Heterometrus swammerdami

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This is a specific care sheet for Indian Giant Forest Scorpions (Heterometrus swammerdami), for more in this genus see Category:Heterometrus.

Species Information Bar
Indian Giant Forest Scorpion care sheet
Heterometrus swammerdami
An adult Indian giant forest scorpion
An adult Indian giant forest scorpion
Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Chelicerata

Class: Arachnida

Subclass: Dromopoda

Order: Scorpiones

Suborder: Neoscorpiones

Family: Scorpionidae

Subfamily: Scorpioninae

Genus: Heterometrus

Species: H. swammerdami

Heterometrus swammerdami more commonly known as the Indian Giant Forest Scorpion. A contender with the Emperor Scorpion for the title of the worlds largest scorpion. The Guiness book of World Records claims a Heterometrus swammerdami specimen caught in India as the world's largest scorpion measuring in at a huge 9 inches (23 cm). Indian Giant Forest Scorpions range from India westward throughout the tropical rainforests of southern Asia and Malaysia. They differ from Emperor scorpions in their greater aggressiveness and readiness to assume a defensive posture and protect themselves by using their pedipalps and sting. Also, they are notably quicker, running in rapid short spurts. Fortunately the reaction to their venom is only slightly more uncomfortable than that of an Emperor Scorpion.
Scorpion Information (for a more detailed Scorpion care review see Scorpion Care Sheet
Key Information Bar
Regions Found: Southern Asia and Malaysia
Class: Terrestrial species
Longevity: 5-8 years in captivity and 3-7 years in the wild.
Adult Scorpion Size: 20+ cm
Temperament: Aggressive
Claws: Strong pedipalps
Sting Potency: Not lethal to humans - comparitive to a bee sting
Heterometrus swammerdami Housing Requirements
Scorpion Housing: Minimum 6 gallon glass tank with 6-7cm (4 inches) of substrate such as peat-free compost covered with orchid bark chippings.
Temperature range: 24-28°C (75.2-82.4°F)
Humidity range: 60 - 80%
Special Requirements: Suitable for groups and can be housed communally
Heterometrus swammerdami Breeding
Breeding Difficulty: Average to difficult
Birth Size: Average of 12
Danger to Male: Low
Heterometrus swammerdami Diet
A scorpions diet should consist mainly of livefood insects such as crickets, locust, butter worms, meal worms, superworms, houseflies and cockroaches.
Recommended Pet Supplies for Heterometrus swammerdami

Indian giant forest scorpion habitat[edit]

Indian giant forest scorpion sub-adults

The Indian Giant Forest Scorpion should be provided with an enclosure of atleast 6 gallons in volume due to it's sheer size and bulk. Vertical room is not really a priority as they prefer to stay at ground level. Floor space is important to allow places for your scorpion to explore, and an improvised shelter such as a hollow log or a decorative cave used in aquariums should also be included.

Substrates for indian giant forest scorpions[edit]

Heterometrus are forest species that come from Africa and Asia and require warm, humid conditions. A deep layer (6-7cm) of peat-free compost should be placed in the terrarium, this can be covered with orchid bark chippings. The substrate should be sprayed with water every day or so but never to a degree that it becomes very wet. Care should be taken that the substrate does not become mouldy or covered in fungus.

Temperature for indian giant forest scorpions[edit]

Temperature and humidity equipment

This species requires temperature ranges of between 24-28°C (75.2-82.4°F). A temperature gradient is important to allow the scorpion to regulate their body temperature as needed. The easiest way to provide the gradient is by using a heating mat designed for use under reptile tanks. This should be placed under no more than about 1/3 of the tank, so your pet can move from warmer to cooler temperatures if desired. However, to ensure the temperatures are being provided you should monitor them by using accurate thermometers in a few locations within the enclosure.

Humidity for indian giant forest scorpions[edit]

They should be kept in a humid environment of between 60-80%, and this can be achieved by providing a shallow water dish and misting regularly as necessary. To successfully maintain the desired humidity conditions for your Indian Giant Forest Scorpion you are going to need a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a device used to measure relative humidity within the enclosure.

Feeding Indian giant forest scorpions[edit]

Indian giant forest scorpion moulting[edit]

One of the most common reasons for the death in scorpions is the moult. 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 moult. Scorpions will moult from 6 to 10 times during their lifetime. This moulting process takes a lot of energy and they are very vulnerable for a couple of days after the moult until their new skin hardens. For about 24 hours prior to moulting it is not unusual for a scorpion to get quite sluggish. A difficult moult 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 moulting process.

Indian giant forest scorpion ailments[edit]

Scorpions are generally quite hardy and adaptable if they are provided with the correct 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.

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.

Breeding Indian giant forest scorpions[edit]

A pair of Indian giant forest scorpions mating

Heterometrus is a fairly easy genus to breed in captivity and wild caught females are often gravid. Prepare a habitat able to house two scorpions for at least 1 week, providing a flat surface for your scorpions' courtship. This can be a rock, slate tile or broken crockery. Introduce the male and female scorpion in the enclosure and allow them to settle. It may take some time however mating will occur when the male and female scorpion are both ready; a courtship dance will take place between the mating pair before the male scorpion locks his chelae with the female scorpion's chelae and leads the female with rhythmic manoeuvres. It may seem as if the scorpions are fighting; mating involves them grasping each other’s pincers and moving back and forth.

Indian giant forest scorpion mating dance[edit]

Scorpion spermatophore

During the mating dance the male scorpion will deposit his spermatophore on the provided flat surface. He will then manoeuvre the female scorpion over it so she can take it into her genital opening. Once you have noticed that the female has grown larger due to pregnancy is a good idea to remove the male scorpion and place him into another enclosure. Keeping your pregnant female scorpion in her own, adequately maintained tank ensures minimal disturbance during pregnancy and birthing. Stress can severely upset scorpion pregnancies and can even result in cannibalism when the offspring are born.

Indian giant forest scorpion birthing[edit]

Indian giant forest scorplings

Birth takes place after around 9 months for most scorpions; however this can be affected by several factors such as species, temperature and feeding. It is important to be patient and not stress out the female scorpion during this period but to keep a look out for birthing. Newly birthed, scorpions are almost colourless and will quickly climb onto their mothers' back. Often the female will not feed until the young have moulted into 2nd instar. It will take about a week or two, depending on temperature for the 1st instar to moult. At this time it is most important to maintain the humidity, through misting and keeping the substrate moist.

Once the scorplings moult into 2nd instar and leave the mother’s back you can separate the babies from the adults, creating a similar habitat for them as for the adults. Raising the young in the adult tank may deal no problems however it is still possible that they will be cannibalised by the larger scorpions.

After the young have moved on, the mother scorpion will start to feed again so begin to offer her plenty of food in order to replenish herself and regain lost weight.

Raising Indian giant forest scorplings[edit]

Indian giant forest scorplings

After the young moult and leave the mother you can separate them into smaller enclosures. You can keep the young of Heterometrus together without problems as they are not the cannibalistic type as many Buthids. Provide the essential deep moist substrate, large shallow water dish hiding places such as cork bark or up turned plant pot. The scorplings will now be hungry so begin to offer them something to eat such as pinhead crickets or sliced up adults crickets, and other small insects.

See also[edit]