Scorpions are dangerous creatures, yet they are cool pets. If you are planning to get a scorpion as your pet, choosing the right one is important. Here are the best beginner-friendly scorpions that you can keep as pets.
Before proceeding to the list, bear in mind that all scorpions are venomous. Even though the species listed here do not have deadly venom, bear in mind that some people can be more sensitive than others. No matter how careful you are, or how docile the scorpion is, there is a risk of being stung by the scorpion. Always be cautious when dealing with your pet scorpion.
The most famous pet scorpion in the world is none other than Pandanius imperator, also known as the emperor scorpion.
The emperor scorpions are black in color. Originating from Africa, they can grow up to 8” in length, and they can live for 8 years.
Emperor scorpions are good burrowers. But, they are bad at climbing. Hence, you don’t have to worry too much about the scorpion climbing out of the enclosure.
At a younger age, the emperor scorpions can be placed in the same enclosure if enough food is provided. However, as they age, they will start attacking each other.
Pandinus imperator are one of the easiest scorpion to care for, and hence make good pets because they are very mildly venomous (all scorpions are venomous). Moreover, they are not very aggressive, and don’t have fast movement unlike other species.
I’ve written a guide on Pandinus imperator care which you can refer to, if you are interested in keeping this species.
Heterometrus longimanus is the scientific name of the popular Asian forest scorpion. This scorpion originates from Southeast Asia, and it is undoubtedly one of the best beginner-friendly tarantula species.
Heterometrus longimanus is a medium size, black scorpion measuring between 4-5”. It spends most of its time burrowing in tropical rainforests, and would require high humidity. With proper care, they can live up to 8 years.
This species is slightly more agile, and slightly more aggressive than the emperor scorpion. Having said that, they are still considerably docile compared to many other scorpion species. And fortunately, the sting from this species is very mildly venomous.
Heterometrus spinifer is a close relative of the H. longimanus mentioned earlier. They are also commonly known as the Asian forest scorpion, and sometimes known as the giant forest scorpion.
Similar to its sibling, Heterometrus spinifer are relatively docile, slow, and least venomous compared to many other species. This makes it a recommended scorpion for beginners.
Pandinus cavimanus, also known as the Tanzanian red clawed scorpion, is a close relative of the emperor scorpion. As implied by the common name, this species has distinctive red pincers. Certain individuals may display a red tint at the back of their otherwise black body.
Pandinus cavimanus is smaller than the emperor scorpion, measuring between 3.5-5”. While it is smaller, this species is slightly more aggressive than its siblings. Fortunately, their stings are very mildly venomous, and they are not fast.
A Pandinus cavimanus can live up to 8 years if well taken care of.
Euscorpius flavicaudus is a scorpion species found in Southern Europe and Northwest Africa. They are also known as the European yellow-tailed scorpion.
Averaging between 1.5-2” in length, Euscorpius flavicaudus is a small species. It is characterized by a black or brownish body and brown-yellowish legs and tail. It has a smaller stinger which it seldom uses. Even if it does sting, the venom is very mild.
Euscorpius flavicaudus is often recommended for beginners because it is very docile. It rarely attacks its owner. On top of that, they don’t burrow as often as other species, making observation easier.
If you plan to keep this species, make sure you provide it with a shallow water dish. This species is smaller in size, and hence may drown in a deep water dish. You can also add pebbles or stones into the water dish to prevent it from drowning.
Other than that, E. flavicaudus is slightly more agile due to its small size. They do occasionally climb. Avoid handling them to prevent them from escaping.
Euscorpius flavicaudus has a lifespan between 3-5 years, making it suitable for those who do not want a long term commitment.
Measuring up to 5.5”, Hadrurus arizonensis is the largest species of scorpion found in North America. It is also commonly known as the desert hairy scorpion.
The sting of H. arizonensis is mildly venomous, and they don’t readily attack. They also don’t climb well, and have moderate speed. That doesn’t mean you are encouraged to hold them in your hands though.
While many scorpions fast intermittently, H. arizonensis is known to fast for 6 months or more without apparent health issues. So, don’t be surprised if you experience that when keeping this species.
Hadrurus arizonensis is one of the most long-lived scorpions. They can live for 15-20 years. However, it is difficult to breed them in captivity.
Buthus occitanus (European Variant)
Buthus occitanus is a species of scorpion found in Europe, and North Africa. The European variant has a darker color, and mildly venomous; in contrast, the North Africa variant is yellowish and highly venomous. Make sure you are getting the European variant!
The venom from this species contains BotIT6, a toxin that kills insects by targeting their voltage-gated sodium channels. Interestingly, many pesticides available in the market target the same sodium channels.
Buthus occitanus can grow up to 3” in length and live up to 6 years. They burrow extensively, but they don’t climb well.
Compared to the other species listed before, this species is very agile. It is also more venomous than the Pandinus and Heterometrus species (although it is still mildly venomous compared to many other species). As long as you keep your enclosure secure, and don’t attempt to hold them bare hands, you will be fine.
Paravaejovis spinigerus is the scientific name of the Arizona stripetail scorpion. It can be found in the southern US and Mexico. The adult scorpion is characterized by a dark or light yellowish body and stripes on the base of its tail.
Being a small species, P. spinigerus has an average length of 2-2.5”. In captivity, it can live up to 8 years!
Paravaejovis spinigerus is agile and mildly venomous. What makes it suitable for beginners is the fact that it is super docile. It rarely stings and it doesn’t climb. You can even keep them in a communal tank with the right setup.
Paravaejovis confucus, also known as Coahuila devil scorpion, is a close relative of P. spinigerus. While it is not as popular as its sibling, P. confusus is a beginner-friendly scorpion.
This small, yellowish scorpion can grow up to 3” in length. It can live for 7 years in captivity if well taken care of.
Like P. spinigerus, P. confucus is super docile. Moreover, they don’t spend as much time in the burrow as their siblings. However, it is harder to keep them in a communal tank.
Known as the lesser brown scorpion, Isometrus maculatus is a successful tropical Asian species that have migrated worldwide.
Isometrus maculatus has a lifespan of 3-5 years. The adult I. maculatus usually measures not more than 2.5”.
Like other small scorpions, I. maculatus is rather agile. Despite being smaller, it is more aggressive than other bigger species listed earlier. Don’t try to handle them. Fortunately, this species is only mildly venomous.
Most of the scorpions under the genus Centruroides are not suitable for beginners. Centruroides vittatus, or striped bark scorpion, is an exception.
Originating from the US and Mexico, C. vittatus is characterized by 2 dark stripes along its back. The average size of a C. vittatus is around 2.5″, and it can live for 5 years.
Centruroides vittatus is mildly venomous and moderately aggressive. Although they are fast and agile, they don’t climb. Try not to handle them.
With the right setup, this species can be kept in a communal tank. They don’t spend too much time in burrows, and can be easily observed.