Feeding Scorpions - What's the go? - Mark Newton

Feeding scorpions - what's the go?


Something that has come to my attention on the various FB invert groups is the feeding aspect which I'll discuss here, feel free to post your feelings on the matter or ask questions etc.


Firstly, let me explain a little about scorpion metabolism. Scorpions have very low metabolisms, which means they use very little energy, especially while resting which is known as the basal metabolism. In wild conditions scorpions normally rest for probably around 95% of their time or more, this is especially true of sit-n-wait predators such as Urodacus. Research has shown that even one small feed will still be digesting into usable sugars after one month. This adaptation is one of the major factors that allows scorpions to produce live offspring, they use so little energy themselves that the vast majority of energy they take up can be used in reproduction, i.e. larger and possibly more young at birth, although the latter is more age dependent.


Reactions to food.

A scorpion will let you know how hungry it is by the way it reacts to food. A very hungry scorpion will rapidly grab prey, even chase it down and just about always sting the prey, in contrast a well fed scorpion that doesn't require more food will be slow to react and rarely sting its prey unless of course it's so big it has no choice. If your scorpion is slow to react or shows no interest in food then it means it doesn't require more. If you want your scorpion to eat more often, feed it much smaller sized food items.


Who needs more food and who doesn't?

A gravid adult female is the greatest food consumer of all as most of this energy will go to embryonic development, but what about adult males and juveniles? Adult males require the least amount of food as they will do absolutely next to nothing until it's time to disperse and find a female and the last thing they want is obesity issues when traveling what is to them a great distance. Juveniles will consume as much as they can until it's ecdysial preparation time. This means that if you have a juvenile scorpion and it ceases to eat it needs to STOP eating. Ecdysis might be hampered if the scorpion continues to eat as digestive processes may interfere with ecdysis - follow what the scorpion is telling you, don't try to force it to do what you think it should do.


Ecdysis

Ecdysis is the period of time it takes from the time the scorpion ceases eating to the time it has molted and its cuticle has hardened - this time is critical. If your keeping conditions are not suitable the scorpion will cease eating as expected but never shed its skin and when the season changes it will once again begin eating to hopefully have a successful molt the next year. When your juvenile scorpion is reacting slowly to food it's a signal to you that it's now time to leave the scorpion to seal itself off for at least 3 months, possibly up to 6 months where it must NOT be disturbed. If you lift a rock etc you will break the seal allowing air of a different humidity into its ecdysial cell...this may cause the scorpion issues and it may die during the ecdysial process. A good way to give your scorpion a cell to shed in is to place it inside a small vial with a a little soil and a couple of drops of water added to the soil, it must be air tight. Place the vial under bark or something that keeps it dark and undisturbed, this way you can lift the bark every month or so to check if it looks ok.


Most people who keep scorpions overfeed them.

I would feed adult gravid females about one cricket per week during the warm months and next to nothing or nothing over winter months, adult males one cricket per month and juveniles as much as they will accept until they show signs of waning responses at which time it's best to cease feeding altogether and hope for a successful ecdysis (3-6 months).


Remember to watch the scorpion's reaction to food, it's the signal you need.


If you want to know more, read my book: A Guide to Keeping Australian Scorpions in Captivity.


A Guide to Keeping Australian Scorpions in Captivity: Mark A Newton

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