Emperor Scorpion Fact File

Pandinus imperator

Credit: Public Domain








Wild 5-8 years

Captive 5-8 years




Conservation Status


Not Evaluated

Meet the Mega Scorpion!

The emperor scorpion is among the world's largest species of scorpion. They grow to a total length of up to 20cm (7.9in) long.

These animals are carnivores which make use of their large claws and venomous sting to subdue invertebrates on which they can feed.

Females carry their young on their back for a period of time before they go out on their own.

They are threatened by a number of small mammals, birds and larger invertebrates.

Read on to learn more about these incredible invertebrates.


What does the Emperor Scorpion look like?

As one of the largest scorpions in the world the emperor scorpion may reach lengths of up to 20cm (7.9in) long and weighs in at an average 30g (1oz). They have 8 legs one on each segment of the body. The body is colored black. When placed under ultraviolet light they will fluoresce blue or green.

The tail, known as the metasoma, curves back over the body and is tipped with the stinger. This stinger is red in color.

At the front of the body is a pair of large pincers which are colored a reddish-black.


How does the Emperor Scorpion survive in its habitat?

Across the tail this species has a number of small hairs. These are used to help them detect the location of their prey.

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What does the Emperor Scorpion eat?

Emperor Scorpions are carnivorous. The majority of their prey is insects with mice and small lizards also eaten. They can slow down their metabolism to allow them to go for up to a year without eating. All of their water needs can be obtained from their food.

Young scorpions rely on their stinger to immobilise prey while adults prefer to grab prey with their pincers and crush it.

Learn more about the Emperor Scorpion in this video from Animal Wonders Montana on YouTube


Where do you find the Emperor Scorpion?

Africa is the native home of the emperor scorpion. Here it can be found throughout Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.


Where can the Emperor Scorpion survive?

They make their burrows within rainforest and tropical savanna areas. They dig their burrows in to soil or under rocks, logs, termite mounds and tree roots.

Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)

Credit: Public Domain


How does the Emperor Scorpion produce its young?

Mating occurs year-round but peaks when the temperatures are warm. When a pair meet, the male will take the female by the pincers and move her around with him. Once he finds a suitable spot he will deposit a spermatophore. He will then pull the female over the top of this where she moves it in to her genital aperture.

It will take a seven to nine-month gestation before the scorpions are born. The mother gives birth to live young who spend the first few weeks of life living on her back. At birth, they are white in color and measure just 12.77mm (½ in) long. As many as 35 young can be born at one time.

As they grow they moult their old skin replacing it with a new one. This gradually darkens from white to black as they grow.

Young may live together for an extended period as they have safety from being in a group.

Sexual maturity is achieved at 4 months old.


What does the Emperor Scorpion do during its day?

Emperor scorpions are nocturnal. They hunt at night. Because of their poor eyesight, they rely upon their sensory hairs to determine where their prey is. Their day is spent in the burrow. Up to 15 scorpions may share the same burrow.

Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)

Credit: Karsten Hölscher, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What stops the Emperor Scorpion from surviving and thriving?

Predators of the emperor scorpion include bats, birds, spiders, small mammals, centipedes, lizards and larger scorpions.

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Quick facts

Emperor scorpions are popular exotic pets.

Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)

Credit: Rosa Pineda, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Li, C. and S. Parikh 2011. “Pandinus imperator” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 23, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pandinus_imperator/

Seaworld.org. 2020. Emperor Scorpion Facts And Information | Seaworld Parks & Entertainment. [online] Available at: <https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/arthropods/emperor-scorpion/> [Accessed 23 April 2020].

Oregon Zoo. 2020. Common Emperor Scorpion. [online] Available at: <https://www.oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/common-emperor-scorpion> [Accessed 23 April 2020].

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Credit: Under License

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Similar Species

Striped Scorpion (Centruroides vittatus)
Malaysian forest scorpion

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