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8 of the Best Pet Scorpions (With Pictures)

Scorpions are fascinating creatures. They’re more exotic than spiders, and, for many people, they’re not quite as creepy. Plus, most of the species sold as pets get quite large, and are also very docile.

Many types of scorpions can live for upwards of 8 to 10 years, so you’re making a commitment in purchasing a pet scorpion. Keeping that in mind, you want to be sure and choose a species that suites you and your lifestyle. With all that being said, in this article we’re going to show you our choices for the 8 best pet scorpions.

Let’s dive right in!

8 Best Pet Scorpions

1. Emperor Scorpion

Emperor scorpion sand
Emperor scorpion sand

Scientific name: Pandinus imperator

One of the most recognizable scorpion species in the world is also one of the top recommendations for people who want a pet scorpion. The emperor scorpion is a big, all-black scorpion, which just looks cool. The size and color, in addition to it’s docile temperament, are the reasons it’s so recognizable- it’s the go-to scorpion whenever a movie or TV show needs one.

They grow to between 6 and 8 inches long, have a thick, stout body with meaty claws, and can live for up to 10 years. They’re very hesitant to sting, and are much more likely to pinch you with their claws if they feel threatened.

If they do sting, their venom is mild and harmless as long as you aren’t allergic. Caring for an emperor scorpion isn’t terribly difficult either, they’re suitable for beginners.

2. Tanzanian Red-clawed Scorpion

Tanzanian red clawed scorpion
Tanzanian red clawed scorpion | image by Totodu74 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific name: Pandinus cavimanus

While it’s a very popular pet scorpion, this species is too aggressive to be suitable for beginners. For experienced keepers, though, it’s wonderful. They grow to about 4-5 inches long, with a stout, black body and red claws.

The coloring on the claws is the main reason they’re such a popular pet. Scorpions rarely have interesting colors- most of them come in various shades of black, brown, or tan. That makes this species one of the prettiest scorpions you can get.

3. Malaysian Black Scorpion

Malaysian black scorpion
Malaysian black scorpion | image by William Warby via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Heterometrus spinifer

This species only grows to a maximum length of 5 inches, and it looks like a miniature emperor scorpion. Malaysian black scorpions are an aggressive and defensive species, and they’re quick to sting when they feel threatened.

However, it’s venom is mild, and in the world of scorpion-keeping that makes it a highly desirable pet. It’s also harder to find than many of the other species in pet stores, and the rarity also lends it some mystique and increases it’s desirability.

4. Javanese Jungle Scorpion

Scientific name: Heterometrus javanensis

Nearly the same size as the emperor scorpion, the Javanese jungle scorpion is much harder to find, and as a result it’s highly-sought after. It’s native to the rainforests of Indonesia, and as such it likes a humid, wet environment. They’re somewhat aggressive, but they prefer to pinch rather than sting.

Interestingly, although they can be aggressive, they are not considered difficult to handle and can be a great choice for beginners. They can also be housed with other scorpions without too much risk.

5. Desert Hairy Scorpion

Giant hairy scorpion on the ground
Giant hairy scorpion on the ground | image by Joshua Tree National Park via Flickr

Scientific name: Hadrurus arizonensis

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A New World desert species, this is the largest scorpion in North America. It grows up to 6 inches long. It’s got a sparse covering of bristly hairs, which is unusual for scorpions.

It’s a pale brown/tan color, which helps it blend in with the desert sand of it’s native habitat. While it isn’t terribly aggressive, it’s venom is more potent than most of the other scorpions on this list. It’s not strong enough to pose much of a risk, but it’s a much more painful sting than an emperor scorpion or a Malaysian black, and so it’s not recommended for beginners.

6. Large-clawed Scorpion

Large-clawed scorpion
Large-clawed scorpion | image by Eran Finkle via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Scorpio maurus

A small species at just 3 inches long, the large-clawed scorpion is native to North Africa and the Middle East, where it spends it’s days hidden in burrows or under rocks. At night it emerges to hunt insects.

It’s named for it’s claws, which appear oversized in comparison to the rest of it’s body. They’re naturally a wary species, but they prefer to use those oversize claws for defense rather than their sting. Their venom is mild, so if they do sting it isn’t too bad.

7. Dictator Scorpion

Scientific name: Pandinus dictator

The largest scorpion in the world, this species can grow to 8 inches or more in length. It’s closely related to the emperor scorpion, although it’s usually considered even more timid around people. Many keepers say their dictators prefer to push their hands away with their claws, rather than pinching or stinging.

Dictators can also be housed with more than one individual in the same tank, which is a rarity for scorpions. They’re much harder to find than emperor scorpions, and it’s best to buy from a breeder, as there’s some concern about overexploitation of this species in the wild for the pet trade.

8. Asian Forest Scorpion

Asian forest scorpion
Asian forest scorpion | image by Jidnesh Doshi via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Heterometrus longimanus

This species is difficult to distinguish from the emperor scorpion; the main difference is their size, as the Asian forest scorpion only grows to about 6 inches. They even have similar behaviors, as neither species is aggressive and will only attack if provoked.

This species breeds easily in captivity, and is very hardy, which makes it a common choice in the pet trade. It’s a great choice for beginners because it’s docile, easy to handle, and can be found in pet stores easily.

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