While they dont appeal to everyone scorpions are a popular choice of those looking for a different or more exotic type of pet.
Scorpions are small, quiet, easy to care for and many are relatively inexpensive. Scorpions can be housed in just about any small covered plastic or glass container that is 2 to 3 times the size of the scorpion at a minimum. Plastic creature containers with a built in lid rival the popularity of the traditional 10-gallon aquarium as the enclosure of choice for many of the smaller species.
All scorpions are venomous and do sting. People that have had allergic reactions to other insects should consider another type of pet. There are around 1500 different species of scorpions whose venom toxicity ranges from mild, similar to bee venom, to deadly with about the same range of temperaments. This makes proper identification a safety essential.
Feeding your pet scorpion is also easy and inexpensive with the bulk of the diet of most captive scorpions consisting of a few crickets 2 to 3 times weekly. However many scorpion keepers supplement this with meal worms, roaches, moths and other collected insects and some even feed baby mice. A good way to give a nutritional boost to prey insects is to feed them a commercial supplement prior to offering them to your pet scorpion. This is known as gut loading and helps to ensure a balanced diet when only a few varieties of insects make up the menu.
Scorpions shed their hard outer shell in order to grow in a process called molting. The new shell is soft and offers little protection after they molt until it hardens. This leaves the scorpion vulnerable to attacks from the same insects they normally prey upon so these should be removed during this period.
In general scorpions can tolerate the temperature and humidity ranges we find comfortable but forest species benefit from a little higher humidity levels as most are found in the moist leaf litter and decomposing vegetation that carpets the forest floor. Temperature preferences vary depending on whether the particular species comes from a temperate or tropical environment with tropical and desert species generally benefiting from some supplemental heat. If an enclosure is heated the heat source should be placed at the side or above the enclosure rather than underneath as scorpions instinctually burrow to escape the heat.
Scorpions get most if not all of their moisture from the food they eat so some keepers argue that a water bowl is not necessary but many can be observed occasionally drinking from one if it is provided. Besides offering a drink a water bowl will also help to maintain humidity. If used the bowl should be shallow and no more than ˝ the scorpion's length across. Small stones are often placed in the bowl to provide footing especially for young and smaller species.
Scorpions tend to be shy animals that are most comfortable when a hiding place is nearby. Burrowers will make one themselves if an appropriate substrate material is provided but non-burrowing species will need to have something they can crawl under in their environment. Cork bark is probably the most commonly used material for this purpose because its light weight helps prevent the scorpion from being trapped or crushed if the scorpion's activity causes it to shift while they are underneath.
Larger less defensive forest scorpions with mild venom are generally recommended for beginners with the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator) from western Africa being the most common, however the Asian forest scorpion (Heterometrus spinifer) or the Vietnamese forest scorpion (Heterometrus laoticus) also tend to be good beginner scorpion species. The Hadogenes or Flat Rock Scorpions are another common first scorpion but these tend to be a little less hardy in captivity.
Some scorpion species not recommended for beginners are the more defensive Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) and Burrowing Scorpions which also have a very painful sting.
There are also a few commonly available species which are an even worse choices for first time scorpion keepers like the Fat-tailed Scorpions (Androctonus species), Bark Scorpions (Centruroides species) and the Deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus) which all have particularly strong venom.
Well Good Luck in your quest for the perfect pet! Realize that the information and opinions on this page are general in nature and are only intended to familiarize you with some of the aspects of keeping scorpions as pets. Before you do you need to do some more research particularly on the species you choose to make your own.