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[ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

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Topic [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:04 pm

[ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet



Introduction:
This desert scorpion caresheet shows how I have been my raising deserts' specimens such as Androctonus spp, Parabuthus spp, Hottentotta spp & Leiurus spp. Under these conditions, they are able progress though molting stages successfully, from early instars to adulthood. This caresheet can be used for most desert specimens, (some species do require customised husbandry) as it has given me great success throughout the years, hence, I would like to share it with you.

Note: The substrate depth and size of enclosures stated in this caresheet are of "minimum requirements" to breed these scorpions up in a captive breed environment. Due to having  quite a handful of breeding projects at hand, you will not be surprise to find most of my enclosures looking "laboratory-style", hence, according to your own comfort level and interest, you may spend more effort in making a more naturalistic enclosure Smile

General husbandry of keeping Desert Scorpions:

Temperature:
- Day: 86°F - 89.6°F (30 - 32°C )
- Night: 77°F - 82.4°F (25 - 28°C)

Humidity:
- 50 -60 %

Substrate choices:
- Pure sand (e.g. Aquarium sand, play sand)
- Sand & Coco fibre dry mix (70% sand + 30% dry coco fibre)
- Pure Coco fibre (Dry)

Substrate Depth:
- Scorplings ( 2.instar - 3.instar ): 1-2cm
- Sub adults to Adults ( 4.instar - 8.instar ): 4-6cm

Size of enclosure for early instar
- Depending on the number of young specimens you are raising, you may either use small deli-containers with customised air vents on the lids:





Or if you are raising a large number of scorplings, you may use tackle-boxes for easy maintenance:







Both of the above works well, just make sure that the air vents are not made too large that the scorplings may squeeze through and escape.

For added measure, you may place these deli-containers or tackle-boxes into a larger storage tub. In this way, even if the scorplings managed to escape the individual containers, they'll still be confined within the second tub. Sample as follows:





These small deli-cups / tackle-box compartments might have restricted space place a hide. Hence, you may not provide a hide as long as the tackle-box is kept in a dark and well ventilated location.

Depending on the species, they will outgrow their given enclosure at different rate and you may proceed to upgrade their tank accordingly.

Size of enclosure for sub-adult specimen
For sub-adults of 4 or 5.instar, I kept them in kritter tanks by the measurement of 22cm x 12cm x 16cm.

The following shows a D.I.Y split tank which can be used to house a pair of sub-adult specimens:







Size of enclosure for adult specimen
Adults desert specimens are being upgraded to 30cm x 16cm x 24cm glass tanks. This is the minimum size i used for a single adult specimen or at most, for a mating pair of adult specimens. Sample as follows:









Water supply:
- Yes, they DO drink from a water source! (It is a myth that they do not need a drink)
- Just because they are able to adapt themselves to the desert living conditions by obtaining their water supply from their feeders, it does not mean that they would not appreciate clean drinking water offered in a dish
- Bear in mind that even the desert has occasional rainfalls and morning dews that they can drink from the crevices in within the rocks
-  Be it a shallow water dish or simple a light mist on the enclosure's wall, make it a point to offer them water once in awhile.

Water supply for juvenile to sub-adults
- A single side of the enclosure's wall can be misted lightly once every 1 - 2 weeks
- With good ventilation (such as a secured mesh lid), the water mist should evaporate completely within 24hrs

Sample of the quantity of suggested misting:




Water supply for adults
- A water dish may be provided and filled once every 10 days or every 2 weeks





Hide/ Shelter:
- Provision of at least a piece of flat slate / bark is highly recommended
- Minimum size of the hide is to be able to provide full body coverage, thus allowing the scorpion to find solitude in darkness for a sense of security.
- Prolonged period of stress may shorten their lifespan.



Feeder choice for scorplings of 2 to 3.instar:
1) Roach nymphs
2) Newly hatched baby crickets ("pinheads")
3) Head-crushed juvenile crickets
4) Ripped-off hind legs of adult crickets ("cricket drumsticks")


Feeder choice for sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 8.instar ):
1) Adult Roaches - 80% of diet
2) Adult Crickets - 18% of diet
3) Meal-worms- 2% of diet

Use only farm-bred feeders (bought from your local pet stores/ self-bred colonies) and none from wild-caught as they might contain pesticide etc
One of the good feeder roaches are B.lateralis



Feeding routine for Scorplings ( 2 to 3.instar ):
- 2  or 3 times per week
- Size of feeder is recommended to be half or no bigger then the scorpling itself

Feeding routine for sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 8.instar):
-  Once every 10 days to 14 days
-  Size of feeder can be up to the same body length (mesosoma length) of the scorpion.
-  When a scorpion is hungry, they will usually not hesistate to take down feeder of up to 1.5 times of their body length or more.

Molting concerns:
Whenever you are expecting a molt, do not leave feeders overnight in the same enclosure with your scorpion. While a scorpion is going through a molt, she loses her defensive "Armour" (exoskeleton) with the birth of a new "skin", hence making them very vulnerable at this point of time.

Molting process of a Scorpion:


During this critical period while her fresh exoskeleton is going though the hardening process ( usually takes a minimum 1- 4 days ), they might be attacked by feeders which may result in casualty. Safest time to wait before offering food is after 7 days.

Signs of a pre-molt scorpling:









In addition, try not move the enclosure of a freshly molted Scorpion around, an accidentally topple of her tank or dropping of a slate on her may result in immediate death or serious injuries to the Scorpion. Please avoid tank maintenance at this period.

Sensory system:



Mating a pair of adult specimens:
A pair of sexually matured specimens would readily engage in mating shortly after the male is introduced to the female's enclosure.
Average duration can be as short as 20mins to 1 hour while the male searches for a suitable spot to place his spermatophore







Signs of Embryos in a gravid female:
The visibility of embryos is not definite for all gravid females as some are more obvious than the other but generally, they usually appears in the later stage of gestation.  You might be able to spot embryos gleaming through the pleural membrane.









Other physical signs we can look out for in a gravid female includes:

- Reluctance/ hostility reactions to male's mating attempts
- Increase need of higher moisture (scorpion's activity revolves around areas of higher humidity e.g. near the water dish)
- Increase need of higher temperature (e.g. increased frequency of basking under a heat lamp)



- As the birthing date draws near, increase in territorial aggression might occur as to eliminate possible threats for her incoming brood



- And of cos, in terms of "Fatness" a gravid scorpion has to be looking somewhat like the following picture, especially when they are at the later part of their gestation period:







Optimal enclosure settings for a gravid female:
- Once you are sure of your female being gravid, it is best to remove any other specimens which may be residing in the same setup
- Try to ensure a temperature gradient in the brooding enclosure with one side of the tank being hotter than the other.
- The "hotter" area can be achieved with a infra-red heat lamp
- A water dish may be placed at the cooler side.
- Increase the humidity slightly higher than usual
- While we will like to fatten up a gravid female, my advice is not to have more than 2 feeders left uneaten at any point of time
- An alternative hide on the substrate can be provided at different location, thus allowing the scorpion a choice to shift and regulate the required temperature/ humidity

Gestation period:
- Gestation period may be different in species and are affected by the enclosure settings that we provide for the gravid scorpion.
- On average it ranges from 8 to 12 months for desert scorpions

During Birthing:
- On average, the duration for the scorpion mum to successfully give births to her brood within 6 hrs
- During this period, disturbance to the scorpion (e.g. photography) is not advisable
- To ensure the scorpion mum is delivering her babies in a stress-free environment, the four side-walls of the enclosure are covered (e.g. with cupboards) leaving the scorpion mum in darkness (With ample top ventilation)

The birth of 1.instar scorplings:










.




What to do with the brooding scorpion mum?
- Keep disturbance in her enclosure to the minimal
- There is no need to offer food for her before her scorplings dismounts as she has a natural suppressant build-up against feeding
- If you really find an urge offer food for the scorpion mum against all advice, do ensure that the feeder is an incapacitated prey
- Having a "mobile feeder" roaming freely within the brooding enclosure will cause stress to the scorpion mum
- Simply place the incapacitated feeder near the entrance of her hide and remove it carefully (without disturbing the scorpion mum) if it is not taken the next day

What to do with the tiny white blobs (1.instar babies) on the back of their scorpion mum?
- NOTHING! yes thats right
- Do not offer food to the scorplings as they are born with natural fats that will sustain them till their molt to 2.instar
- You will NOT be required to feed the scorplings UNTIL they have dismounted from mum's back on their own accord and usually, they will only feed a few days later AFTER they have dismounted
- Keep the substrate adequately damp and maintain the humidity for a successful molt to 2.instar
- In the event of undeveloped embryos, the scorpion mum will usually eat them to replenish energy loss during birthing



- If the scorpion mum, decides to eat any babies even though you have ensured the right brooding enclosure's settings and minimal disturbance, most likely it is because that scorpling might be a weak/ deformed individual and might not make it to 2.instar
- One may also suggest that the scorpion mum does it to replenish energy loss during birthing
- Do not feel bad about it as it is part of nature's way of eliminating the weak, do concentrate on the remaining healthy brood Smile

A successful molt to 2.instar:



- On average, the duration taken for the scorplings to attain 2.instar is around 2-4 days from birth
- Allow them to dismount naturally in about 2-3 days after their first molt to 2.instar





IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:

Preventing Mycosis:
Ensuring ample and unrestricted ventilation is extremely critical.
In my opinion, desert scorpions gets about 90% of their water supply from their preys and 10% from the occasional rainwater or morning dew etc.

We should replicate the occasional rain with the slight mist or by offering a shallow water dish once in a while. Be cautious not to get any mist directed at the scorpion. Guidance in the amount of water to be provided is as stated above under the section "Water supply"

Preventing escapees:
Ensure the top lids are escape-proof. Whenever possible, try to ensure the distance of the highest deco to the tip of the enclosure's lid is more then two times the full body length of the scorpion's. (Yes, do include the tail length as it is not unfamiliar that scorpions can lift themselves up just by using the tip of their telson)

Working with highly venomous species:
During tank maintenance, ALWAYS know where your scorpion is hiding before sticking your hand in (e.g. for a quick removal of a dead cricket or to do some deco adjustments). They are very sensitive to intrusions and there's a possibility of envenomation when you accidentally came across their path of retreat.


Support ASA Articles!

cheers "Like" us on our Fan Page at facebook.com/ScorpionArchives to receive all our latest pictures, videos and project updates with regards to Scorpion Breeding.



I wish you luck in breeding the desert scorpions of your liking.

Cheers,
GS


____________________________________________________

Related scorpion information:

[HOW TO] Guide to Mating Scorpions
http://www.allscorpionarchives.com/t16-how-to-guide-to-mating-scorpions

[HOW TO] Incubate 1.instar Scorpling
http://www.allscorpionarchives.com/t14-how-to-incubate-1instar-scorpling

[HOW TO] Tell if your Scorpion is Gravid
http://www.allscorpionarchives.com/t15-how-to-tell-if-your-scorpion-is-gravid

[HOW TO] Identify a PREMOLT Scorpion
http://www.allscorpionarchives.com/t10-how-to-identify-a-premolt-scorpion

[HOW TO] Guide to Feeding Young Scorpions
http://www.allscorpionarchives.com/t11-how-to-guide-to-feeding-young-scorpions


Last edited by GS on Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:33 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by stayfrosty04 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:34 pm

what material for a hide did u use here sir? Smile
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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:11 pm

It's a coconut shell.

Each fruit cost me only $1USD, and every half of the shell is excellent for adult desert scorpion while it's "quarters" are suitable for juvenile to sub-adults.

The "teeth" found on the hide (in the picture above) are hand crafted Razz

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by Shakudo on Thu May 02, 2013 10:51 am

Just wonderful this thread! My sincere compliments to you. Great material!


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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Thu May 02, 2013 2:00 pm

Thanks Joey! Smile

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by ahxean on Sun May 05, 2013 9:54 am

I want to ask if a desert scorpion finish giving birth, what humidity should be fine for the babies to survive?
or can i just leave them like the way i keep deserts?
Normally i kept my deserts in a L 30 cm x H 17cm x W 30 cm tank, 2.5 inch of sand only, spray water to a corner once a week.
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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Sun May 05, 2013 11:31 am

You can leave the babies in the same humidity environment as the adults. The difference is the interval of misting/ water provisioning.

Young desert scorpions usually thrive better with slightly more moisture on their substrate. Details on how much is mentioned in the article above.

Let me know if it answers your concern Smile

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by Dakuan on Wed May 29, 2013 2:54 pm

Very interesting and useful thread!
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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:24 pm

Thanks Dakuan! Smile

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by datCharles on Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:09 pm

I can use this caresheet for P. Villosus right? Sad. I'm quite confused. I'm getting my sling tomorrow.

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:08 pm

Yes you can Smile

Regarding Parabuthus spp, please feel free to post your questions here:
http://allscorpionarchives.forumotion.com/t31-discussion-parabuthus-spp

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Topic Re: [ASA] Desert and Xeric Shrubland Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by Lauronious on Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:16 pm

Incredibly helpful. Thank you.

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