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[ASA] Bark Scorpions' Caresheet

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Topic [ASA] Bark Scorpions' Caresheet

Post by GS on Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:56 pm

[ASA] Bark Scorpions' Caresheet



Introduction:
This bark scorpion caresheet shows how I have been raising bark specimens such as Centruroides spp, Lychas spp, Rhopalurus spp & Tityus spp. There might be more specific ways to keep the different species but generally, i've used the same settings for all my bark 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 with fellow bark scorpions' enthusiasts in promoting pure captive breed & born specimens.

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.

The following are the results on some of my breeding projects:

















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

Humidity:
- 60-80 %

Substrate choices:
- 100% Pure Coco peat / Coco fibre (e.g. Exo-terra plantation soil) - It holds moisture very well and hence, able to maintain required humidity
- If Coco peat / Coco fibre is not available, unfertilised plotting soil may be ultilised as well
- Addition of forest moss is optional (for aesthetic purposes) - Note that without ample ventilation, molds can easily form on the moss

Substrate Depth:
- For scorplings ( 2 to 3.instar ): 1-2cm
- For sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 8.instar ): 3-4cm



Condition of the substrate:
- For young instar: Min of 50% of the substrate's surface is always kept moist
- For sub-adults to adults: Min of 70% of the substrate's surface is always kept moist
- The above is done to maintain the humidity
- The moisture level of the substrate is ideal so long as it is not soaking wet

- Bark scorpions do not require a deep substrate as compared to forest scorpions, but if you wish to reduce the time spent on maintaining the humidity, the substrate depth can be increased to allow more water retention.

[color=yellow]Enclosures for scorplings (2 to 3.instar)
Pill bottles of 8cm height with 4cm base diameter:



Enclosures for sub-adults (4 to 5.instar):
Pill bottles of 9cm height with 6cm base diameter:



Enclosures for adults (6 to 8.instar):
- Left container is for adults: 16cm height with 8cm Square base
- Right Pill bottle is for sub-adults: 9cm height with 6cm base diameter:
- The adult enclosure display below is the minimum size required size for a single adult specimen or to house a breeding pair
- If space allows in the keeper's home, a larger enclosure can be implemented and beautified further depending on his/her creativity

- For a pair of adult specimens, it is recommend to have a minimum of three bark pieces (stacked together in a inclined position), this is to ensure a minimum of two separate "hiding spots" are available.



- Vertical height clearance is more important than floor space.
- Minimum required floor space: 1.5 times the full length of the bark scorpion
- Minimum required height clearance space: 1 to 3 times the full length of the bark scorpion

Water supply:
- For young instar to sub-adults specimens (2 to 4.instar), a single side of the enclosure's wall misted once every 3 days
- For Adults ( 5 to 8.instar ), you may wish to provide a water dish for adults and have it re-filled each time when it runs dry.
- Water dish provided from 4.instar onwards



Provision of vertical barks:
- Provision of at least a single piece of bark is necessary
- Length of the bark is preferably 1-2 times the full length of the bark scorpion
- Angle of bark placement is preferably between 45 to 80 degree
- For wild-collected bark pieces, it is advisable to eliminate any possible parasites by putting it under heat treatment before usage

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")

For more info:
[HOW TO] Feeding Young Scorplings

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
- Size of feeder is recommended to be half or no bigger then the scorpling itself
- Probably due to work commitment, keepers might have to do a weekly feeding by dumping in a few feeders in a single feeding session, just note that if a molt is approaching, disabled feeders would be safer
- In my experience, between B.lateralis roaches and crickets, the former has less tendency to strike on a molting scorpion

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 hesitate to take down feeder of up to 1.5 times of their body length or more

Tips for feeding multiple specimens: ( 2 to 5.instar ):
Well, this is is a time saving tips for breeders like myself where by the duration spent on maintaining your collection is increasing tremendously as time goes by.

The pill bottles are basically left opened but contained within a larger kritter tank. This makes feeding, misting & maintaining humidity alot more faster than opening each pill bottle by itself. Any escapees would still be recovered from the neighboring pill bottle. Yes, there is still a slight risk involved but as long as the specimens are well fed, the risk can be reduced to zero casualty.

Do note that this method is catered more towards power-feeding regime, it has a disadvantage is that the substrate dries off fairly fast due to the opened top. To counter this, the substrate depth can be increased.



Molting concerns:
Most bark scorpions molt on the barks facing downwards which allows the laws of gravity to assist in the molting process. However, some of them are able to molt on the substrate as well. Hence, it is ideal to provide sufficient floor space as well as the provision of an inclined bark.



In addition, whenever you are expecting a molt, do not leave feeders overnight in the same enclosure with your scorpion (pre-molt condition).



And 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:



During this critical period while her fresh exoskeleton is going though the hardening process which usually takes a about 5-8 days (the duration gets longer with the increase of age/ instar), they might be attacked by feeders which may result in serious injuries that might lead to death:





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.



Maturity:
on average, males attain adulthood at 6.instar (can range between 5 to 7.instar) and females may attain sexual maturity between 6 to 7.instar. Females of some species are able to reach 8.instar when optimal enclosure settings are provided, hence, they are able to attain a much large size as compared to males.



Sexual dimorphism:
Different bark scorpion species have their specific sexual dimorphism.

For some species, sexing is easy by chela comparison. E.g. for Lychas mucronatus and Rhopalurus junceus, the males have distinctive gap in their chela that does not seal completely even when it is fully closed. The females of these species can have their chela closed completely. Picture demostration shown below:





While for other species, adult males have thinner and elongated tails as compared to females. This sexual dimorphism are usually most significant during adult stages.



Generally speaking, by comparing a pair of adult bark specimens, females are usually larger in terms of body size whereas males have a slimmer body with a more elongated tail.



[color=yellow]For accurate sexing according on the specific species, it is safer to research on them separately.

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 15mins to 1 hour while the male searches for a suitable spot to place his spermatophore.

Click on the image below to view the mating vid.
[img]http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif" border="0">

Click on the image below to view the mating vid.
[img]http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif" border="0">



[img]" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif">

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. pressing her body against the enclosure's wall towards the direction of 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.
- While we will like to fatten up a gravid female, my advice is not to have more than 3 feeders left uneaten at any point of time
- Although bark scorpions may give birth while they are on the bark, an alternative hide on the substrate can be provided. This can be achieved with strategic stacking of bark pieces.





For more info:
[HOW TO] Tell if your Scorpion is Gravid

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 3 to 9 months for bark scorpions
- The shortest gestation period i've came across is 62 days

The birth of 1.instar scorplings:

[color=yellow]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







[color=yellow]What shall we do with the tiny 1.instar babies on the back of the scorpion mom?
- 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

Usually, they are one of the best mothers of all times Smile

Check this out >> The love of a scorpion mom





Molting to 2.instar on mom's back::









A successful molt to 2.instar:
- On average, the duration taken for the scorplings to attain 2.instar is around 5-7 days from birth
- Allow them to dismount naturally in 4-7 days after their molt to 2.instar











What can you do after the 2.instar scorplings has dismounted from mum's back:
- I will recommend to keep them in individual pill bottle which has the highest possibility of raising the full brood to adulthood.
- Communal setups of young scorplings may inevitably succumbed to cannibalism during the molting stages. However, with the provision of ample hides and adequate enclosure space the total number of casualty can be reduced. That being said, in my opinion.. it is still NOT recommended.







IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:

[color=yellow]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 by sensing vibrations in the air/ substrate. There's a possibility of envenomation when you accidentally came across their path of retreat. In the event of dealing with a highly famished scorpion, your fingers can be mistakenly taken as super worms Smile


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I wish you luck in breeding the bark 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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