Friday, September 12, 2014

Parabuthus Transvaalicus Care Sheet

Parabuthus transvaalicus is most commonly known as the South African Spitting scorpion. However, other names are used throughout the world, these include: Black Spitting Thicktail scorpion, South African Fattail scorpion and the South African Giant Fat Tail scorpion.

Regions Found: Southern and Eastern Africa
Class: Desert/scrubland species
Adult Scorpion Size: 5 inches
Temperament:  Very defensive
Claws: Small yet strong pedipalps
Sting Potency:   Severe pain and systemic effects - can be lethal
Parabuthus transvaalicus Housing Requirements
Scorpion Housing: Minimum 5 gallon tank with 4" of sand
Temperature range: 30°C (85°F)
Humidity range: 50%
Special Requirements: Can spray venom over one meter
Parabuthus transvaalicus Breeding
Breeding Difficulty: Difficult

Parabuthus transvaalicus Diet

Feeder choice for scorplings of 2 to 3.instar:
1) Roach nymphs
2) Newly hatched baby crickets ("pinheads")
3) Head-crushed juvenile crickets
4) Ripped-off hind legs of adult crickets ("cricket drumsticks")

Feeder choice for sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 8.instar ):
1) Adult Roaches - 80% of diet
2) Adult Crickets - 18% of diet
3) Meal-worms- 2% of diet

Feeding routine for Scorplings ( 2 to 3.instar ):
- 2  or 3 times per week 
- Size of feeder is recommended to be half or no bigger then the scorpling itself

Feeding routine for sub-adults to Adults ( 4 to 8.instar):
-  Once every 10 days to 14 days
-  Size of feeder can be up to the same body length (mesosoma length) of the scorpion. 
-  When a scorpion is hungry, they will usually not hesistate to take down feeder of up to 1.5 times of their body length or more.

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 Parabuthus transvaalicus
An appropriately sized vivarium/aquarium
Heating equipment ie heat lamps, heat mats and thermostats
Large shallow water dish
Decorations and hiding places

Water supply:

- Just because they are able to adapt themselves to the desert living conditions by obtaining their water supply from their feeders, it does not mean that they would not appreciate clean drinking water offered in a dish
- Bear in mind that even the desert has occasional rainfalls and morning dews that they can drink from the crevices in within the rocks
-  Be it a shallow water dish or simple a light mist on the enclosure's wall, make it a point to offer them water once in awhile.

Water supply for juvenile to sub-adults
- A single side of the enclosure's wall can be misted lightly once every 1 - 2 weeks
- With good ventilation (such as a secured mesh lid), the water mist should evaporate completely within 24hrs

Sample of the quantity of suggested misting:

Water supply for adults
- A water dish may be provided and filled once every 10 days or every 2 weeks

Hide/ Shelter:
- Provision of at least a piece of flat slate / bark is highly recommended
- Minimum size of the hide is to be able to provide full body coverage, thus allowing the scorpion to find solitude in darkness for a sense of security.
- Prolonged period of stress may shorten their lifespan.

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Size of enclosure for adult specimen
Adults desert specimens are being upgraded to 30cm x 16cm x 24cm glass tanks. This is the minimum size i used for a single adult specimen or at most, for a mating pair of adult specimens. Sample as follows:

pictures from

Molting concerns:
Whenever you are expecting a molt, do not leave feeders overnight in the same enclosure with your scorpion. While a scorpion is going through a molt, she loses her defensive "Armour" (exoskeleton) with the birth of a new "skin", hence making them very vulnerable at this point of time.

Optimal enclosure settings for a gravid female:
- Once you are sure of your female being gravid, it is best to remove any other specimens which may be residing in the same setup
- Try to ensure a temperature gradient in the brooding enclosure with one side of the tank being hotter than the other. 
- The "hotter" area can be achieved with a infra-red heat lamp
- A water dish may be placed at the cooler side.
- Increase the humidity slightly higher than usual
- While we will like to fatten up a gravid female, my advice is not to have more than 2 feeders left uneaten at any point of time
- An alternative hide on the substrate can be provided at different location, thus allowing the scorpion a choice to shift and regulate the required temperature/ humidity

Gestation period:
- Gestation period may be different in species and are affected by the enclosure settings that we provide for the gravid scorpion. 
- On average it ranges from 8 to 12 months for desert scorpions 

During Birthing:
- On average, the duration for the scorpion mum to successfully give births to her brood within 6 hrs
- During this period, disturbance to the scorpion (e.g. photography) is not advisable
- To ensure the scorpion mum is delivering her babies in a stress-free environment, the four side-walls of the enclosure are covered (e.g. with cupboards) leaving the scorpion mum in darkness (With ample top ventilation)