The Dictator Scorpion, scientifically known as the Pandinus dictator, is a scorpion species that is closely related to the Emperor Scorpion. It’s quite a rare species, and some people even believe that their existence is a myth. However, they definitely do exist, and you can buy them and keep them as a pet!
If the Dictator Scorpion is an arachnid that has attracted your attention and you’re considering getting one for yourself, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about these fascinating animals.
- 1 Dictator Scorpion Care Sheet
- 2 Dictator Scorpion Overview
- 3 Caring for a Dictator Scorpion
- 4 Facts about the Dictator Scorpion
- 5 Final words: Is the Dictator Scorpion right for you?
Dictator Scorpion Care Sheet
|Name of Species||Pandinus dictator|
|Common names||Dictator Scorpion|
|Native location||Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Guinea|
|Lifespan||10 to 15 years|
|Minimum tank size||10 gallons|
Dictator Scorpion Overview
The Dictator Scorpion is a massive arachnid with formidable pincers and a stunning appearance, which is part of the reason why they’ve become so popular.
In the wild, they appear in several African countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo where they live on the forest floors.
In captivity, they’re much less popular than their close relative, the Pandinus Imperator, but they have many similarities. Not only in appearance, but also in the care that they require.
The Dictator Scorpion has an appearance that’s incredibly similar to that of the Emperor Scorpion. They’re both massive scorpions that can reach a size of 8 inches when fully grown. However, the P. dictator often grows larger than the P. imperator.
In addition, they both exhibit a dark brown or black coloration all over their body and have stocky, hefty bodies with massive claws, which contribute to their popularity as pets.
To tell the difference between them you’ll have to take a very close look at their pincers. Dictators have a different number of trichobothria (hairs) on their pincers than Emperors. However, since this is almost impossible to do when they’re alive and moving about, many people don’t really know whether they have a Dictator or Emperor Scorpion.
The Dictator Scorpion is not a particularly expensive species. They can be found for a price of around $50.
Behavior & Temperament
These scorpions are rather shy and have a tendency to spend much of their day hiding away in their burrow, coming out only to eat or mate. Because of this, you might not see your pet as often as you’d like.
Temperament-wise, these animals are quite docile. They do not often show defensive behavior and many specimens are actually quite docile.
They typically tolerate being handled, but it’s not something I recommend doing. Arachnids are not cuddly, social animals like cats or dogs are. They might tolerate you handling them, but it’s not something they particularly like.
They can use their claws to defend themselves if they feel threatened or use their stinger and they are venomous, so be careful. Luckily, their venom is quite mild, which is why many people do handle them occasionally. It’s fine to do so, as long as you do not do it too often to avoid unnecessarily stressing out your eight-legged friend.
Caring for a Dictator Scorpion
The P. Dictator is quite a large arachnid. As such, they need a terrarium that’s befitting of their size. They need an enclosure that has a minimum size of 10 gallons.
It should also be noted though that a bigger cage is not always better for a scorpion. While you might think that them having more space is something they would appreciate, they’re actually pretty lazy. They prefer to move as little as possible to conserve energy. As a result, they don’t mind having a relatively small enclosure because it makes it easier for them to catch prey.
Make sure that you provide them with plenty of hiding places. They will spend the majority of their time in their burrow, but when they do come out they enjoy having places to hide if they feel the need to.
Humidity & Temperature
These scorpions prefer a temperature that’s relatively warm and humid. Try to keep the temperature around 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity around 80%.
You can keep the humidity up by keeping the substrate moist. Make sure that you do not make the substrate swampy though. It should be moist, but not drenched with water.
As a burrowing species, substrate is very important for the Dictator Scorpion. Provide them with a layer of substrate that’s at least 6 inches deep to give them adequate depth to burrow into.
Good material to use is a mixture of peat moss, soil, and vermiculite. This mixture does a great job at retaining moisture and goes a long way to help you keep the humidity levels in their enclosure up.
Dictator Scorpions eat a variety of different insects. They will eat pretty much any insect you throw at it that’s small enough for them to take down. However, the optimal insects to feed them are gut-loaded crickets and roaches.
You can also feed them waxworms, mealworms, and superworms as an occasional treat to spice up their diet a little.
These arachnids have a pretty big appetite and can easily eat a few insects every other day. Keep in mind though that no two scorpions are identical and thus they have different food requirements. Keep an eye on them and you’ll quickly see whether you’re feeding them too much or too little.
To many people’s surprise, this species is actually capable of living communally. Many people have successfully housed more than one Dictator in the same enclosure. However, while this is possible, it is by no means necessary. They tolerate other members of their species in their enclosure, but they definitely do not need them. They do not get lonely or anything like that.
If you do decide to keep more than one of them in the same enclosure you have to make sure that you give them an enclosure that’s big enough to give each of them enough individual space. Go for a 20 or 30-gallon tank.
In addition, it’s very important that you make sure that you give them enough food in communal living situations. If not, food aggression can occur.
Lifespan & Health
The Dictator Scorpion has a remarkably long lifespan. They can easily live for 10 years and exceptional specimens can even get as old as 15 years.
To keep them in good health, make sure that you provide them with a nice enclosure that has a good temperature and enough humidity. It’s also important that you remove uneaten food. Due to the high temperature and humidity in their enclosure bacteria and mold can grow very easily if uneaten food is not removed.
In addition, you should only feed them captive-bred prey insects. Wild-caught prey insects are often contaminated with parasites that can spread to your scorpion if you feed them.
Lastly, you should be cautious to avoid falls. Especially when handling them, they can get startled and fall off your hand which can result in a highly damaging fall. If you handle them, make sure to do it very carefully and ideally not too high above the ground.
Facts about the Dictator Scorpion
- The Dictator and the Emperor scorpion are both part of the Pandinus genus.
- They can make a sound called “stridulation” by scraping the bristles on the first segment of their first pair of legs.
- They rarely sting and instead prefer to use their massive pinchers for offense as well as defense
- Their venom is very weak and is about as painful as a bee sting
Final words: Is the Dictator Scorpion right for you?
The Dictator Scorpion often stands in the shadow of its brother, the Emperor Scorpion. Nevertheless, this scorpion has a lot to offer in its own right and if you’re looking for a species that not many people have, this one might be an excellent choice for you.
Do be careful though, because it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a P. Dictator and a P. Imperator. As a result, people often get them mixed up without even knowing it!
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