pugnax (Gravid Female)
There are over 59
known species of Opistopthalmus spread all over Southern Africa.
known as "Burrowing Scorpions" because they are
often found in burrows in sands of varying hardness
(depending on the species).
This is a
fairly large robust genus of scorpion reaching lengths of
18cm+. Opistopthalmus are characterised as having large fat
pincers (not all males) and a relatively thin tail (when
compared to size of pincers). Opistopthalmus
use their mouthparts (chelicerae) to dig their burrows that can
be as deep as 2m in some species.
They also use their
mouthparts as a defence mechanism, to stridulate (making a
This genus of scorpion has very
colourful species within it. Opistophthalmus almost always seem
to have a "shine" on their body.
can be quite varied in different species.
- Males are generally
smaller and more slender than females and their pincers are more
slender than those of their female counterparts.
- In some
species the males have very long slender pincers.
- The tail
segments in males also tend to be longer than that of their
KEEPING OPISTOPHTHALMUS IN CAPTIVITY
a) Cage setup
thrive in a Burrowing Setup with a sandy substrate and a
piece of bark or a rock to hide under.
Opistophthalmus burrow and so would
best be kept on some type of hard
soil. You could use a piece of bark
or rock for them to hide under.
you want to go the more "natural"
look and If your enclosure is large
enough and your substrate deep
enough, you could mix the sand with
some water and then leave in the sun
until it dries out and goes hard.
You could then "start" a burrow by
pressing 3 fingers next to each
other into the soil at an angle. I
have found that if you start a
burrow, Opistophthalmus species
generally finish it. Bear in mind
though, once they burrow, you will
not see them very often, generally
only at night. Keep in mind that
scorpions can press on their tail to
lift themselves up, so your
enclosure height should be much
higher than the total length (from
pincers to sting on tail) of your
A few rocks to
provide cover is preferable.
High 20's - low
30's will suffice as a heat source (check the
maximum temperature the heat pad achieves first). If
it goes into high 30's then you might want to
control the temperature via a thermostat. I would
turn the heating on during the day and off at night.
You can decide whether you want to keep the heating
on permanently during winter or not.
e) Water source
For instar (baby)
Opistophthalmus scorpions you can simply (using a fine
spray) spray water onto one side of the enclosure
once a week. For adult scorpions you can
provide a small flat dish for water.
When it comes to feeding, I would say feeding once
every second week will suffice. Quantity will depend
on the size of the scorpion.
Opistophthalmus scorpions can
be quite feisty. They will sting and pinch if
provoked. Their venom is mild and non
life-threatening. The correct way to handle a
scorpion is ALWAYS use a long set of tweezers or
South Africa, it is illegal to capture and keep
Opistophthalmus species without a permit.