8 Top Scorpion Species Suitable as Pets

Emperor scorpion on rocky soil

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Scorpions may not be cuddly, but they are quite interesting to keep as pets. They are quiet, clean, and fairly low-maintenance. The most common pet scorpions aren’t particularly dangerous, especially compared to other scorpion species. Their stings are likened to those of a bee, though serious anaphylactic reactions can occur in some people. If you’re interested in an unconventional animal experience, here are eight scorpion species that can be kept as pets.

Tip

Handling pet scorpions is not recommended. You might get stung or pinched, and your scorpion might injure itself by running away or falling. If you must move your scorpion, use a pair of long, foam-tipped forceps.

  1. Emperor Scorpion

    For beginners, the most universally recommended scorpion species to keep as a pet is the emperor scorpion. This scorpion is fairly docile, and the venom of its sting only causes a mild, localized reaction in most people. Some say this scorpion is more likely to try to pinch you with its claws than sting you, but it typically won't become aggressive unless it feels threatened.

    Species Overview

    Length: 6 to 8 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Large body; shiny black or dark blue in color; bumpy, broad pincers

  2. Tanzanian Red-Clawed Scorpion

    The Tanzanian red-clawed scorpion is from the same genus as the emperor scorpion, though it is smaller than its popular cousin. It also tends to be more aggressive and willing to sting than the emperor scorpion, so it is not recommended for beginners. But its venom is mild like a bee sting. Red claws can live for around eight years in captivity.

    Species Overview

    Length: 4 to 5 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Black body; rusty red coloring on claws

  3. Malaysian Black Scorpion

    The Malaysian black scorpion is a large, rainforest-dwelling species that is harder to find as a pet than the emperor scorpion. It also is more aggressive than the emperor scorpion and not ideal for beginners. It's prone to using its claws rather than stinging for protection. Its venom is mild, just causing localized pain and inflammation in most cases, which is why people still choose to keep it as a pet.

    Species Overview

    Length: 4 to 5 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Shiny, black body; large claws

  4. Javanese Jungle Scorpion 

    Native to rainforests of Indonesia, the Javanese jungle scorpion can live for five to eight years in captivity. But it is fairly aggressive and territorial. These scorpions are most likely to protect themselves with their strong claws, and they also feature a stinger with mild venom. Unlike many other scorpion species, they can be kept in groups, though some might end up fighting.

    Species Overview

    Length: 4 to 7 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Dark brown or black with a greenish tint; heavy build

  5. Desert Hairy Scorpion 

    Desert hairy scorpions are found in the southwestern United States. As pets, they tend to be skittish but will assume a defensive posture if provoked. Their venom is more potent than that of the emperor scorpion, making a sting quite painful, so they are not recommended for beginners. These scorpions require a desert setup to their housing that includes a layer of coarse sand, as well as a rare misting.

    Species Overview

    Length: 5 to 6 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Tan to olive green coloring; darker back; yellow claws, legs, and tail; brown hairs on tail

  6. Large-Clawed Scorpion

    Large-clawed scorpions prefer to use their powerful claws for defense, and they rarely sting. For most people, their venom is mildly painful but not dangerous. Native to Northern Africa and the Middle East, these scorpions are found in deep burrows in wild deserts. That environment is somewhat difficult to reproduce in captivity, as one must have the appropriate soil depth and moisture content. 

    Species Overview

    Length: 3 inches

    Weight: Less than 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Brown back; golden to reddish-brown claws

  7. Dictator Scorpion

    The dictator scorpion is closely related to the emperor scorpion. It has an impressively large body and powerful pincers. But it’s typically more timid than aggressive around people and will spend much of its time hiding in a burrow. Unlike many scorpions that must be housed individually, the dictator scorpion can coexist with other members of its species, except multiple males might fight.

    Species Overview

    Length: 8 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Dark brown or black body; stocky build; broad pinchers

  8. Asian Forest Scorpion

The Asian forest scorpion looks very similar to the emperor scorpion, though it’s slightly smaller. It can be somewhat aggressive and territorial, and its sting is comparable to that of a hornet. But it’s more likely to defend itself with its claws. This species is fairly hardy and can live up to eight years in captivity.

Species Overview

Length: 4 to 6 inches

Weight: 1 ounce

Physical Characteristics: Dark brown to black body; stocky build

Scorpions to Avoid

Scorpions of the Androctonus genus—commonly known as fat-tailed scorpions—should not be kept as pets. Androctonus means “man killer,” and the stings of these scorpions contain potent neurotoxins that can kill a person. Moreover, scorpions of the Centruroides genus—commonly known as bark scorpions—also can be lethal. And though they are less toxic, scorpions of the Vaejovis genus can have very painful stings.