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[ASA] Forest Scorpions' Caresheet

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Topic [ASA] Forest Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:54 pm

[ASA] Forest Scorpions' Caresheet



Introduction:
This forest scorpion caresheet shows how I have been keeping forest specimens such as Pandinus spp, Heterometrus spp and Liocheles spp. A keeper can drilled down further into specific details to keep the different species but generally, i have used the same settings for all my forest scorpions and it has worked well for my breeding projects.

Under these conditions, my specimens are raised successfully from young instar and paired them as adults. Thankfully, they've blessed me with multiple broods! Hence, i would like to share this humble success in promoting pure captive breed & born specimens.

Basically this will cover anything that is big, black, armed with large pincers (chela) and lives in a tropical rain forest.

Note: The substrate depth and size of enclosure stated in this caresheet are of the "minimum requirements" i use in order to raise the scorpions up well in a captive breed environment. Keepers may upgrade them according to his/her comfort level and of cos, to beautify them further in resemblance to their natural habitat

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

Methods to attain the ideal temperature for NON-Tropical countries:
- I will recommend Infra Red Heat Lamp as compared to heat pads or any sort.
- IR heat lamps are used simply because they are able to transmit heat far more effectively as compared to heat pads and you may vary the distance of your it from your tank to adjust the required heat
- As a bonus, IR Heat lamps supports night viewing of your critters as scorpions are not able to see the "red lights" emitted from them, hence it's less stressful for them when you wish to do night observations

Humidity:
- 70-80 %

Methods to attain the ideal humidity:
- I do not worry so much with regards to providing optimal humidity, as long as the substrate is sufficiently dampened (Refer to guide below) the right humidity should follow
- The are several ways to maintain humidity (e.g. by false bottom or misting etc) but i choose the easiest and most effective way for me which is to keep the substrate moist by pouring in water once every 1-2 weeks or whenever required to achieve the proper dampness

How to determine the required dampness in the substrate:
- 1) When you grab a handful of substrate and lift it up, there should be no water dripping from it
- 2) If you proceed to do a squeeze to that handful, some water droplets should come through
- Note: I've experienced problems with insufficient humidity but no issue with over-humidity (so-to-speak), hence, the moisture level of the substrate is ideal so long as it is not soaking wet, not to worry about it, after a few attempts, you would get it right

Substrate choices:
- 100% Pure Coco peat / Coco fibre (e.g. Exo-terra plantation soil) - It holds moisture very well and able to maintain required humidity
- It supports burrows when it is properly packed down
- If Coco peat / Coco fibre is not available, unfertilized plotting soil may be utilized as well
- Addition of forest moss is optional (for aesthetic purposes) but do take note that without ample ventilation, molds can easily form on them

Substrate Depth:
- For scorplings ( 2 to 3.instar ): 2-3 inch
- For sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 7.instar ): 4-6 inch

An easy way to gauge the minimum suggested depth of substrate:
- It is by using the full length of the forest scorpion (e.g. an adult forest scorpion measuring 5-6 inch would require a substrate depth of 5-6 inch)

Mites problem:
- Generally speaking, as long that the mites are white and are seen crawling in and out of the substrate, they are only scavengers which feeds on dead preys' parts, some keepers refer them as "Predatory/ Good mites"

- What we should be concern about are, mites of parasitic nature. They are more commonly found on wild-caught scorpions and are usually very slow moving and found on the joints of the scorpion. Sample picture as follows: Source: http://www.ntnu.no/ub/scorpion-files. Regarding to the different types of mites, you may wish to check out the link below or do a google search for "scorpion mites"

- In my experience, I can never have a forest enclosure's substrate free from predatory mites.. probably its due to the the lack of time to "eyeball" each feeding attempts and remove uneaten food immediately
- However, if only a few lots are seen crawling around the substrate, they will be disregarded
- If we're taking about hundreds of them amassing under rocks/ hides, i'll recommend a completed substrate overhaul;
- As a freshly molted forest scorp can be stressed out and die in extreme scenarios
- The above can be disregarded if your forest specimens are all adults but it'll still recommend a new substrate changed every 6-12 months

Maintaining a "healthy" substrate:
- Whenever possible, try to do weekly spot cleaning or remove any uneaten dead preys within 24 hours
- Substrate is completely changed once every 6 months

Minimum enclosure size for a single specimen:
Note: The substrate's moisture condition in the enclosures below is prior to misting, it should be further dampened for adequate humidity

- For scorplings ( 2 to 3.instar ): Deli-container of 7cm height with a 12cm base diameter:


- For sub-adults (4 to 6.instar): 2.5 gallon tank
- For adults (7.instar ): 5 gallon tank

Enclosure size for an adult pair:


- Note: While we should try our best to replicate the natural "forest environment" as closely as possible, the above specification for enclosure's size are the minimum requirements suggested for the specimen to stay healthy (in a captive environment). Keepers may upgrade to larger tanks if spaces allows
- Plan early (if possible) on the space allocation you have for your inverts

Water supply:
- A shallow water dish is supplied and filled at all times
- Place stones as bedding in the water dish to ensure that the scorpion is able to climb out
- Or simply use a porous ceramic water dish
- Water bowl is cleaned once a month



Hides & decos:
- For wild-collected bark pieces/ slates, try to collect from a remote area whereby the chances of it being exposed to pesticide is low
- It is advisable to eliminate any possible parasites by putting it under heat treatment e.g. mircowave or over a flame (be careful not to over-do-it) and allow it to cool off before usage
- Try not to use heavy objects e.g. large logs or large slates of rocks in your enclosure as they might trap your your scorpion when they burrows under them
- Always try to ask the "what if" questions whenever you wish to add something to your enclosure
- Providing hides for a family brood of scorpions is easy, simply ensure that large pieces of bark pieces/ slates are covering majority of the floor space and most likely, they will often huddle together in groups
- When providing hides for specimens from different parents, it will be good to cater at least one hide per specimen and 1 additional "spare "hide (e.g. three hides for two specimens)

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 and quantity is 1x feeder for each session
- To prevent over-powering by the feeder, the size of feeder has to be specifically chosen
- The recommended size is half or no bigger than the mesosoma (body) length of the scorpion itself

Feeding routine for sub-adults( 4 to 6.instar ):
- 1-2 times a week and quantity is 1x feeder for each session
- Size of feeder: between 2-4cm

Feeding routine for adults (7.instar ):
- Once a week or once every 10 to 14 days and quantity is 1x feeder for each session
- Size of feeder: around 4-6cm

Understanding their sensory system:
- For detection of preys and presence of possible threats in the surroundings



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.

The following slideshow entails molting process of a forest Scorpion:


The above slideshow from photobucket might not be visible for some smart phones.
Mouse over the bottom right-hand corner of the above slideshow and feel free to click on the controls to "hasten" the molting sequence. Have fun!


Here's the link to the picture album, just in case:
http://s1113.photobucket.com/albums/k516/GSscorpions82/Molting_Scorpion/



During this critical period while her fresh exoskeleton is going though the hardening process ( usually takes a minimum 1- 3 days ), they might be attacked by feeders which may result in casualty.



Try to not move the enclosure of a freshly molted Scorpion, 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. Safest time to wait before offering food is after 7 days.



The following picture is taken a few days after molt. The gloss shows the hardening of the exoskeleton:



Maturity:
- Generally, both sex of most forest scorpions will go through 6 molts and attained adulthood at 7.instar.
For exact documentation, do research on the specific species.

How to estimate maturity based on Telson's color:
- Applicable for Heterometrus and Pandinus spp (Asian Forest Scorpions/ Emperor scorpions)

- Juvenile has white telson:


- Sub-adults have creamy-orange telson:


- Adults have Dark-Red telson:


Sexing Pandinus spp and Hetermetrus spp

1. Sexing via the Shape of the Genital Operculum (High accuracy)

Genital Operculum is located at the underside of scorpions. It is identical for both males and females:



- Males: They have an oval shaped operculum
- Female: They have a "heart-shape" Genital Operculum and it's pointed tip is facing towards the metasoma (scorpion's tail). Refer to the reference shot i took on my pair of specimens.



2. Comparing the size of pectines (feather-looking thing near the Genital Operculum

As you can see from the picture above, males' pectine are much thicker and longer than female’s. This may be a good method if you two or more specimens to compare with. Also, males usually have more pectine teeth but it might not be accurate. Method one should always be your first attempt on sexing.

The following is another close-up shot on female's "heart-shaped operculum"



Note: There may be slight variation from both sexes. E.g. there can be a few types of "Oval-shaped" Genital Operculum of males but the distinguishing pointed tips of the female's "Heart-shaped" Genital Operculum should be a clear indicator on separating females from males.

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 and usually appears in the later stage of gestation.
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





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 9 to 18 months for forest scorpions

During Birthing:
- On average, the duration for the scorpion mum to successfully give births to her brood is 1-2 days (sometimes stretching to the 3rd day or more for a large brood)
- 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 it makes you feel more at ease by offering food for the scorpion mum, there's no harm in doing so. However, do ensure that the feeder is an incapacitated or headcrushed 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



Things to note:
- 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 7-10 days from birth
- Allow them to dismount naturally in about 5-7 days after their first molt to 2.instar













What can you do after the 2.instar scorplings has dismounted from mum's back:

Setup 1) Separate each sling into individual containers:


Setup 2) House the slings communally within themselves:


Setup 3) House the slings communally with their scorpion mum:


- By comparing the choices available for housing the slings, Setup 3 (Communal setup with scorpion mum) has been observed as the fastest growing group followed by Setup 2 (Communal setup among scorplings)

- In terms of cannibalism risk, it is Setup 3 with the highest risk, however, cannibalism risk is low if enclosure settings are optimal with proper feeding intervals to ensure specimens are well-fed

Communal or Non-communal:
The golden rule is first to accept the following fact:

"All Scorpions are communal until they are NOT"

It simply means that there will always be risks involved for captive communal setups. Yes, while you can minimize the possibility by providing ample hides and keep them well-fed but you must always be prepared in the event that things might turn ugly one day. With/without any signs of warning.

Hence, whether to house them communally or in their individual setups, it actually boils down to the risk level that you are willing to take and the main objective in breeding them.

Personally, If i have bought a group of 6 young specimens from a dealer,
i would most likely housed them individually until they are ready to be paired as adults

However, if I am having a whole brood of scorplings from one of my adult pairs, i would split them into different groups (e.g. Distributed within Setup 1, 2 & 3). With this arrangement, I can learn about how they interact with each other in different communal setups and their speed of growth under different environmental conditions

Depending on the rarity of the forest species you are having, (e.g. are they are very rare in your country) and your sole objective is to raise and sell/trade off, in that case, the safest choice is definitely individual setups. Nurture each of them to full adults and then you may proceed to mate them.

Forest scorpions such as Pandinus imperator/ Heterometrus spinifer should have no issues in communal setup with the following conditions being met:

--- Provision of adequate hides
--- Provision of ample humidity
--- Provision of ample enclosure space
--- Ensuring well-fed specimens

My main concern in communal setup during raising young forest scorpions to adults is mainly on possible feeder attacks during their molting period. Hence, their main food source are juvenile B.lateralis roaches (not 100% safe but are much safer as compared to crickets/mealworms).

Occasionally, head-crushed crickets/mealworms are also provided to enhance the scorpions' food variety but they will be removed if they are not taken by the following day.

The above points are for your consideration and only you can decide which setup to go for in raising your scorpions

IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:

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)


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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 forest 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
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GS
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Topic Brilliant!

Post by kellysaxez on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:29 am

Very well done. Thorough and definitive. Much appreciated as I have just received 2 P. imperator slings of about 2i, maybe 3i. and am a nervous wreck as to how best to care for them.

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Topic Re: [ASA] Forest Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:29 am

Thank you.

Congrats in getting these slings. It's a fun journey as you "grow in the hobby" just as they would molt their way to adulthood, under your care.

Be Calm, it's not as hard as you think Smile

Feel free to ask if you need clarification on ASA scorpion caresheets.

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ASA Forum Rules Scorpion Caresheets: Forest | Bark | Desert
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Topic WOW!!!

Post by kellysaxez on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:45 am

Thank you so much for this information. Very well done and helped me a great deal, not to mention saved the site from yet another new thread lol

Peace.

Kelly

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Topic Re: [ASA] Forest Scorpions' Caresheet

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