Black Rock Scorpion, Urodacus manicatus
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: I want to source scorpions to keep, does it matter if I buy them from a pet shop or find them in the bush?
Answer: Scorpions are a fascinating group of invertebrates which have traditionally caused nightmares and phobias, much like spiders and snakes. This misunderstood group of animals have no interest in people, with stings usually resulting from people trying to play, handle or hurt them.
Although the sting from an Australian scorpion is not considered to be highly dangerous, medical attention should be sought as a precaution. In other parts of the world a sting from a scorpion can cause death, during the 1980’s Mexico averaged about 800 deaths a year from scorpion stings.
Scorpions are becoming increasingly popular as pets. One of the most sought after commercially sold scorpion species is The Flinders Range Scorpion or Urodacus elongatus. This species live for 10-15 years and is one of the easiest species to keep and successfully breed. One question that the Museum is often asked is whether we provide scorpions for sale. We cannot and this leads to the question of how and where people can source species of scorpion.
It is illegal to collect any invertebrates from National or State Parks or Conservation Reserves in Victoria. If in doubt you should check with your State’s or Territory’s Environmental Department. Rolling of logs and rocks searching for scorpions can result in the destruction of the micro-climates these and other species inhabit. Scorpion biology is similar to that of mammals with long gestation periods of up to 18 months and long generation times as lengthy as 5.5 years so the removal of large reproductive adults can see populations become threatened very quickly.
We suggest that it is certainly more environmentally friendly for people to source their scorpions from a commercial breeder than to collect from wild populations. It is important to check where the prospective seller sourced their scorpions from; whether they have sourced them from the bush, have established a captive breeding population or purchased from someone who has captive bred.