The desert hairy scorpion is a fossorial scorpion species native to Northern Mexico and the Southern United States. It’s commonly kept as a pet due to its large size and docile nature.
If you’re a big fan of westerns, chances are you’ve seen a Desert Hairy Scorpion on the screen. These arachnids are famous for being the largest scorpion in North America. They’re also very enduring and peaceful, so it’s not too difficult to take care of one as a pet.
If you’re thinking about getting a Desert Hairy Scorpion for your collection, we’ve gathered all the information you need to see if it’s the best fit for you.
Desert Hairy Scorpion Care Sheet
|Name of Species||Hadrurus arizonensis|
|Common names||Desert Hairy Scorpion|
|Native location||Mexico, United States|
|Weight||0.14 to 0.25 oz|
|Size||4 to 6 inches|
|Lifespan||Females 20+ years / Males 7 to 10 years|
|Minimum tank size||5 to 10 gallons|
Overview of the Desert Hairy Scorpion
The Hadrurus arizonensis gets its scientific name from Arizona, where it’s mainly found. It’s also found in Southern Nevada, the Colorado Desert, the Mojave Desert, and the desert lands of Northern Mexico.
It receives the name Desert Hairy Scorpion, but it’s also called the Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion due to its size. Additionally, it gets the name Arizona Hairy Scorpion thanks to its primary natural habitat.
The DHS is a fossorial scorpion, which means it enjoys burrowing deeply. A natural diet for a DHS includes same-size invertebrates, lizards, and small mammals. Other scorpions are also a usual part of their diet, so they’re not suited to living in a community.
The largest scorpion in North America is named Desert Hairy Scorpion because of the erect hairs it displays over its tail.
As for the body, they show earthy colors ranging from olive green to tan brown. Their back is of darker color, and the pedipalps, tail, and pincers are usually yellow.
Male and female specimens are very similar, with the females being slightly bulkier and males having larger pincers.
Desert Hairy Scorpions are some of America’s most common and available exotic pets. You can get younger specimens for around $30, and adults can usually be found for $40-$50; however, one of these can cost about $65 in Europe due to the fact that they’re not found in this region.
Behavior and Temperament
The Desert Hairy Scorpion doesn’t fare well under direct sunlight. It can be lethal to them, so they’ll run and hide as soon as they can to get away from the light.
Sometimes they’ll even burrow into the sand to avoid being harmed by the sunlight.
They’re nocturnal animals, so you’ll see them out most of the time during the night. They’re also rather shy and peaceful and will only attack if they feel cornered. This makes them excellent for handling if you’re careful not to startle or drop them.
Caring for a Desert Hairy Scorpion
Temperature and Humidity
The Desert Hairy Scorpion is most comfortable in low humidity and high temperatures because that’s what they’re used to in their natural habitat. Keep their enclosure at 75°F to 80°F; use a tank heater if you need so to achieve this goal. Make sure that you place any supplemental heating on the side rather than the bottom or top of their enclosure so that the scorpion can move away or closer to the heat as desired.
Humidity levels in the Arizona and Nevada desert roam at a 35% average, dropping as low as 19% in June. It’s difficult to reproduce these conditions in captivity, so 30% to 50% humidity should be fine as long as you treat your substrate correctly.
The right substrate is very important for Desert Hairy Scorpions.
They need soft soil to burrow, but it also needs to be dry for them to be comfortable. However, if you make your substrate too soft, it won’t be able to support the small burrows and they’ll cave in, burying the scorpion in the process.
The safest substrate you’ll find commercial brands of excavator clay. You may mix excavator clay with sand in different proportions. Recommended proportions range from 20% (clay) – 80% sand, up to a 50-50 setup.
Try to adapt it until you feel it’s soft enough to burrow while being stable and sturdy to support the tunnels.
For the mixing process, you should wet the sand and the clay with water to mix and stack them well. Push it down into the enclosure until it’s compact, as this will provide extra stability to the burrows.
Once this process is over, let it dry for a few days before letting the scorpion in, and the result will be an ideal substrate for your DHS. Make this at least four to five inches deep and your DHS will be comfortable.
Desert Hairy Scorpions enjoy having plenty of space to move around and burrow deep. Most of your tank will be occupied with the substrate, and you still need space for a couple of decorations, so an ideal size would be at least ten gallons.
As for the decoration, this fossorial scorpion may benefit from an artificial burrow, so placing a small tunnel and rocks in the enclosure is great for them.
Make sure that the flat rocks are placed in a stable position to keep them from moving and harming your scorpion.
Desert Hairy Scorpions live in a very dry environment. Moisture and humidity are not only unnecessary, but they’re also often detrimental to their health.
Spray half of your substrate with a light rain every couple of weeks and let it dry before placing your scorpion once again in the tank.
Just like any other arachnid, you’d like your scorpion to have a water dish available inside the enclosure.
However, make sure it’s a shallow water dish, or else you’ll scorpion may be at risk of falling inside and getting trapped there. If this happens, there’s the possibility of it drowning, so a shallow water plate is the safest option for your DHS.
Diet of a Desert Hairy Scorpion
It’s always fun to see Desert Hairy Scorpions struggling with their food to eat it. It may be tempting to place larger prey such as mice in the tank, but the best diet for them consists of insects.
Most of the time, you’ll be feeding your baby scorpions two small crickets or roaches every week. Adults will usually have two medium or large crickets every two weeks.
Pay attention to their appearance and cut back on portions if they start looking plump. On the other hand, if your scorpion is starting to look thin, you might want to increase portion sizes.
Fun Facts about the Desert Hairy Scorpion
- The Desert Hairy Scorpion glows under a black light. Sometimes the glow can be green or blue, but it’s always very bright and eye-catching in the dark.
- Since Desert Hairy Scorpions are vulnerable to sunlight, they’ve developed a defense mechanism with their tails. A Hadrurus arizonensis sting has cells that detect sunlight, so they can stick their tails up to check if it’s safe to come out before coming out into the open.
- Even though Desert Hairy Scorpions don’t have huge pincers, their venom isn’t potent either. Though they can handle small mammals and lizards, this is only thanks to their pincers since their poison isn’t strong enough to affect them. The venom can only be dangerous for a human if you’re allergic.
Final words: Is the Desert Hairy Scorpion Right for you?
The Desert Hairy Scorpion is an appealing and exotic pet that’s docile and easy to take care of. If you’re looking for a large scorpion you can take out and handle in front of your friends, this may be the ideal low-risk choice.
Even for more experienced owners, this arachnids temperament and unique appearance make them a great choice.
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