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My first scorpion colony - Centruroides sculpturatus

Discussion in 'Scorpions' started by crlovel, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

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    I picked up 15 Arizona bark scorpions some months back. Considering the distribution and varied habitat, I did not put them in a desert setup, but a wooded one. As babies need humidity, I put in a good deep substrate, varying between three inches and six or so inches, and tons of bark and hiding areas.

    The 20 gallon long tank is heated with two external stick-on heaters, one on the side, one on the bottom. Temperature is maintained at between 78 and 82, and humidity varies in the tank - 80 and up in the soil, 40 and up in the upper area. It all depends on when I last poured a bottle of water into the tank. The soil is kept moist at the lower levels - I want humidity for the young, and places for adults to go to escape it as needed.

    The sloped up back is filled with cork bark and tunnels, holding up the dirt. You can see behind one of them - plenty of hiding areas. The skull is a real deer skull, also offering hiding areas for the young. Plenty of leaf and bark litter also help maintain humidity while offering hides for young and prey. The pine cone to the side is like a condominium from Hell - it's filled with babies down in the leaves.

    Crickets are ALWAYS kept in the tank, to help prevent cannibalism. If I don't see crickets, I add some more tiny and small ones. Some of the crickets have grown to the point where they have laid eggs in the soil, as well. Crickets are fed as needed, Flukers orange, to prevent them from preying on baby scorpions, and to keep them healthy. There are also isopods in the tank, not sure which species, but they do their jobs.

    So far, I've had at least seven broods, that I've seen. Chances are, I've had a few I missed. My initial 15 has grown to a population somewhere between 75 and 100. I don't separate mothers with babies, but leave them to do their thing. Eventually, I expect to up my 20L to a 55 gallon setup.

    ETA: I periodically very carefully use an endocam and take a peek in the tunnels and hides. Attached are four pics I just took, showing two different mothers with broods, and a few randoms. At the moment, I have at least one other mother with a brood, also.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  2. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Beautiful setup and a great way to keep everyone together! I assume those pieces of bark to the left give the larger individuals good molting spots? The little ones can molt basically anywhere in there. Really liking the idea of the pinecone, I may have to include one in future communal enclosures...
     
  3. Esherman81

    Esherman81 Arachnoknight Active Member

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    So pretty :) I always dream of a set up like that :)
     
  4. RTTB

    RTTB Arachnoprince Active Member

    Great set up!
     
  5. sr20det510

    sr20det510 Arachnoknight

    Looks awesome.
    Must be fun checking out the scrips evert chancestors you get
     
  6. CWilson1351

    CWilson1351 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Great looking enclosure!
     
  7. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

  8. Inverts4life1

    Inverts4life1 Arachnosquire

    That looks fantastic, I'm really looking forward to when I finally get my Centruroides communal tanks going.......soon I keep telling myself...soon.
     
  9. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    Another female with a brood of babies spotted, next to another obviously gravid female! This makes the eighth confirmed female to have a brood, but more likely the ninth or tenth, as I'm sure I've missed a few.

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    Also, I've heard multiple times how "desert species (tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes) don't drink." Untrue. The other photo attached shows one of my Arizona Bark Scorpions drinking from the soil. As soon as I "made it rain" in their tank, it rushed out of a hide for water. This was the only photo I took - all over the tank, other scorpions, adults and babies alike, exhibited similar behavior, emerging from hides and from under leaves to go to moist spots and drops on the leaves.

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  10. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    Yes - there are cork bark hides and tunnels all over the terrarium. There are plenty of good warm humid spots for all of them to molt. The skulls (both real) also offer numerous hides for the babies. The adults can't fit in either of them.
     
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  11. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    As rapidly as they are breeding, I'm already planning on upgrading my 20 long to a 55 gallon by the end of the year. I'm not sure how many are in the 20 right now - but with somewhere between eight and ten broods, all the babies, the adults, I think I've gone from 15 to possibly in the neighborhood of a 100 or so. I have not witnessed any cannibalism, except for one occasion in a fight over a cricket where one of the original adults was stung to death, nor have I witnessed any dead scorpions. That being said, the one that died in the food fight was eaten and gone within a few hours, and the isopods are also hard at work doing their thing. I have no way of telling how many are surviving. The ones I see, however, are thriving.
     
  12. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    What isopod species are you using?
     
  13. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    Honestly, no idea, I found them in cultures at a herp show. They're a tiny tropical species. The baby scorpions seem to be enjoying them, too.
     
  14. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    I just took my Arizona bark scorpion colony (C. sculpturatus) to the next level. This colony started with 15 or so adults in a 10 gallon, just this past October, then quickly moved to a 20 when they started breeding, almost immediately. They outgrew the 20 when I realized, after around 18 separate broods that I knew of, that I had, probably, somewhere between 200 and 350 scorpions in the terrarium.

    Yesterday, I went out to pick up a 40 gallon Zilla, but found instead a 50 gallon breeder "low boy" - 24" wide, 48" long, 10" high. They're not a burrowing species, I wasn't greatly concerned about the soil depth. They prefer going inside of, or under, things.

    Everyone transferred from the 20 into several tubs. I was moving the cork hides and skulls and leaves (using long prongs, my wife's long spoon, and long forceps, NOT my bare hands), not really individual scorpions. I have tons of cork bark hides - I saw maybe a 100 scorpions, far from the amount I'm pretty positive is in there. Also found were three more females carrying babies, and several more gravid females. Most were hiding in the cork bark tubes and crevices, or in the skulls. I saw THOUSANDS of molts, and only two bodies. I did see one baby scorpion, 2i or 3i, snacking on another baby it had gotten mid-molt. When I had started the 20, I added an isopod culture. I had countless isopods. Turn over leaves, lift bark, and there they were, doing their jobs. After I got the bulk of the scorpions transferred, I carefully sifted and moved the dirt with my tools, uncovered a ton of babies. The dirt and whoever was still in the bark and leaves remaining were CAREFULLY poured into the 50, and then sifted again, so no one was buried (hopefully). Then I added the bark, skulls, etc, and then more dirt again, which was sifted.

    I'm not sure what the cannibalism rate is in the tank. The one baby eating another baby was the first time I'd seen it, but I know it wasn't the first. That being said, every Tuesday, I pour in 10 dozen crickets. During yesterday's move, I saw not a single cricket.

    I added two 50-60 gallon substrate heaters, one on either side of the terrarium, and on top of that is a layer of peat moss and coconut fiber, which has always served me well. The dirt layer is anywhere from 2" to 4" deep. Again - not a burrowing species. Depth wasn't important. On top of the dirt layer is a layer of finely ground mulch, and then a layer of dried leaves. There are tons of cork bark tubes, a huge pine cone, two real skulls, plastic terrarium plants, and two huge sheets of cork bark. Plenty for them to squeeze into, underneath of, etc. Plenty of tiny hides for babies to escape adults.

    The top of the Zilla is the usual sliding screen, lip-in-lip design, that locks. I purchased from Lowe's Hardware ($36 for both) two sheets of acrylic, which they cut to size, and placed this on top of the screen, on the edge. This will help retain humidity, which, desert species aside, is still present in burrows and helpful for successful molts. I do keep a thermometer and humidity gauge in the terrarium, to ensure it's not overboard. Generally, the temperature is in the 75 - 80 region, varying, and the humidity is between 30 and 70, depending on when it last "rained." humidity is significantly higher in deeper areas.

    And finally, some photos!

    Female with a brood. There's another female with a brood in this cork tube, but she's not showing up in the pic. Plenty of others, though.

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    Down a cork tube, as best I could:

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    A few pics taken during setup:

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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  15. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnosquire Active Member

    Wow, that is an amazing setup! I'd love to have something like that one day.
     
  16. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    At some point this week, I'm going to pull the plastic plants and seed the tank with grass and clover.
     
  17. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    Tried to post a video...failed.
     
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  18. CWilson1351

    CWilson1351 Arachnobaron Active Member

    So I started looking into isopods when I was considering a bioactive setup for my snake, however since things are much different with scorpions I wanted to ask someone with experience. What species of isopods do you think are a good choice for such a setup? I don't plan on my communal growing to the size of yours, but to have a nice self sustaining environment would be much better long term. Well, self sustaining aside from the addition of crickets as a food source. What do you think of using springtails? I know they are great at helping break down detritus, but I wasn't sure if they'd be any trouble in the enclosure.
     
  19. crlovel

    crlovel Arachnopeon

    I could not begin to tell you how many springtails are in my setup. Thousands. Turn over a piece of cork or dig a little and there they are. I find them very helpful. No idea what kind they are, I bought a few cultures at a herp show and added them in. They're tropical - and I know, Arizona Barks are not - but I keep enough humidity in the terrarium that they thrive.
     
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