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 Post subject: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:58 pm 
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About a month ago my girlfriend and I got our first Emperor Scorpion. The pet store said they fed them a cricket every other day, so we continued that schedule. Over the last month our scorpion has gotten bigger. The side view shows a big gap between the top and the bottom. How can we tell if it is full of babies or food?

Also, are there any other rookie mistakes in scorpion care we should be mindful of?

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(This pic was from day one. I will try to post a more recent pic.)


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Here are pics from today.

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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:46 pm 
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I would think she's gravid. The gestation on this species is many months though.

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:06 am 
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I have a few scorps of a different sp. and one of them looked like that before molting, so it could be gravid or getting ready to molt, either way you've got a long wait.


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:13 am 
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I didn't really say more, but I have a colony in a 40 breeder, and it's on it's third generation of cb. It's been a lot of fun watching the mother's give birth, have those mature, have babies, mature, have babies...

It is very important to give her a place to burrow, I use 6" or greater substrate (a mix of peat, soil, coir, soil less potting mix...) and then place flat pieces of bark on the substrate, which they burrow under. I also keep it pretty steamy with an undertank heater and lots of substrate moisture.

I hope more people keep these for breeding, a colony is a great thing to watch.



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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:10 am 
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How important is the temperature? Some say it should be 90+, but I talked to a guy at the pet store who had bred them and hey said they do better cool. I have it in a computer room where it is usually 70-75.


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:47 am 
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As I said, I have a heat pad under the tank, with lots of room for them to move away from the heat, and of course the thick substrate helps dissapate the heat. This is the only time I would suggest an undertank heater though, they're risky and can be dangerous for the animals.

I like upper 80's to 90F tops. They're tropical after all, 70's will only slow them down and might create stress issues.

They're pretty tough to kill, which makes them candidates for poor care, which usually happens at most pet stores. That's in general, some do a great job.

If you search Pandinus imperator or just Pandinus or imperator you should find lots of posts here about them. Luc Ross had a nice article in our magazine last year.

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:33 pm 
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kiteless wrote:
How important is the temperature? Some say it should be 90+, but I talked to a guy at the pet store who had bred them and hey said they do better cool. I have it in a computer room where it is usually 70-75.


Hello Kiteless,

Temperature range is very important to the health, fitness, and behavior of all scorpion species. Environmental conditions in the wild and in captivity influence and modify various behaviors related to feeding, mating, embryonic development, postembryonic development and growth, and defensive responses. For example: some scorpions maintained at sub-optimum temperatures may cease feeding; intermolt periods may increase in immature specimens; duration of the gestation (embryonic development) period will increase at lowered temperatures.

Without going into a lot of long boring details: Pandinus imperator is a diurnally/nocturnally active scorpion species from hot and humid forest and savanna habitats throughout West Africa. Throughout its range it primarily occupies the interior of termite mounds and chambers under decomposing logs. In this region, temperatures generally fluctuate from the mid-80's to mid-90's, extreme upper temperatures in the low-100's (overall range 84–98 F). Ambient humidity levels range from 75 to 95%. This is a species of hot and moist tropical habitats.

In captivity, P. imperator tends to do best at temperatures of 84 to 94 F and humidity levels of 80%+. Keep the substrate at least moist to the touch (not wet) and provide moderate airflow to remove stale, stagnant air (air exchange) from enclosures. Upon occasion, you can even elevate the temperature range from 95 to 100 F for brief periods of time.

Cheers,
Luc


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Christian how many do you keep in the 40 breeder? And do you have a certain sex ratio?


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:54 pm 
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barkscorpions wrote:
In captivity, P. imperator tends to do best at temperatures of 84 to 94 F and humidity levels of 80%+.

Cheers,
Luc



Thanks for the reply. Over the weekend I got one of those sticky pad heaters that covers about 60% of the underside of the terrarium. (I have an inch of thick packed subtrate, then another inch of loose subtrate outside of the burrow.) Also I got a sticker style thermometer and put it on the far top end of the terrarium.

It has read 75 degrees since then. I don't know how much temperature difference there is between the thermometer location and the scorpion burrow, but I know that the glass next to the thermometer is slightly cold to the touch where the glass near where the heater is has no difference in temperature from my fingers. Should I invest in another heat option or would you suppose that it puts the environment in a more favorable state?


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:23 am 
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You'll probably want a lot deeper substrate. Enough that the scorpion can dig a deep burrow in.

For thermometer - throw away the stick-on one. It will measure the temperature of the glass, not the substrate. I use indoor/outdoor thermometers from nurseries/garden shops. The "outdoor" portion can be set into the substrate and the "indoor" portion on the lid of the cage. That will give you better, more useful information. Normally I don't track the temperatures of individual cages, but use the indoor/outdoor thermometers to monitor shelves that cages sit on. However, I have a large terrarium set up for Emperor scorpions, and this is the one in which I use the set-up described above. I also use bottom heat, although I use a pad that only covers less than half of the bottom of the cage. That way there's better heat gradient, and the scorps can choose their comfort zone. (I noticed a couple days ago that one of my emperor scorps is gravid in a big way, so I'm looking forward to seeing little ones.)


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:03 am 
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kiteless wrote:
Thanks for the reply. Over the weekend I got one of those sticky pad heaters that covers about 60% of the underside of the terrarium. (I have an inch of thick packed subtrate, then another inch of loose subtrate outside of the burrow.) Also I got a sticker style thermometer and put it on the far top end of the terrarium.

It has read 75 degrees since then. I don't know how much temperature difference there is between the thermometer location and the scorpion burrow, but I know that the glass next to the thermometer is slightly cold to the touch where the glass near where the heater is has no difference in temperature from my fingers. Should I invest in another heat option or would you suppose that it puts the environment in a more favorable state?


Kiteless,

Follow Bill's sage advice regarding thermal devices and set-ups. The adhesive type temperature and humidity strips are basically useless for monitoring environmental conditions within vivaria.

If you're going to keep P. imperator or Heterometrus species (forest scorpions), you'll need to provide at least a moist 10 cm (4") layer of substrate that will allow the scorpions to excavate home chambers/burrows. Regardless of substrate choice, add 50% sphagnum peat moss to the substrate. The addition of the acidic peat will retard the decomposition of dead prey and prey remains acting as an effective preventative measure to prevent mite (Sancassania sp.) infestations in warm, humid environments. Another advantage in adding peat to the substrate is that it will decrease the overall weight of the enclosure.

Cheers,
Luc


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:11 pm 
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kiteless wrote:
Thanks for the reply. Over the weekend I got one of those sticky pad heaters that covers about 60% of the underside of the terrarium. (I have an inch of thick packed subtrate, then another inch of loose subtrate outside of the burrow.) Also I got a sticker style thermometer and put it on the far top end of the terrarium.

It has read 75 degrees since then. I don't know how much temperature difference there is between the thermometer location and the scorpion burrow, but I know that the glass next to the thermometer is slightly cold to the touch where the glass near where the heater is has no difference in temperature from my fingers. Should I invest in another heat option or would you suppose that it puts the environment in a more favorable state?
Hey Kiteless :) Emps are 'obligate burrowers', meaning that their enclosure really should ideally have a burrowably deep substrate.
As to thermometers, I use a Cen-Tech laser digital thermometer gun. Pull the trigger, and know instantly what the temp is. I got mine from http://www.harborfreight.com.
They vary between $20.00 and $100.00 I paid $40.00 for mine and I wouldn't be without it ;) There are also probe thermometers that can tell you what temp the center of your substrate is...so far I haven't found them to be necessary. Emps are reclusive....give them a place to hide and you'll not see them very much. Mine come out when they're hungry ;) Then too, I've got adults that were born here....they're typically out on top of their hides and slabs etc whether they're hungry or not ( They didn't read the book)
Keep us posted :)
Don't forget the sphagnum moss
GMB


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 Post subject: Re: Emperor Scorpion: pregnant or overfed?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:19 am 
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Update: I have redone the habitat with the peat moss/subtrate mix about 4 inches deep. I also got a indoor/outdoor thermometer to compliment the sticky pad heater on the bottom of the habitat. The temp in the burrow is up around 84 degrees. It was fun to watch her dig her home out! The next step would be to get a larger enclosure as the one I have just feels smaller and smaller all the time.

Another development seems to be that I am not sure she is gravid. I have scaled back her feedings from 3 crickets a week to 2 and I think she is losing size. I guess I won't know for sure for a while as their gestation is so long, it's a huge waiting game!

Thanks for everyone's advice!


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