveness towards the weak.
- Be sure to have shelters at the bottom of the terrarium.
- A layer of soil 5-8 cm for digging mink. For soil, you can take moss, peat, coconut chips, sand, depending on the type of pet. Replacing the soil every 3-4 months.
- In the opposite corners of the terrarium it is necessary to place sources of heat and moisture. Spraying the soil 1-2 times a day, but not overmoisten.
- The scenery in the terrarium is not needed to avoid the stress of the scorpion.
- Use only dim lamps to create twilight.
- Installation of shallow troughs at the bottom of the terrarium.
- Equipment with devices to maintain a temperature of 23–38 ° C (depending on the type).
- For feeding it is better to use a special pet food store. Feed small scorpions often for faster growth. Adults can do without food for several months. Feeding is best done at night. Adult scorpions do not overfeed.
- For transplant use tweezers or a small box.
Breeding scorpions is dangerous anyway. A bite can cause allergies or poisoning. Children and the elderly are particularly affected. But with the right content and precautionary measures, you can admire these outlandish creatures at home.
Origin and Habitat in Nature
The species Pandinus imperator of the genus Pandinus belongs to the arachnid family Scorpionidae. The habitat of the species extends to the territory of West Africa, namely: Ghana, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, etc.
You can meet representatives of the species in tropical and equatorial rain forests, as well as on open savannas.
Pandinus imperator is a terrestrial nightlife. Imperial scorpions live either in shelters formed by the bark of trees, leaves, etc., or in burrows dug in the ground, up to 30 cm long.
The prey Pandinus imperator catches claws, then squeezes it and consumes, dividing it into parts. Poison imperial scorpion kills only exclusively large prey, which is not able to hold its powerful pedipalps.
Feeding in captivity
Imperial scorpions are insatiable invertebrates and will gladly eat insects, crickets, locusts, meal worms, zofobas. Adults individuals need 3-6 crickets per week, sprinkled with vitamin and mineral supplements. Cases that the imperial scorpion will refuse to eat are very rare. However, do not offer them prey for 5-7 days if you see that the movements of the scorpion slowed down compared to the normal state.
Do not forget to pay attention to the constant availability of clean water in the water bowl, since the imperial scorpion drinks quite a lot.