Do Scorpions Make Good Pets?
You don't often find the words "pet" and "scorpion" together in the same sentence, do you? But there are loads of very loyal scorpion-keepers around the world who do call scorpions good pets. These are people who intentionally went out and bought a scorpion or somehow inherited one from a family member or friend fallen on hard times. If you are realistic, then a scorpion can make an excellent pet.
What Makes A Good Pet?
You are not going to cuddle and pet a scorpion. It is recommended to handle a scorpion as little as possible. A scorpion will not do tricks or beg for its dinner. A scorpion may not even seem to particularly care whether you live or die. And all pet scorpions do have stings. You can't find a de-stinged scorpion - well, not a living one, anyway. If you are allergic to bee stings, they you should think about adopting another pet.
But people who care for pet scorpions think they are good pets, not for what the scorpion gives to them, but for what they can give to the scorpion. Caring for any living creature is not only a great responsibility, when you can do it, your self-esteem goes through the roof. To see a healthy animal exhibiting normal fearless behavior in your home and knowing you are its caretaker is a reward in and of itself.
And scorpions don't talk back. They do not complain. They are relatively hardy creatures. They are beautiful to watch. They don't need to be walked, and are easy to clean up after. They are very undemanding pets and live for about 6-8 years, long enough for you two to get to know each other. In my lifetime, I have only met one person who got their pet stuffed after it died. That pet was an Emperor scorpion.
Kinds Of Pet Scorpions
It is not recommended to just pick up any old scorpion from any desert or tropical rain forest that you happen to be passing through. There are scorpions that have venom that is more powerful than a bee sting. Some species do have lethal venom. Also, it might be illegal where you live to just take home wildlife, even an arachnid like a scorpion.
There are only a few kinds of scorpions that are considered "friendly" (as in - they do not plot to escape and take control of your home). By far the most popular is the Emperor, also known as Imperial, Black Emperor or African Emperor Scorpion. They are very impressive, about the size of your palm and shining black. They are the easiest for a beginner to take care of.
Other kinds of pet scorpions include the African Burrowing Scorpions, Asian Forest Scorpions, Bark Scorpions, Flat Rock Scorpions, Gold scorpions and - my favorite name for a pet species - Giant Hairy Scorpions. ("Hi, Mom. This Giant Hairy Scorpion followed me home. Can I keep him?")
Scorpions are relatively inexpensive to buy, feed and take care of. They should really stay by themselves in a tank. They need artificial light, artificial heat, a place to hide, water and bugs like crickets or mealworms to eat. They don't need a lot of exercise, so you can keep them in a small vivarium or enclosure. For more on taking care of a pet scorpion, click here.
In my time working at a pet store and caring for the pets of friends and families, I was surprised by well-mannered the Emperor Scorpions were. They never seemed to be in a hurry. They could easily be transported by being coaxed into a Styrofoam cup with the lid off for cage cleanings. Since they didn't make much of a mess, they didn't need to be cleaned often. And their silence was actually quite soothing after a day of incessant barking and squawking from the customers.
They're not a usual pet, but if you go into the relationship with the right attitude, a scorpion can make an excellent pet, indeed.