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14 Interesting Facts About Emperor Scorpions

Does the thought of a scorpion give you the heebie-jeebies? They may be a little on the scary side, but these creatures are fascinating. The emperor scorpion is a relatively docile member of the Scorpionidae family and has even been known to make a great pet. This article will detail a few facts about emperor scorpions and maybe help you learn about these strange creatures a bit better.

14 Facts About Emperor Scorpions

1. Emperor Scorpions are arachnids.

Emperor scorpion on the grass
Emperor scorpion on the grass | image by Chandan Singh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Just like its spider cousins, the emperor scorpion is an arachnid. The body of the scorpion is called the prosoma and is made up of four sections.

Each section has a pair of legs, totaling eight. Like spiders, emperor scorpions also have several pairs of eyes. They have two eyes on the top and two to five pairs of eyes on the corners of the prosoma.

2. Emperor Scorpions are one of the largest scorpions in the world.

Adult emperor scorpions can grow up to 8 inches in length, making them one of the largest scorpion species in the world. In addition to their length, they are quite heavy, weighing up to 30 grams.

3. Emperor Scorpions are shiny and black.

These large scorpions are shiny and jet black all over. However, if placed under ultraviolet light, emperor scorpions glow a fluorescent bluish-green.

4. Emperor Scorpions live in burrows.

emperor scorpion in captivity
An Emperor Scorpion in captivity | image by Jim, the Photographer via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Emperor scorpions live in burrows under leaves and other forest debris in groups of twelve or more. They dig burrows in the dirt, under rocks, and fallen trees, and some even burrow in termite mounds. They spend their days hiding in these burrows.

5. Emperor Scorpions have a stinger on their tail to inject venom.

Emperor scorpions have long tails that curve over their backs. The tip of the tail is adorned with a venomous stinger. Young scorpions use this stinger to catch various types of prey, but adult emperor scorpions primarily use their stingers for self-defense.

Though this stinger can look intimidating, its venom is not deadly to humans. Getting stung by an emperor scorpion is similar to being stung by a bee. It isn’t fun, but unless you’re allergic, there is no real threat to your health.

6. Female Emperor Scorpions give birth to live young.

Female emperor scorpions have a gestation period of nine months. Unlike their spider cousins, emperor scorpions give birth to live young.

The mother gives birth to between ten and twelve babies at a time. After they are born, the babies are helpless, so the mother carries them around on her back until they can live independently.

7. Emperor Scorpions are nocturnal.

emperor scorpion on rock
An Emperor scorpion on a rock | image by KenWalker via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Emperor scorpions are more active at night, making them nocturnal creatures. They spend most of their days in their burrows and come out at night to hunt for food.

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8. Emperor Scorpions are native to West Africa.

Emperor scorpions are primarily found in the hot and humid rainforests and savannas of West Africa. They can be found in countries such as Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and more countries in the western region of Africa.

9. Emperor Scorpions are carnivores.

The emperor scorpion’s diet consists of insects, lizards, and even small mice. They have been known to burrow into termite mounds to hunt termites, one of their favorite foods. If necessary, this scorpion can slow down its metabolism to survive up to a year without food.

10. Emperor Scorpions live up to 8 years.

Emperor scorpions are large and hardy creatures. In the wild, emperor scorpions live an average of five to eight years. In captivity, they have been known to live up to ten years or more if well taken care of.

11. Emperor Scorpions have poor eyesight.

Emperor scorpion on defensive mode
Emperor scorpion on defensive mode

Though they have several sets of eyes, emperor scorpions have very poor eyesight. Instead, they have tiny hairs on their limbs and comb-like structures called pectins behind their legs. These features help them to sense their prey in the dark without using their eyes.

12. Emperor Scorpions have two large pincers they use to catch prey.

While emperor scorpions have a stinger at the end of their tails that they can use to incapacitate prey, the adults usually use their large pincers to catch their prey. Many who encounter an emperor scorpion are worried about the stinger, but the pincers deliver a much more painful pinch to humans.

13. Emperor Scorpions are beneficial to the ecosystem.

Emperor scorpions are essential members of the ecosystems in which they live. They help control the insect population and are a food source for predators such as birds, giant centipedes, lizards, bats, mammals, and even larger arachnids.

14. Emperor Scorpions are popular exotic pets.

Emperor scorpions are large and hearty creatures and are also docile and calm in nature, making them a very popular choice for an exotic pet. They can live eight to ten years in captivity and survive on crickets and worms readily available at exotic pet stores.