Animal-World > Reptiles - Amphibians > Scorpions > Malaysian Forest Scorpion

Malaysian Forest Scorpion

Giant Forest Scorpion, Giant Blue Scorpion

Family: Scorpionidae Malaysian Forest Scorpion, Heterometrus spinifer, black scorpion also called Giant Forest Scorpion, Asian Forest Scorpion, and Giant Blue ScorpionHeterometrus spiniferPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Russ Gurley
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I have a Malaysian Forest Scorpion and I want to use a heat lamp instead of a heat rock or mat... My question is what wattage do you use? I also read that you can't... (more)  Jennifer

The Malaysian Forest Scorpion is hardy and attractive black scorpion, but is also aggressive!

The Malaysian Forest Scorpion Heterometrus spinifer is hardy, quiet, and easy to care for. At a glance these large, shiny black scorpions are often mistaken for the commonly kept Emperor Scorpion Pandinus imperator. It is also impressive to look at. But unlike the Emperor Scorpion it is not handleable. It is a much more aggressive species than the more docile Emperor.

This black scorpion is also referred to as the Asian Forest Scorpion. Consequently it is often confused with its cousin, the true Asian Forest Scorpion Heterometrus longimanus. But the Malaysian Forest Scorpion can be distinguished by size, it is significantly larger.

The Malaysian Forest Scorpion is quite defensive and will readily sting when it feels cornered or in danger. It is similar to the Emperor Scorpion only in looks and not in behavior. They are very aggressive and unlike the Emperor Scorpion, this species is not as likely to settle down in captivity. It can be distinguished from the Emperor in that it is slightly more elongated and its pedipalps and claws are larger and more elongated.

For more Information on keeping scorpions, see:
Keeping Arachnids and Other Arthropods as Pets


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Scorpiones
  • Family: Scorpionidae
  • Genus: Heterometrus
  • Species: spinifer

Scientific NameHeterometrus spinifer

Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Malaysian Forest Scorpion Heterometrus spinifer was first described by Ehrenberg in 1828.The Heterometrus genus was originally placed as a subgenus in the genus Buthus. Later it was recognized as its own genus by F. Karsch in 1879, and its genus status has been recently reaffirmed by F. Kovank in 2004. Malaysian Forest Scorpions are found in a wide range over southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, and most imports arrive from Thailand.

The Malaysian Forest Scorpion is also referred to as the Asian Forest Scorpion. Consequently it is often confused with its cousin, the true Asian Forest Scorpion Heterometrus longimanus. But the Malaysian Forest Scorpion is distinguished by size, it is significantly larger. Other common names it is known by are Giant Forest Scorpion and Giant Blue Scorpion.

Status The Heterometrus spinifer is not on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

Description The Malaysian Forest Scorpion is a large, black scorpion species very similar in appearance to the Emperor Scorpion. It has a shiny, black granulated exoskeleton. The average size of a mature adult is about 6" (16 cm). They reach sexual maturity at about 4 years in the wild, (though in captivity it can be closer to 1 year) and have an average life span of about 7 to 8 years.

Food and FeedingThis scorpion feeds on large insects such as crickets, locusts and even small mice. Feed large scorpions a diverse diet consisting of adult crickets, grasshoppers, Tenebrio larvae, and only occasional feedings (once or twice a month) of mice. This variety more closely mirrors the diet of this scorpion nature and will keep them healthy.

HousingThe Malaysian Forest Scorpion does well under humid conditions. They can be kept in a 2 1/2 to 15-gallon terrarium depending on the number of scorpions. A substrate of damp sand and peat moss with a top layer of cypress mulch, about 3" deep. Also provide a shallow, wide water dish. A sheet of cork bark or similar shelter should be added to the Malaysian Forest Scorpion's enclosure.

Temperature and humidity requirements:

This species like it warm and humid. Keep the enclosure maintained at about at 75° - 90 °F with the humidity level at 75 to 80%

Cage CareA good habit to get into is cleaning up any uneaten prey items the day after feeding your scorpion as decaying organic matter commonly attracts mites, fungus, mold and other potentially harmful organisms into the enclosure. If your pet has recently molted, remove uneaten prey items immediately. Newly molted scorpions are vulnerable until their exoskeletons hardens.

Behavior Typically scorpions are loners, but like the Emperor Scorpions, this scorpion is a bit of an exception. Adults can be kept in groups of three or more. They can get into occasional scraps, and it is usually over a cricket. So be sure they are given enough food. It also helps to provide more hiding places than you have scorpions.

Handling Use paintbrushes, deli cups, foam-covered tweezers, and coated rubber gloves to move this scorpion as it can potentially give a painful sting. Scorpions are best considered display animals rather than "hands-on" pets.

Scorpion stings are common and involve quite a bit more pain than was expected by victims. Redness, pain, and swelling are reported which in many cases lasted for several days. Several species of Heterometrus have even been known to cause such extreme consequences as paralysis and breathing difficulties.

ReproductionFemales are often bulkier and have thinner pincers than the males. These differences, however, can be subtle. The pectines on the underside of scorpions can be inspected to give the you an idea of their scorpion's sex. Place the scorpion in a clear plastic tub and hold it up to inspect the underside of the scorpion. Typically, males have longer combs on their pectines and females have shorter and often fewer combs on their pectines.

The male quickly grasps the pincers of the female and begins a shaking action known as "juddering". Then, after a short shoving match, the male deposits a spermatophore onto the substrate and positions the female over the packet of sperm. The female lowers her abdomen and picks up the spermatophore into her genital opening. The two separate and often beat a hasty retreat in opposite directions.

Diseases: Ailments/TreatmentsScorpions are generally quite hardy and adaptable if they are provided with the right environment. A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, acting listless or sluggish, having an overly swollen stomach, and missing or deformed limbs. Another problem can be an infestation of mites.

  • Molting
    One of the most common reasons for the death in scorpions is the molt. The scorpion has a tough outer covering, a cuticle, that forms a rigid exoskeleton. All scorpions must shed their old exoskeleton and secrete a new one in order to grow, this is called the molt. Scorpions will molt from 6 to 10 times during their lifetime. This molting process takes a lot of energy and they are very vulnerable for a couple of days after the molt until their new skin hardens

    For about 24 hours prior to molting it is not unusual for a scorpion to get quite sluggish.

    A difficult molt can result in lost or deformed limbs, or death. This is thought to be related to humidity levels. There can be either too much humidity or too little, depending on the species. In captivity a lot of immature scorpions die during the molting process.

  • Other Problems
    Though many scorpions can go for long periods of time without eating, overfeeding can cause an overly swollen stomach as well as the loss of appetite, and even death. The stomach can be slightly swollen from regular eating, and this is not a problem.

    Another problem can be an infestation of Mites. Uneaten food can attract mites, which are very dangerous and stressful to scorpions. Be sure to remove old food.

Availability Malaysian Forest Scorpions are found in large numbers in nature and are thus imported in large numbers. These black scorpions are commonly available as wild-caught specimens from a lot of invertebrate and reptile dealers. Unfortunately to date they have only been produced in captivity a few times.

References

Author: Russ Gurley, Clarice Brough CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Malaysian Forest Scorpion

Jennifer - 2014-09-27
I have a Malaysian Forest Scorpion and I want to use a heat lamp instead of a heat rock or mat... My question is what wattage do you use? I also read that you can't use anything that emits UV or backlights on scorpions but someone mentioned using a red infrared heat bulb... Help!!!!

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-29
    Pet stores carry red bulbs,  usually in the reptile section. Bulb size will depend on how big your terrarium is, as well as the temperature of the room. You will want to get a thermometer to see how hot it's getting after you add a bulb, then either adjust the temperature by getting a lower or hight wattage bulb, or possibly using a timer so you can limit the amount of time the bulb is on/off.
Reply
Julian constantine - 2010-02-11
In general scorpions are not hermaphroditic but there are several species which are. I live in malaysia and we have plenty of spinifex here. My experience is that these animals are not very aggressive and can be handled, but they do not do very well in captivity unless they are left in peace. A friend of mine has several which live quite happily in his old shoes. They eat more or less anything they can seize hold of including imprudent geckos.

  • andrew - 2010-06-28
    They are not hermaphrodites but females which can produce offspring without a male.. the babies are dna identical to the mother making them clones of the single parent, wiki komodo dragon for a better understanding of animals which can clone themselves.
Reply
Anonymous - 2014-08-10
What temprature do you have your scorpion at guys.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-08-13
    They need a temperature between 75° - 90 °F  with 75-80% humidity.
Reply
Akbar Khan - 2013-04-30
ey there i have 2 asian rainforest scorpions...i keep them in a glass tank which is app 1 and a half feet lenght. I have a heat lamp to generate heat for humidity but the problem is that the tank is not covered thus making the humidty in the tank last for a very short time...any suggestions???

  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-04-30
    You can try adding a aquarium heater to a jar of water.  This can give constant humidity.
  • Akbar Khan - 2013-05-02
    hey thx for the advise...i shall try to get that :)
  • Fadhli Jaffar - 2013-07-09
    Alternatively, you can get a cheap usb air humidifier placed in the tank. They kind of make vapours which cools the surrounding air naturally. It also simulates the morning dew found in the early mornings of the rainforest. So you only need to run the humidifier once a day. One small humidifier holds water to last about an hour, which is just nice enough to moisten the air throughout the day. 
Reply
akbar khan - 2013-04-30
hey there i have 2 asian rainforest scorpions...i keep them in a glass tank which is app 1 and a half feet lenght. I have a heat lamp to generate heat for humidity but the problem is that the tank is not covered thus making the humidty in the tank last for a very short time...any suggestions???

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-05-01
    Nice pets! but it does sound like you need to come up with some sort of cover to contain the humidity. Maybe a piece of glass or acrylic laid on top would work.
Reply

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