Black Rock Scorpion Urodacus manicatus

The Black Rock Scorpion, as its common name implies, is a dark-coloured species that is often found living under rocks, although it is just as much at home under logs. It is one of three species of scorpions that can be found in the greater Melbourne region. It is a widespread species and can be found in other parts of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland.

Photo of a Black Rock Scorpion

Black Rock Scorpion
Photographer: Alan Henderson. Source: Museum Victoria

The body length of the Black Rock Scorpion can be up to 55 mm and is normally dark brown, often appearing to be black. It lives in a cleared area beneath rocks or logs, and has a burrow that leads from this area to the outside. This is a relatively long-lived species; females may take over two years to reach maturity and survive for a further eight years.

The Black Rock Scorpion survives on a diet of other invertebrates, such as cockroaches, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, spiders and occasionally earthworms. Cannibalism has been observed amongst scorpions. Like most scorpions, the Black Rock Scorpion is a ‘sit and wait’ predator – it sits near the mouth of its burrow and detects passing prey by monitoring the substrate vibrations caused by the movement of the prey.

The sting of the Black Rock Scorpion can cause inflammation and pain for several hours, and medical advice should be sought.

Further Reading

Koch, LE 1977. The taxonomy, geographic distribution and evolutionary radiation of Australo-Papuan scorpions. Records of the Western Australian Museum 5(2):83–367.

Walker, K. L., Yen, A. L. and Milledge, G. A. 2003. Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria. Royal Society of Victoria: Melbourne.

Comments (133)

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thomas 7 July, 2009 12:58
i got like 20 of these but i caught all of mine in my back yard over a 1.5 year period, i didnt know they were worth anything, i might sell em now
Paul Pearce 11 August, 2009 14:44
Found a Black Rock Scorpion in Brisbane Ranges National Park near Beremboke Victoria 3342. Located in old log. Just for info.
louise greed 7 January, 2010 19:45
I found one of these in my front yard ...i live in Western Australia Perth hills! no mention of the being here scared e half to death.... i think it is dead tho it hasn't moved since i trapped it
peter eley 29 January, 2010 12:59
hello paul i live in the brisbane ranges ,beremboke were roughly did you find them , just interested nothing more nothing less thanks, pete.
Sally 10 February, 2010 20:06
my pet Black Rock Scorpion has just had little scorpion babies in the last couple of days, they are on her back now.....what do we do with the babies now? your assistance & advise is appreciated.
Discovery Centre 11 February, 2010 12:54

Hi Sally, the Live Exhibits team at Melbourne Museum are responsible for the care of the live animals, here. They have advised that the babies usually stay with their mum for a few weeks, clinging onto her back and body. At this stage they are pale in colour and they won't need food or water themselves. You don't need to do anything differently to your scorpion during this stage, except minimise the amount of disturbance she receives. Some mother scorpions will eat their babies if disturbed too often. Once the young leave their mother and start to move around the enclosure on their own, they can be separated into individual enclosures. The young will be ready to feed by themselves when they reach this point but need tiny insects (about half their own size). You might find this book useful - it has a special page about keeping scorpions!

claire 11 February, 2010 19:43
Our household contents was in storage in Melbourne for the past 5 years while we were working overseas. Last month we shipped it to South Africa & I have since had 2 black scorpions in my house over here. Could they have come from Oz? They looked exactly like this rock scorpion - very black. Have they been found'indoors'? I have looked at a website on scorpions in Southern Africa but they looked more like this one. I'm now too scared to unpack any more boxes in case there are more.
Discovery Centre 18 February, 2010 09:57

Hi Claire,

we do not receive many enquiries at the Museum about Black Rock Scorpions coming into peoples' homes, as opposed to some of the other species which seem to wander into homes in greater numbers.

There are a number of species of scorpion in Southern Africa which may look superficially similar to Australian species. The link below is to an online science magazine about African scorpions complete with an e-mail address for the author. If you have collected the scorpions you may be able to take a digital image and send it to him to see if he can confirm if it is an African scorpion and obtain some further information about it. 

Irene 6 March, 2010 09:16
We have had two scorpians enter our home on the mornington penninsula. One was several years ago, and was killed by a flea bomb. The other is alive and kicking in a plastic container! Found him yesterday. Is it unusual to have them in your home? Are there likely to be more around?
Discovery Centre 11 March, 2010 11:18

Hi Irene. Scorpions generally do not enter houses of their own accord but usually come in accidently on wood or other things brought in from outdoors. If you have them in your garden you may find them in the house occasionally. Draught excluders along doors can help prevent further unwanted visitors if they are coming in of their own accord. The Australian Museum's scorpion fact sheet gives some interesting information on their habits, habitats and how to minimise them in your garden.

Sarah 18 March, 2010 12:39
We have scorpions in our house, I haven't found any outside only in the house. Mainly in our bedrooms. Our house is surrounded by scrub in the Adelaide Hills. They are a little lighter in colour then the Black Rock, I was just wondering if there is another type of scorpion around South Australia? Is it dangerous? Why do they come into our house?
Discovery Centre 19 March, 2010 11:50

Hi Sarah,

Please have a look at the following links which feature a couple of the species found in Melbourne which also occur in South Australia. There may be other species found in Adelaide which do not occur in Melbourne. The South Australian Museum will have more expertise in scorpions from your region if your scorpion is not one of these 2 species.

Scorpions can be brought into homes under the bark of firewood or may wander in looking for prey.

Cara 25 March, 2010 22:43
I live in Bittern on the Mornington Peninsula and found a scorpion sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor tonight. He looked exactly like this Black Rock Scorpion.We have had the door closed and nothing has been brought in from outside in quite a period of time. THe house had been sprayed to keep all bugs away in October 2009. We have never seen a scorpion in the wild let alone our house and are quite freaked out. Will this be a normal occurance and are them poisonous/harmful as we have young children??? thankyou
Discovery Centre 26 March, 2010 15:00

Hi there Cara. Sometimes these scorpions do come in looking for food of their own accord and it might be worthwhile putting draught excluders on the doors to prevent this. As indicated above the Australian Museum's scorpion fact sheet gives some interesting information on their habits, habitats, how to minimise them in your garden and avoid being stung. It says 'Australian scorpions can give a painful sting but are not considered dangerous. First aid for a sting is to apply a cold pack and to seek medical aid if pain persists. It is also a good idea to try to catch the scorpion and have it identified.' We have a free identification service at the museum, so feel free to send in your specimen.

con manoussios 3 April, 2010 18:57
hi i found a scorpion today in our holiday house in rye. couldnt believe it it was wondering in our bedroom.
sarah 13 April, 2010 14:51
We found a small black scorpion at our feet last night, mine were bare, we have caught it and put it in a jar, what should I do with it?? should I expect more now? I live in Mount Martha on the beach side of the highway? didnt think that we had them down here, too cold!
Discovery Centre 14 April, 2010 11:08

Hi Sarah, don't be too concerned, scorpions can be common in Victoria including parts of Melbourne and its suburbs. They have no interest in people and stings are rare. Scorpions in Australia are not considered highly dangerous but if you were to be stung it wouldn't be a bad idea to go to your doctor as a precaution. I personally would let the scorpion go where you found it.

dave 20 April, 2010 12:48
hi , i too have caught 2 scorpions this week inside my house , my question is can the sting be fatal for small dogs as my dogs often kip on the floor....thanks
'jesse 21 April, 2010 20:34
i just got a baby scorpian of a mate and im feeding it just bugs and stuff will it live
Discovery Centre 22 April, 2010 11:50

Hi Dave, scorpions have no interest in pets; if the scorpions are in the house they will be looking for small invertebrates to feed on. The dog may be stung if it stood on or started patting or playing with the scorpion. We are not aware of scorpion stings posing a serious threat to the welfare of pets, although it would be very painful.

Discovery Centre 22 April, 2010 15:43

Hi Jesse, if you have a read of the posting that Discovery Centre made on the 11th of February, you will find information on how to care for young scorpions. Good Luck.

mitchell hines 17 May, 2010 11:57
l have five of them l recond their cool
Yana 7 July, 2010 16:50
I found one on our backyard today,under the firewood..i took photo,and then he disappeared..I couldn'y believe in it..My husband still doesn't believe me that there're scorpions in Australia..I'm glad they are not venomouse..
Judy 15 July, 2010 18:43
Hi, we were wondering how much a normal sized scorpion would weigh?
Discovery Centre 19 July, 2010 11:44

Hi Judy, the weight of a normal sized scorpion will depend on the species. Because there are many species of scorpions, each of them will have different physical characteristics. Most scorpions will weigh between possibly 50 gm (some say the heaviest is 60gm) and a few grams. Please see the following website for further information:

callum jackson 14 August, 2010 21:35
im looking for 1 i would like to buy 1 cheep and how long do they live
Discovery Centre 16 August, 2010 13:02

Hi Callum, it is thought that most Australian species of scorpion live between 2 and 10 years, although one commercially sold species lives to around 15 years. As to where to source scorpions, please have a read of our question of the week on this topic.

anna 17 August, 2010 00:40
Hi, i have two questions, #1, i have just got a male and female black rock scorp,she is about to give birth any day, i got a bit of info,but need to know how many to expect, and will i have to seperate them once there bigger? #2 I also have two rainforest scorps,approx what age will they breed & how do i tell their sexes?
Discovery Centre 25 August, 2010 13:52
Hi Anna, Black Rock Scorpions have an average of around 17 young. After the female gives birth she should be disturbed as little as possible as she can become stressed easily causing her to eat her own young. The young should be separated as soon as they leave her back and begin to wander freely around the enclosure. The male should not be with her during this critical time. Sexing the Rainforest Scorpions is easy; mature males have a tooth and notch in their claws, and have a slimmer body with a longer tail. They will probably take 4 -5 years to mature, but this depends a little on the rate of feeding and the temperatures they are being kept at. We published a book on keeping Australian Invertebrates a couple years back (which covers the scorpions you have) that may find it useful.
harry 29 August, 2010 16:09
i have a flinders range scorpion and i am wondering what is the best substance for them?
Discovery Centre 31 August, 2010 11:04

Hi Harry, can you please explain what you mean by 'substance'?  Are you referring to feeding your scorpion or housing your scorpion?

harry 31 August, 2010 17:21
for housing my scorpion
Discovery Centre 2 September, 2010 11:58
Hi, Harry. Our Live Exhibits team recommend a terrarium or glass tank for this species, with a substrate of granite sand, sand, or coco-peat. You might want to fit out the enclosure with an assortment of flat rocks, bedded into the substrate.
Josh 11 October, 2010 18:30
I found one of these in frankston Forrest down by the creek I was wondering wether this is rare!
Discovery Centre 12 October, 2010 12:56
Hi Josh, this species of scorpion is found in eastern and southern Victoria, (including the Melbourne region). So it is unlikely to be especially rare in Frankston.
karsten 22 October, 2010 03:27
I found this site while looking for information about the black rock - supposedly a young female found this small creature in her luggage when coming back from Australia. The article mentioned that the sting could be life threatening while you mentioned pain (which is expected) and inflammation) So what is true? Find the link to the original news below though its in german
Discovery Centre 22 October, 2010 13:10
Hi Karsten, thank you for bringing this article to our attention. According to the Australian Venom Research Unit, "no Australian species of scorpion are known to be particularly dangerous, although all possess a venomous sting. In painful cases of envenomation, the application of ice-packs may reduce pain. Analgesia or topical anaesthetic agents may be required in extreme cases." 
Josh 10 November, 2010 18:57
Ive got a very sick scorpion that rarly moves, it also has very small pincers, is it a male or female?
Josh 10 November, 2010 18:58
It's a black rock scorpion!
Josh 11 November, 2010 20:26
What's wrong with him/her I really want to know!
Ron 15 November, 2010 02:01
hi all, i currently own 2 black rock scorpions which i just got about 2 months ago. im not sure when they are both due to give birth but both have been acting really weird lately im not sure if its the birth or if its due to the sudden hot weather here in NSW. it appears to me as if they tense their back body in an upwards direction and bend their tail almost all the way back so its perfectly backwards. i really want to know if there is anything wrong and how i may prevent it such as how to keep them cool if its due to the heat.
Discovery Centre 15 November, 2010 14:40

Hi Ron - congratulations on your newly acquired pets!  The behaviour you have described is called Stilting. It helps the scorpion to regulate it’s body temperature, thought to increase the air flow over its body. This can vary with the body only being a little off the substrate to an extreme vertical posture. High temperature and humidity can be a trigger but scorpions also show this behaviour in cooler temperatures.  Gravid/ pregnant females tend to do this behaviour more coming up to giving birth which for this species is around March/ April. This is not saying she isn’t pregnant but if she is she would give birth next march/April.  The Black rock Scorpions are commonly found throughout the Great Dividing Range in NSW and they live in specific micro-climates meaning they need a particular humidity, temperature and moisture level to stay healthy.  So their behaviour may be them trying to settle into their new environment.  There is a great book out called ‘A Guide to keeping Australian Scorpions in Captivity’ by Mark A. Newton.

Ron 23 November, 2010 21:50
wow i did not know that they do that, is there anything i can do either to the tank or to them to help the cooling process because they are actually kept indoors are never in the sun and also get sprayed with misty water every day. also i heard that the government puts clorine into the water supply which may be harmfull to pets is this true with scorpions? it seems like there are many unanswered questions about scorpions but the book you have referd me to seems to answer most of them with its great detail :)
dicko 8 January, 2011 16:44
brought 3 black rock scorpions one died dunno why and wanna know if ones a female and or pregnant how can you tell if they are pregnant
Discovery Centre 13 January, 2011 09:50

Hi Dicko, the first thing to try to work out is if you have males or female scorpions in your collection. By looking at the underside of the body you should be able to see a small disc above the pectines (comb like structures). If it is split it indicates that it is a male – if no split you have a female. Females tend to be a little bulkier as well. To work out if she is pregnant you need to watch her body shape – she will become rotund. If you believe she may be preparing to give birth you need to give her some ‘quiet time’ as scorpions will often become stressed and re-absorb their young if conditions are incorrect. Best of luck with your new pets!

michael 14 January, 2011 18:11
hey.. i have a female scorpion that has just given birth.. when i seperate the babies from the mother do they all need different tanks or will they gt along?..and can the offspring interbreed or do i need to get a new breeding partner for the young?
Brad 15 January, 2011 22:39
I was at Mudgee NSW over the last week and within 2hrs found over 60 scorpions under rocks.
Carson 26 January, 2011 12:28
hi i have just brought a blackrock scorpian and she just gave birth. i need to know what the best type of enclosure (heat water dirt ect) to keep they babys in when they seporate from the mother
Simone 26 January, 2011 13:54
My 4 year old son just found a black rock scorpion under his sand pit that we are removing in our yard in the Dandenong Rangers. He is thrilled to bits with his find, but determine to let it go in a place that we don't frequent that much. Thanks to your id page we were able to figure out just what type of scorpion we had in front of us.
Ashley 28 January, 2011 19:23
I have a black rock scorpion who has just given birth and I have a few questions: 1) Is tap water okay to use in their water dish? 2) What temperature and humidity is best, especially since there are now babies to consider? 3) How much and how often should I feed my adult scorpion and my baby scorpions once they have left the mother? (I use small crickets) 4) Do all the babies need to be kept separate from each other as well as their mother (once they are old enough)? 5) Will the babies inbreed? What is recommended in relation to this?
Jo McBride 28 January, 2011 23:08
I live just north of Brisbane and have just found a scorpion in our house. Are they common to these areas? I have never seen one before, would the recent rains have brought it out? Our house is highset which intrigues me even more.
Jamie 1 February, 2011 17:24
Hi i am camping in rye and have come across a black scorpian are thay dangerous cheers
Gemma 3 February, 2011 17:37
Hi My black rock scorpian just had babies but they are not on her back they are in a bundle in the corner i think one of the other scorpians was trying to eat them. I have seperated that scorpian. What are the chances they will live?
Discovery Centre 4 February, 2011 12:59

Hi Jamie,

The Australian species of Black Rock Scorpion are not considered highly dangerous, but it is probably best if you avoid them and observe from a safe distance.

Discovery Centre 6 February, 2011 10:13

Hi Gemma, if your scorpions are still white but not being looked after by their mum it is not normal but it may still be fine. Remove all the other scorpions from the enclosure and give them some room to relax. After their first moult they would naturally disperse. At this time you can separate them from one another and start feeding them tiny food items such as pinhead crickets.

Discovery Centre 11 February, 2011 13:49
Hi Michael - 

Once the babies have left their mothers back they should be housed individually. This can be done using a tool box or what some people may know as a nuts and bolts style storage system, which can be purchased at hardware stores. The lid will need to have some air holes drilled into it for ventilation.

We wouldn’t recommend inbreeding. If you would like a good general guide on the care of scorpions, try Bugs Alive – A Guide to Keeping Australian Invertebrates.

Discovery Centre 11 February, 2011 16:27

Hi Carson,

Once the babies have left their mothers back they should be housed individually. This can be done using a tool box or what some people may know as a nuts and bolts style storage system, which can be purchased at hardware stores. The lid will need to have some air holes drilled into it for ventilation. The enclosure can have either a sand or coco-peat substrate(available in bricks from hardware stores).   

For further detail, a good general guide on the care of scorpions is Bugs Alive – A Guide to Keeping Australian Invertebrates.

Discovery Centre 11 February, 2011 16:29

Hi Ashley,

Tap water is fine. The babies only need a damp end of the enclosure as water source, no water dish required.

In terms of food frequency and size we usually feed our adult scorpions once a week. The basic rule of thumb in terms of size is a ¼ of the Scorpions body size. As an example we feed our adult Black Rock Scorpions 1 medium cricket per week. Baby Scorpions would get 1 pinhead cricket per twice week with size increasing as they get bigger and then eventually dropping back to once cricket a week once they are adults.

For your other questions, please see previously posted answers, and also check out Bugs Alive – A Guide to Keeping Australian Invertebrates.

Ken 11 February, 2011 23:35
Hi, I live in Rye Victoria and was walking across my lawn tonight when I received a sting just under the big toe. The sting was still in my foot and at first I thought it was just a Bee sting but it was very thin and curved? It made my toe swell up but the pain subsided within an hour or so but the swelling remains. It was only when talking on the phone to him that he suggested that it might of been a Scorpian. I was very surprised to read there are Scorpians were I live.
Ashley 13 February, 2011 11:48
Hi, I am the one who asked some questions before about my black rock scorpion who just had babies. I am worried because she has not eaten since just before she gave birth, about 3 weeks ago. She normally eats 2-3 times a week. Should I be worried? What should I do? She is also acting kind of strange, she's not moving around much like she used to (she's still alive though).
Brad 16 February, 2011 00:45
Hi, Iwas at Mudgee hunting about 6 weeks ago and found about 70 scorpions. I brought home a few and since 3 have had babies,2 of which had babies last night and are hanging out together. Will I need to move babies to another tank when they leave there mum, for them to survive? If so I will need about 40 seperate tanks. Thank You.
Discovery Centre 17 February, 2011 17:21

Hi Brad, please read our reply to Carson on 11 February for advice on what type of enclosure you can use to accommodate multiple babies.

Discovery Centre 19 February, 2011 11:59

Hi everyone, to answer some of those questions that you all have! If you can keep them at a temperature of approximately 18-24 degrees that would be ideal. I’m not sure if you can easily alter the temperature in your air conditioned room i.e can you keep it around the 18-20 degree mark that would be fine. Any extreme temperature variations such as 40 degrees are likely to place stress on an animal which could result in losses. More so for the young. Alternatively if you don’t want to have your air conditioner running all the time you could possibly leave them where they are and if you know that an temperature extreme is approaching then transfer them into a room with a more constant temperature. In terms of the babies dying, i can understand if this is upsetting but sometimes losses do occur with the young.  In terms of food, see if your pet food supplier can provide you with some pinhead crickets. Provided for them twice a week. These would be an ideal size for the baby Scorpions.  Hopefully this is of some help. Feel free to contact us for further information.

LUKAS 1 March, 2011 20:45
hey i have 2 black rock scorpions that i found at my farm in NSW and we kept them as pets in a big fish tank and 2 months later the male scorpion died (last weekend).we still a the female left. how do you think it dided we fed it crickets from a pet shop, and also can they live in the same tank or do they live separately??
Discovery Centre 12 March, 2011 11:53
Hi Lukas, firstly were sorry to hear that one of your pets died, and I’m sure that you tried your very best to look after it. We can't really speculate on the cause of death but the NT Government fact sheet Guidelines for keeping scorpions as pets gives some ideas of things that can threaten the health of your scorpion and what you should look out for. With regard to their housing, the scorpions should be kept in separate enclosures.
Jason 28 April, 2011 19:06
Hi, my wife found a Black Rock scorpion in our lounge room on Sunday night. We live in Mt Martha and were suprised to see it here.
Beverley 1 May, 2011 16:12
We live at Rye. I have on probably 10 occasions over the last three years found both dead and live scorpions in our home. The largest I have found would only be a maximum of 3 cm. Is this still the Black Rock scorpion or another species? Any effect on a cat(apart from pain) should the cat be stung? Should I seek vet assistance?
Allan V 1 May, 2011 21:48
Just got one here in the Adelaide Hills - Cudlee Creek - looked up this site to see whether they were rare. Obviously not!! Hope they don't hurt if they bite! Was found in our ironing basket.
Discovery Centre 7 May, 2011 13:27

Hi Beverley, the scorpion is most likely to be a Marbled Scorpion (Lychas marmoreus), which is pale to mid-brown, speckled with darker and lighter browns. They grow up to 3cm. The Black Rock Scorpion (Urodacus manicatus) is larger and darker. It grows up to 5.5cm and is a very dark brown with paler nippers. The Marbled Scorpion is very common on the Mornington Peninsula and frequently comes into houses, but they quickly desiccate and die in the dry environment inside a house. Both species can sting humans and animals, producing at most inflammation and pain for several hours. There are records of cats and dogs being stung, and the symptoms are similar to stings in humans. Because the scorpions live outside the house more than inside, pets are most likely to encounter them (particularly the curious ones) and stings are not uncommon. As a general rule, these scorpions are not a serious threat to cats, but if you have any doubts, please consult a veterinarian.

Kirsten McCarthy 28 May, 2011 06:53
Hi , we seem to have a plague of black scorpions in our house in Sorrento, Vic. They are quite small, but the problem is they are in our house everywhere! Last month we caught about 25 in the house, and I also have a few other friends who have them in their houses too. Could there be a plague happening in the Mornington peninsula region?? They are everywhere!!
rob 17 July, 2011 16:42
was wondering how many scorpions one can keep together with the other? i have the one with the name that rhymes? males? femals? i have a female!
Discovery Centre 21 July, 2011 16:23
Hi Rob, Scorpions are solitary animals and as such do not tend to go very well in group environments. The only time we house individuals together is when a mother has babies and we leave the young on her back until they choose to disperse (at which time they can start eating each other) or when we are trying to breed our animals. Scorpions generally will breed over Spring so allowing them to share an enclosure over this time is an option. If you do put multiple specimens in an enclosure you need to provide them with enough 'retreats' (places to hide) so they don't accidently come across each other and eat each other for lunch.
leanne 18 August, 2011 14:44
i would like to know what the average weight of an adult male and female Flinders Ranges scorpion would be. please
TRANCEMEDIA 28 August, 2011 08:53
Hello from Greece. My english are not too good and i hope you understand what i want to ask... Ok. I bought two black emperor scorpions. Yesterday one of them got about 30 babys on her back. I remooved the other scorpion from the tank, so the mother be more quiet with her babys. I saw in a comment here that you say, when the babys molt and get of from the back of their mother, that i can seperate. And here is my question... If i wont seperate from the tank, the mother will attack them? I have always plenty of crikets inside the tank and actually they have babys too. So food there is a lot. From big crikets to smaller and anything else i'm finding from time to time. When the mother stop bringing food for the babys? After molt? Thank you for all the answers wil give me!!
Raegan Durch 19 September, 2011 12:26
We just found one in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula where we are building a new home. Are they fatal to dogs, we have two small dogs.
Discovery Centre 23 September, 2011 08:47
Hi Trancemedia, the mother scorpion doesn’t feed the babies and for many species she doesn’t feed herself whilst the babies are on her back. The babies receive nutrition from their own yolk and stay on the mother’s back only for protection from predators. After moulting, they darken in colour to an off-white or brown and this means they are old enough to leave the mother and can feed on their own.

Because the mother often doesn’t feed whilst carrying her babies around, she is hungry by the time they depart and will readily eat them if she comes across them in their enclosure. Even if there is lots of food available, the mother will eat them as readily as she would eat a passing cricket. So the best time to separate them is when they’ve darkened slightly after their moult.

Discovery Centre 24 September, 2011 13:12
Hi Raegan, this question has been answered several times in the comments above and in another infosheet on Scorpion Facts & Fallacies. As we've stated, it's not likely that the Black Rock Scorpion bite would be fatal to a small dog, but would be painful. To be sure though, (if you suspect a scorpion bite), a visit to a vet might be a good idea, as allergic reactions are always possible too.
Cas 27 November, 2011 15:04
I got a Blackrock scorpion for my birthday and am wondering how to tell what sex it is?
Discovery Centre 27 November, 2011 15:25
Hi Cas, by looking at the underside of the body you should be able to see a small disc above the pectines (comb like structures). If it is split it indicates that it is a male – if it is not split you have a female. Females tend to be a little bulkier as well.
Rick 16 January, 2012 09:25
Hi I am setting up an enclosure to keep some Black Rock Scorpions in. It is 45cm x 30cm and will have lots and lots of hides to minimise the chances of them eating each other. I understand that provision of 'light' during the day is good and can also provide some warmth when required. What type of light is recommended? Thanks Rick.
Discovery Centre 29 January, 2012 16:40

Hi Rick, Black Rock Scorpions (Urodacus manicatus) do not particularly require light, but it is useful to give them an indication of the daily rhythm of night and day. A light can be also good as a heat source, as a heat mat or other subsurface heat source can negate the fact that scorpions burrow downwards to keep cool. The light should be a low wattage bulb, available from any lighting store. If you require more heat, a higher wattage red bulb will produce a higher temperature without producing any light visible to the scorpions.

Discovery Centre 29 January, 2012 16:46
Hi Jayden, the colouration you describe is probably more to do with the age of the lizards than their sex, as the colouring tends to become more drab as they age. Sexing is best done when you have a male and female together and are able to compare the two. Males have a swelling under the base of the tail that houses the hemipenes, and they have visible pores on the underside between the hind legs that secrete a white waxy material.


Tony 20 February, 2012 12:56
Hi, I found one of these in my kitchen on Sunday morning. On Friday my cat fell ill. And now I think that it was stung by this Scorpion. It is now Monday afternoon and all she has done since Friday is drink a little water. Should I take her to the vet or would it be too late to do so for any benefits?
Discovery Centre 20 February, 2012 13:21
Hi Tony, Museum Victoria is unable to provide medical advice, but I suggest that you take your cat to a vet if she is ill (regardless of why). We wish her a fast recovery.  
matt 28 March, 2012 13:59
hi my scorpion is been acting funny been laying on its side and now on its stomache would like to know how to tell if she is pergente or if somthing is wrong most of all how to tell is she is going to have babys thanks
Discovery Centre 9 April, 2012 10:33
Hi Matt, heavily pregnant female scorpions are easily distinguished from those that are not pregnant. In a pregnant female, the abdomen will stretch to the point where the plates on the body (the tergites on top and the sternites underneath) separate and the membrane in between them is easily seen. Many scorpion species are pregnant for a year or more, so it will become obvious well before she gives birth.

It is unusual for a scorpion to lie on its side. This behaviour is probably temporary but if it continues there may be something wrong with the scorpion. Check that the temperature and humidity is suitable for that species, and that it's not being overfed or fed contaminated prey. 

Lupe 9 June, 2012 16:03
Ok, I'm freaking out. I live in san diego Ca. about 6 miles from the coast and we found a scorpion tonight on our hardwood floor in out kitchen. I was barefoot. How normal is this and should I be worried? I have 3 small children and a puppy.
Discovery Centre 9 June, 2012 16:09

Hi Lupe,
We recommend that you contact the San Diego Natural History Museum for information about the scorpion you have found:

Rick 25 June, 2012 19:53
Hi Have been keeping Urodacus manicatus in a communal, false bottom, enclosure since late last year with no problems as there are many 'hides' and plenty of crickets available. I separated out 2 gravid females early this year, one of which has given birth and is now back in the communal enclosure and one of which remained in a burrow for months BUT has now been more active for the past 6 to 8 weeks. She is very big and has a deep burrow under a piece of bark with a huge scrape formed. When do these scorpions mate, when do they give birth and what is the gestation period AND how variable are these times considering temperature, humidity, food availability etc. Would love to get hold of a copy of the book titled "A Guide to Keeping AUSTRALIAN SCORPIONS in Captivity". Thanks Rick.
Discovery Centre 27 June, 2012 15:29

Hi Rick - we ran this past our Live Exhibits team, who have supllied the follwing reply for your query:

Urodacus take about four years to reach adulthood, during which time an individual will moult five times. They are able to mate not long after maturing and the gestation period is about 18 months. The growth and development time is highly variable depending on temperature and food availability – in the wild scorpions may go without food for weeks or even months and their development slows correspondingly.

The book you refer to is available at

joel 20 December, 2012 12:39
i had a dead rock scorpion in my backyard
Georgia 25 February, 2013 11:17
Thats funny Is it a Black Rock scorpion If it is well thats weird I thort they lived in the desert well they can't can they they blend with brown and black things!!
Greg 22 February, 2013 02:49
I juist got and black rock how can I tell the sex of my black rock?
Georgia 25 February, 2013 12:03
Well I might know what colour was it?
Georgia 25 February, 2013 12:15
I hope you can help me with a glowing Mess my cat hates scorpions how do i get rid of them
Georgia 25 February, 2013 12:21
Hi marcus and what is up with this website it is awsome
Georgia 26 February, 2013 10:54
So marcus how you going any way help me Might you people know a good wepsite were i can find some great facts about a Black Rock Scopion at all?
Georgia 26 February, 2013 11:17
Hi i know this not about Scorgpions but my cat is eating grass is that normal?
Joel 26 February, 2013 11:23
Hi georgia how are your Chickens?
Discovery Centre 7 March, 2013 15:15
Hi Greg,  males can be distinguished from females, but only when they are adult. The male has a smaller, slimmer body than the female, who is larger and more robust. However, immature females can be similar in shape to adult males.

This is a general guide - the best method is to turn the scorpion over with tweezers and look underneath. There is a v-shaped organ underneath called pectines, lined with comb-like teeth. At the centre of this v is an operculum. In males, the operculum is split and in females it is not.

In males, the pectines are large and the comb-like teeth long. In females, the pectines are much smaller and the teeth smaller as well. If you search YouTube for 'sexing black rock scorpions', there is footage showing exactly how to find the pectines and operculum.


Kanako 19 April, 2013 20:26
Hi. I'm doing a assignment on Australian deserts and I chose the black rock scorpion for one of my topics. I need detailed pictures or some kind of description. Are there any good websites? I've been looking for so long but I can't seem to find one! Thanks!
Discovery Centre 20 April, 2013 10:03
Hi Kanako - if the photograph and description above are insufficient, you might like to try a web search for the scorpion's scientific name, Urodacus manicatus, which allows you to get around variations in the common name. Otherwise, perhaps you might like to look up the books listed in the references above, which will be a source of further information. Best of luck with your project!
Kirsty 22 April, 2013 19:42
I live on the Mornington Peninsula and was stung when I got into my bed! It felt like an electric shock. I did have an electric blanket on and thought this was the cause but was horrified when i pulled back the covers and saw a scorpion! I had a futon which is probably how it climbed into my warm bed. Needless to say, I now have a new bed that is higher off the floor and no electric blanket. I also check the bed before I get into it every night. I have only seen one other scorpian inside in 11 years and it was in the laundry sink. This happened yesterday and made me refer to your site. Will now use the door snakes. Thank you.
Cody 18 October, 2013 14:07
Hi there I have just adopted a female black rock scorpion, and the lady at the shop said she might be pregnant I was just wondering how I can be certain if she is or Isn't pregnant? Also I was curiouse of what encloser I will need, if it needs a heat pad and if so what temperature to set the heat pad to? Thanks
Discovery Centre 18 October, 2013 15:53
Hi Cody, if you have a look at the answer from Discovery Centre to Dicko on the 13th January, 2011, Sally on the 11th of February 2010 and Harry on the 2nd of September 2010 you will find answers to your questions.
Linda H 30 October, 2013 14:49
Just found a black rock scorpion on the footpath at home here in Hobart, Tasmania.
Sara 26 March, 2014 11:28
Hi, I have had a black rock scorpion as a pet now for about a year and a half and it died a few days ago I was wondering what their life expectancy was?
Kathryn 23 April, 2014 23:08
I have heaps of these scorpions come into my house under the doors all the time. I live near Mt. Lofty South Australia. I also have heaps of millipedes which might explain this.
scorpio 3 June, 2014 23:33
can any body tell me maximum weight of black scorpio...?
imran 16 July, 2014 00:55
please tell me weight...
Macca 28 July, 2014 17:08
These little critters are very common on the mornington peninsula and just give a sting nothing more
candice 15 December, 2014 14:54
hi my son had a few of these in a small glass tank and it seems that the cats might have gotten hold of most of them. I found all but one missing when I checked them and since then I found one in with my rabbits and guinie pigs that live inside. just wondering if there is any way I can get them ALL out of my house I don't like the idea of sitting or stepping on one. thanks
melissa 23 January, 2015 13:20
Hi there, we have 2 scorpions and 1 has just had babies. Just wanting to know how long they are pregnant for as I can't seem to find the answer. We are just wanting to know whether she can to us pregnant or the other scorpion is a male
Discovery Centre 1 February, 2015 12:41

Hi Melissa,

That’s a very interesting question.  The gestation period of scorpions varies widely between the different species, from 6 weeks to 18 months.  To further confuse the issue as to whether your other scorpion is male, and putative father-to-be, some scorpion species can reproduce through parthenogenesis.  Parthenogenesis is asexual reproduction.  You can learn about reproduction in scorpions in this scientific paper.

Tammy Maurr 7 February, 2015 09:28
Hi, my husband was just startled by a rather large scorpian in his clothes on the floor- it looked very much like the black scorpian pictured above- short stumpy- about 10cm long very fat, very large pincers. We are in the hills of Western Australia- it certainly does not look like the ones we usually see in abundance (the brown marbled ones generally only 1-2cm long but quite skinny looking)/- unfortunately he killed it before I could capture it. Is it possibly the above species?? The other one that looks similar is the liocheles Karschii but both if these are not found in WA - what's the chances of this being one of these two breeds?
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2015 12:45
Hi Tammy, it is difficult to say without an image. It might be best to contact the Western Australian Museum as they will have a much better idea of the scorpion fauna found there than we will.  
Bec 23 February, 2015 07:56
We have two scorpions both female. One has just given birth. How long approximately until the babies will moult for the first time? It has had 6 babies three are off the mothers back, they do not look like they are alive. Should I move the other female out of the tank. Once I move the babies ( when it's time to) will a damp Cotten ball be enough for them or will I need moist fine straw for them?
Discovery Centre 27 February, 2015 11:27
Hi Bec, we've done some research and it seems the shedding of the cuticle (ecdysis) occurs for some scorpion species while still on the mother’s back.  The first shedding varies from a few days to 3 weeks old. You will need to know which species you have. To do this we suggest you refer to our website illustrations or texts in our ‘further reading’ section above. Once you have this identification, an online search will help you find more reference material and/or an invertebrate owners’ forum. Good luck with your research!
rachel 4 March, 2015 01:37
Hello, tonight we found a tiny scorpion in our hallway, so tiny I thought it was a black piece of string, about 1cm long. I was very freaked out and wondered if the mother or other babies would be in our house (I assume it's a baby as it's so tiny but it is black in colour). We live in Craigburn Farm in South Australia, near Sturt Gorge. I can't find any info on scorpions being found in this area, has definitely freaked me out a bit (a lot). Just when we got rid of the wolf spiders coming from our roof!! Should I be concerned about more scorpions being in the house? Thankyou
Discovery Centre 7 March, 2015 13:24
Hi Rachel, scorpions are found across Australia, even into the inner suburbs of our large cities. As they are usually small, well camouflaged and noturnal we don't see them that often. They can be brought inside under the bark of firewood or may simply wander under doors looking for prey. If you have large obvious gaps under doors try some of those draught excluders and just keep an eye out if you get up in the night to make sure you don't step on one. They are not usually aggressive and are not interested in us but if stepped on or threatened may deliver a painful sting.
ian 13 March, 2015 04:30
hey, we live on a bush property in the darling ranges, its all natural vegetation and we back onto a national park so we get all manner of besties. i have two scorpion tanks at present; one for the house invaders, mostly consisting of 20 little marbled scorpions, 1 baby black rock scorpion and a juvenile scorpion that seems morphologicaly and behaviourally different to the black rock scorpion. its about the same size as the juvenile, but far from being a sit and wait hunter this little guy runs out and actively finds its food like the little matbled scorpions it shars its tank with, yet physically i has the general features of the black rock scorpion excepting lacking the spade shaped claws used for digging and having a more prominent venome sack. i have an adult rock scorpion i pulled out of a motorbike frogs mouth (he had grabbed the frogs front legs as he was being swallowed and neither looked too happy about things) and at 6cm long, brutus is fairly large. anyway i digress, i have both tanks with damp sand as the substrate so that burrows can be dug but the juvenile unknown species just isnt interested in burrows, he hides under the rocks and pipes with the marbled scorpions while the rock scorpions dig thier own burrow and vigorously defend it from passers by. Thats about all the information i can give you, from this would you know if the unkmown species is a freak marbled scorpion, new species or a sexual dimorphism of the normal rock scorpion (mind you at just over 1cm i would assume itd be too young to show any dimorphism if it were a black rock scorpion. i may not be available to contact verry frequently as uni takes up a lot of time :)
Discovery Centre 14 March, 2015 13:12
Hi Ian, are you able to take an image or two of the scorpion in question and email them to When you send them in if you could tell us the images are for enquiry number 39498.
melfunction 9 May, 2015 09:30
I just found one of these on my couch outside, I thought it was a leaf and was about to brush it away until I saw what it was. I have just sprayed the outside of the house as we had about 10 very large black house spiders around the windows and this scorpion appears to have been affected, its walking around on its head. I have just moved here to frankston Victoria and was a little surprised. had a pet scorpion for 7 years he now lives in my freezer until I can find someone who will taxiderm him
bob 15 May, 2015 11:20
it was very good
Noah 15 November, 2015 11:38
Hello, I was wondering were in the Victoria would be the place were black rock scorpions are most abundant?
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2016 15:55

Hi Noah,

Thanks for your enquiry.  Black rock Scorpions are found all through Victoria.  You can explore an occurrence map and records history on the Atlas of Living Australia website at:

Ado 9 May, 2016 06:56
Gday,im from south australia and ive recently acquired a couple of scorpions,im just wondering if its legal to sell them or not.ive been doing research and cant find anything that says you can/cant,but would like to know more before i actually do.thanks
Discovery Centre 9 May, 2016 11:41
Hi Ado - You do need a permit to take, hold or trade in wildlife in South Australia, but as to whether that applies to invertebrates, you'll need to ask the relevant state department.
Dylan 9 September, 2016 09:56
I have found 2 at the golf corse under rocks from canberra. I can do that right?
Discovery Centre 9 September, 2016 13:48

Hi Dylan

Please contact the ACT Environment and Planning department with your question. 

Eamon 28 September, 2016 08:33
Me and my friend found heaps of these on a hill near his place. I have three and he has seven. By the way we live in Broadford, Victoria. What should we feed them and how often should we feed them? We have been feeding them slaters and beetles about twice a week. They're awesome!
Discovery Centre 28 September, 2016 09:19
Hi Eamon, if you have a look at the answer that was provided to Ashley on 11th February 2011 you can see what our Live Exhibits staff recommend for feeding Black Rock Scorpions. We use crickets as they are a bit more 'meaty' and don't have the hard carapace of beetles.
Eamon 27 April, 2017 17:14
One of my black rock scorpions has had babies and I don't know what to feed them. If you have any suggestions please reply ASAP. Thankyou -Eamon
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