The Heterometrus genus encompasses many types of scorpions that are collectively referred to as Asian forest scorpions, and despite the fact that scorpions are an unusual choice of pet, they can be both compelling and rewarding. Asian Forest Scorpions have bodies that tend towards black in color and, typically, they can grow up to around 6 inches long. These scorpions ought to be housed alone, as they are capable of displaying aggression despite surviving alone in the wild. Regardless, their owners still need to fulfill important care obligations connected with their diet, enclosure size, and more!
What Are Asian Forest Scorpions?
Scientifically regarded as heterometrus longimanus, the Asian forest scorpion comprises various sub-species within the Heterometrus genus, and are mainly found inhabiting tropical forests in Asia, particularly countries such as Indonesia, India, and Malaysia, but are now also becoming more prevalent as domesticated pets. It is important to note that they are not suitable for everyone, and will require plenty of attention and care for domesticated purposes.
What Do Asian Forest Scorpions Look Like?
Asian forest scorpions typically range from a span of 3.5 to 6 inches in length; However, most scorpions hit up to the 5 inch mark. They have two large front pincers which they will make use of for protection if they feel threatened. Males and females are distinguishable by their tails and pincers, with males of the species typically having larger and lengthier tails and pincers compared to females.
Additionally, Asian forest scorpions have a stinger at the tip of their tails, which are often a shade of red-brown color; irrefutable evidence of the scorpion’s black body. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that the short stiff hairs on their body are used by these creatures to perceive their surroundings.
Asian Forest Scorpion Behavior
Compared to other species of scorpions, Asian forest scorpions tend to be somewhat territorial and aggressive, thus many breeders and enthusiasts would recommend that you keep these pets on their own, and not housed together. Asian forest scorpions are nocturnal, and are most active at night; they use their pincers to defend themselves when they feel threatened or uneasy, so care has to be taken while handling.
To make the process of handling them less stressful, it’s important to handle them frequently so that they are used to the person handling them, and you want to be gentle and proceed at their preferred pace. If they seem unhappy or overly-stressed, give them some space and return them to their enclosure.
Asian Forest Scorpion Care
Although these scorpions are best kept alone, they oftentime require plenty of space (preferably a large tank enclosure) where they can move around. They need safe substrate along the bottom of their enclosure – this can include potting soil or peat moss, among others. Additionally, hiding places like rocks and logs have to be provided. Some of these scorpions will bury themselves in the substrate to hide and cool off if they are feeling too warm.
The substrate has to be kept damp, but you should be careful not to make the environment too damp; water should be present in a very shallow bowl to ensure that it’s not too deep which can put the scorpion’s safety in jeopardy. Keeping the substrate wet rather than damp could lead to fungi growth. If using a heat mat, it’s best to put it only on one side of the enclosure so that your pet’s safety is not jeopardized.
Regular cleaning of the enclosure with spot cleaning is important, as this will ensure that no remaining food and related debris is present in their tank thereby preventing mould and parasite infestations.
What Do Asian Forest Scorpions Eat?
Being carnivorous, these scorpions feed on insects such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms in addition to feeding on spiders. This type of diet provides high amounts of protein which is favorable for these creatures. They also require a consistent supply of water, which should be available in a shallow dish that they can drink from as a dish that is too deep has a high likelihood of causing them to drown.
Are Asian Forest Scorpions Poisonous?
Asian forest scorpions are venomous, however, the venom in their sting is typically mild. As a result, if during handling, you are stung by the scorpion, you would likely feel it, but it shouldn’t cause any real damage! Common symptoms of a sting frequently include tenderness, redness or swelling. It should be noted that a sting from an Asian forest scorpion won’t be fatal except in the event that the person who is stung is allergic. Further, it is more likely for these scorpions to pinch you than to sting you.
How Long Do Asian Forest Scorpions Live?
Pet owners can expect an Asian forest scorpion to typically live long-term, with them surviving up to eight years in captivity, provided their daily care obligations are met including feeding, regular veterinary checks, and a clean enclosure. Always keep an eye on your pet’s behavior for any noticeable changes, as this would be the first indication that something is not right with your scorpion.
Asian Forest Scorpions – Are They Right for Me?
The suitability of an Asian forest scorpion as a pet will vary among individuals, but can be a great companion for pet owners who provide them with the right care. To minimize risks, it is important that they are housed according to their requirements, have a high protein diet primarily made up of insects, and receive regular periods of gentle handling for them to establish a level of comfort with their owners.
References and Resources
- Chiariello, T. ‘Veterinary Care of Scorpions’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2017)
- Kovarik, F. ‘A Review of the Genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828, with Descriptions of Seven New Species (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae)’, Euscorpius (2004)
- Izzat-Husna, M. (et al), ‘Notes on Scorpion Fauna in Kuala Lompat, Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang, Malaysia’, Journal of Wildlife and Parks (2014)
- Prendini, L. & Loria, S. ‘Systematic Revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae Simon, 1879), Revised Suprageneric Classification of Scorpionidae Latrielle, 1802, and Revalidation of Rugodentidae Bastawade et al, 2005’, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (2020)
- Heng Tan, H. & Mong, R. ‘Scorpion Stings Presenting to an Emergency Department in Singapore with Special Reference to Isometrus Maculatus’, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (2013)
- Petricevich, V. ‘Scorpion Venom and Inflammatory Response’, Mediators of Inflammation (2010)