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Official H arizonensis thread

Discussion in 'Scorpions' started by pandinus, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. pandinus

    pandinus Arachnoking Old Timer

    Desert hairies seem to be the "in" scorpion right now, and there are numerous threads popping up left and right about them, so i decided to create a write up of the essentials needed for the desert hairy. this is also a thread for people to ask questions, so that there arent 500 desert hairy questions floating around. so here are some basic facts, and feel free to ask any questions after reading

    H. arizonensis is a member of the Caraboctinidae family (moved recently from family Iuridae). It is native to the south western United states including Arizona(duh) Nevada, Utah, and southern california, as well as extending down into mexico. As the common name suggests, this is a xeric scorpion which lives in desert regions in its habitat. while rare on sand dunes it is found in the wild under logs and rocks occasionally, but is typically found in deep burrows which can be in excess of over a foot. this is the largest species of scorpion found in the United states, and is known to reach lengths of up to 14cm(5.5 in). though not particularly toxic and not considered dangerous to a healthy human, the sting is considered to be very painful though as stated not medically significant. The desert hairy is a slow growing scorpion, and has possibly the longest lifespan of any scorpions some specimens having been recorded as living for 25 years. typically these are very defensive scorpions that will sting readily, and according to some literature an excessively irritated specimen is able to spray venom from its acueles, though many experts are somewhat doubtful and this is at the very least an incredibly rare occurence. living in dry arid conditions, this scorpion does not tolerate high humidity, and is highly susceptable to mycosis infections. they are very active scorpions that often intricate burrows and regularly alter and excavate like little bulldozers. while not absolutely mandatory, this is one scorpion that benefits from a larger enclosure, and is much more likely to use the extra space. the author has had the best luck with these scorpions in a 10 gallon tank though many use 5 gallons. in any case, a deep substrate should be provided to allow the scorpion to burrow properly. a good depth is 6-8" of substrate, though the scorpion will go as deep as you let it so feel free to use more. the substrate needs to be able to support burrows without collapsing. several substrates ore used to achieve this stability. the author personaly uses excavator substrate by zoo-med with good success. others recommend packing wet sand tightly, and still others reccomend mixtures of sand and soil or peatmoss packed down tightly. the key to using any substrate is to wet it first and pack it down tightly so it compresses together, but you must be absoultey 100% sure that the substrate is completely dry before introducing the scorpion. these scorpions do well at temperatures between 75-85F, and as with all scorpions, if using a heat mat, never place on the bottom of the enclosure as the scorpion burrows down to escape heat and so will do harm to itself if the heat is placed on the bottom of the tank. water dishes are typically neither required or used, and the scorpion will get the moisture it needs from its food. these scorpions are typically considered to be very aggressive to conspecifics, and are highly cannibalistic by nature. in the wild they are solitary, coming together only to mate. for this reason it is highly reccomended that this species not be kept communaly as the majority of cases where this has been attempted have ended in tragedy. breeding H arizonensis in captivity is a very difficult thing to do. since the adults are very aggressive, many times mating attempts turn ugly. in addition, female desert hairies are particularly notorious for eating their newborns at the slightest disturbance, or sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. another problem that arises is the fact that young desert hairies often times have difficulty molting in captivity, and often times failed molting is fatal. this no doubt is related to the dry well ventilated needs of the desert hairy coming into conflict with the requirement of increased humidity needed for young scorplings to moult properly, and finding the perfect balance has proved to be exceedingly difficult to hobbyists. in addition to a deep substrate, hides should also be provided and the desert hairy will often times begin its burrow underneath a hide, especially if the hide itself is also partially burried. some desert hairies can be persuaded to adopt a pre burrow made by the hobbyist against the glass to encourage the scorpion to burrow alongside the glass so that it is visible at all times.

  2. GartenSpinnen

    GartenSpinnen Arachnoprince Old Timer

    One of my favorites, and i think you hit everything pretty well, however i would just like to state a couple things i have noticed from keeping this species...

    1.) They seem to be more active during cooler periods when it is dark. Usually mine is out strolling around when its around 70 F or so. Also will go into periods where it closes itself off in its burrow not coming out for quite some time.

    2.) From what i have heard from people i know that have bred them is they are not so difficult to breed, but the babies rarely make it past 2I (due to molt issues like you stated above). I would like to test things out a bit and breed 2 pairs, keeping some of the slings in a well ventilated but slightly more humid conditions, and then the others in dry ventilated conditions and see which do better. I have a hunch there is a reason why they go so deep in the ground when they burrow, perhaps the conditions deep underground are what the babies need to properly molt? Just a thought. Too bad we cant find a gravid female in the wild and record the conditions!

    Anyways, thanks for the informative read :D.

  3. Pretty good overview, Bravo!
  4. tryme

    tryme Arachnobaron

    Good thread.
  5. deserthairy

    deserthairy Arachnobaron

    From a scientific stand point, since there is so much emphasis placed on types of substates, what would happen if they were placed on pure playsand that was never wettened and packed down? (With just a hide) Shorter life span, too much stress? Interesting to hear what the difference would be.

    Would be hard to do any kind of test, as far as life span, since all I ever see are wild caught, and no telling how old they are when captured.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  6. deserthairy

    deserthairy Arachnobaron

    I personally know quite a few people that just pour in sand, toss in a hide, and put the hairy in, and they seem to live fine, with never having to worry about collapsed borrows, not seeing them for long periods of time, etc. Maybe I can tell them of any drawbacks, and help them out.
  7. deserthairy

    deserthairy Arachnobaron

    "but is typically found in deep burrows which can be in excess of over a foot"

    Have heard of being in burrows from 12-25 feet deep. (of'course I "hear" alot of things)
  8. Widowman10

    Widowman10 Arachno WIDOW Old Timer

    i doubt a 4" scorp needs a burrow that is 75 times as long as it is. that's a long driveway! :eek: or is that like a person using a bed that is 450 feet long?!
  9. deserthairy

    deserthairy Arachnobaron

    Good one widowman! Not sure, but did see that online somewhere once, but like we know, your subject to see anything online!
  10. tryme

    tryme Arachnobaron

    As this is a specific thread for hairies. I just want to know when you put play sand in should I wet the bottom say 3-4 layers of play sand and then just rest some more inches on top? I know your meant to do it but not sure how, I think i'm on the right lines?
  11. I usually mix sand with excavator or a similar substance with water. I then form it and pack it down the way I want it and let it dry over a day or two. To speed up the process I usually place a heat lamp or two over it to dry it out faster. It really doesn't matter how much water you put in, as long as it is all dry before you introduce the scorp.
  12. Widowman10

    Widowman10 Arachno WIDOW Old Timer

    dan, that is what i do too. mix it, wet it, pack it, heat it, dry it. we don't want mycosis :shame:
  13. tryme

    tryme Arachnobaron

    How does mycosis occur?
  14. To put it simply, mycosis is a fungus that desert scorps can get when they are kept in to moist or humid conditions. It usually forms on the joints and appendages of the scorp looking like small black spots. A lot of the time this will cause the scorps limbs to fall off, and eventually lead to its death.
  15. tryme

    tryme Arachnobaron

    I have seen it just wasn't sure how it happened. Thanks
  16. calum

    calum Arachnoprince

    very good write-up john :)
  17. pandinus

    pandinus Arachnoking Old Timer

    it would be very similar concept to having a cobalt tarantula on a loose shallow substrate, or keeping an arboreal animal in a short container. these animals dig, they burrow its what they are built to do. they are not quite as bad as the pet hole tarantulas that never come out, but these animals still love to dig deep burrows. will the scorpion die if not set up this way and placed on loose sand? no probably not, but you will notice that desert hairies are very seldom found in sand dune areas, simply put because they dont care for them. the inability to create a subterrainian dwelling will create stress for the animal, but as to wether or not this stress will lead to an early death, whose to say for sure. people can do whatever they want with their scorpions but if you choose to keep one on loose sand that cannot support burrowing, be aware that you are depriving the animal of a major part of its natural behavior, as well as causing it stress. the real question is that if its not difficult to create the environment that is the best for your animal, then why wouldnt you want to?

    • Like Like x 1
  18. pandinus

    pandinus Arachnoking Old Timer

    i vaguely recall a record of a burrow that was 5 feet deep and possibly ones of this depth, but could not recall for certain so i picked a safe number
  19. T.ass-mephisto

    T.ass-mephisto Arachnobaron

    wow great thread! i think this is sticky worthy myself.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. deserthairy

    deserthairy Arachnobaron

    just looked through some places I saw diff. depths. Most said 8', one said 20'
    at bugguide. Just didn't want anyone to think I went off the deep end. Not that it's true, just an example of the info out there.

    While searching, did see some H.A. info from 2004 from fusion121 from arachnoboard. Was interseting in the moisture section,in that I had never heard of a layer of vermiculite, used under a layer of sand.