The emperor scorpion, the largest scorpion in the world! Is it as deadly as its size might suggest?


Photo credit: Rob CHM Oudejans

It’s stronger than us: we like to know if there are creatures capable of challenging our imagination, whether by their size, their shape or their behavior. Are some scorpions capable of terrorizing us with their appearance? We are not equal in the face of the terror that these animals can inspire in us, but what would you say if you were faced with a scorpion measuring 26 centimeters long and weighing 50 grams?

Yes, it really exists… Well, it’s not common. It most often measures 15 cm and weighs 25 g. The largest specimens are the females who are expecting babies.

An imposing scorpion

This scorpion is called Pandinus imperator, or the emperor scorpion.

It is black in color, its shell adorned with greenish reflections to make it look prettier. Its pincers are large and very powerful.

This scorpion can move very quickly but over short distances: like all scorpions, it has little endurance.

Like the others, it reacts to threats and disturbances in its environment by trying to scare by raising its tail.

Scorpion poison: not that dangerous….

Scorpion poison is a peptide called scorpin. It is harmless to humans. But the sting can be extremely painful, especially when the scorpion has the maximum measurements. But unlike many other scorpions, the emperor scorpion rarely uses its sting. It is the young who use it the most.

In reality, emperor scorpions rely more on their physical strength and particularly that of their pincers. Ultimately, it is only in fierce battles that they use their venomous stinger.

If you had to get stung, it would hurt, but that’s all. At most we risk an allergy. And the wound can become infected. This is why it is always preferable to get medical advice. But no human death has been associated with this scorpion to date.

Where is the emperor scorpion found?

It is native to tropical forests from western to central Africa, from Mauritania to Congo-Zaire.

Like most scorpions, emperors are nocturnal hunters. They come out of their shelter at night in search of prey: insects, spiders, other small invertebrates and sometimes small rodents.

It is rare for a scorpion to live in groups: but this is the case of the emperor scorpion which can live in colonies of 15 individuals.

Calms you…

The emperor scorpion is not aggressive and only attacks members of its own species if it lacks food.

Furthermore, his imposing measurements worked to his disadvantage. It is sought after by collectors. It is therefore today on the verge of extinction and you will ultimately have little chance of encountering it in Africa.

Want one at home?

Animals are better off in their natural environment, even if they are scorpions. But if you’re stronger than you and you’re fascinated by these animals, you need to make sure that you’re buying a scorpion legally, from an authorized breeder.

You will need a tropical soil terrarium. You will need to give it thick litter because this scorpion digs deep galleries. It will do well at a temperature of 26-28°C during the day, and 20-24°C at night. You must also be careful to reproduce the humidity of your original tropical forest and maintain it at a humidity of 75 to 90%.

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