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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.
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 Scorpiondoes 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.
Lennie W. Collins - 2007-07-14 I have owned 2 of these. The one I have currently is a 2 inch female (not including the tail). She has pinched me once. It was a hard pinch. I have held her numerous times and she has not yet made an effort to sting me. She is skittish at first but soon settles down. If you have an chance to get one GET IT. In my own personal opinion if you want something more "unpredictable" than an emperor scorpion this is it. I am not going to lie to you, they can and will sting if mishandled. But from what I heard from a friend of mine, it is more discomfort that actual pain!
waqas khanm - 2014-10-18 Respected sir i need some black scorpions it may be asian forest scorpions or emperor scorpions in bulk but in start i need a scarce (50) pieces my requirements are as follows: 1: only those suppliers contact me who are serious in this business and take my order to pakistan and come along personally with my order. 2: i will give 1 million US dollers for 50 pieces also with the supplier coming expenses here like(air fright,shipping cost,food cost,transportation cost etc) 3: Payment procedure depend on supplier (cash,paypal,webmoney,forex,bank to bank) are possible and according to supplier desired area or any where in pakistan. 2: there weight must be 300+ gram if increase from it so very good but not less from 300 gram. 3: they must be healthy and naturally venomious. 4: they must be arrived alive not dead. 5: i need it in pakistan. waiting for your kind reply thanks . .. . Waqas khan Contact number : 00923155288895 email address: email@example.com islamabad pakistan.
brandon - 2015-02-09 i think thats what mine is but not sure i need help trying to figure out and need to know how to take care ofbut the only thing i know is shes female can someone help me
Brandon - 2015-02-09 i think this is what mine is but i dont know its the only scorpion that match it can u help
Mark weller - 2016-05-17 I have recently got an Asian forest scorpion, and I've been handling him since he was a few weeks old.. I don't find him aggressive in any way shape or form.
Coty Lowe - 2016-05-16 Just recently got my scorpion and I can tell its older and absolutely does not like being handled lol. I just moved with him and I think the change messed up his appetite. Took him over a week to eat and he hasn't came out of his house in a couple days but he's alive. Wondering if he's molting or sick? No sign of mites from what I can see
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.
Jeff - 2015-03-04 I have a 15 gallon aquarium and a 15 gallon tank with for one male Malaysian forest scorpion. I personally only use a 25 watt heat lamp. It puts out the perfect heat in combination with my heating pad. His aquarium is at around 80-85 degrees while the lamp is on, and humidity is sustained through the misting of the coconut fiber floor as well as piles of wet moss.