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My first scorpion! - Smeringurus mesaensis

Discussion in 'Invertebrate Pet Talk' started by Avicularia Kael, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    I can't get any pictures right now, but this scorpion is cool! I am keeping it around room temp for now, but I may use a heat pad or something.
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  2. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Very nice! They look a lot like our desert scorpions, Urodacus yaschenkoi. I read that like them they are burrowers, or fossorial which means "lives underground". Our species does not need heating, the temperature in a burrow has been shown to be around 23c and doesn't vary between summer and winter. Ours are nocturnal, avoiding the heat of the day, the last thing they want is to be exposed to excessive heat. I know some American desert species do in fact come out in the daytime but I'm not sure that this is one because it is a burrowing species. If heating is warranted at all it would be because the enclosure is reguarily dipping below 20c, even then I would be hesitant. In any case I'm sure you can do your own research but be aware there is a lot of outdated information out there, so many desert animals were kept in hot dry conditions when really their lives are absolutely dedicated to avoiding heat and dessication. I keep my scorpions in false bottom systems with 4 to 8 inches of substrate and this allows for a more stable temperature and a moisture gradient for them to take advantage of. You'll be told it's not necessary, and for an adult that won't be moulting it isn't strictly necessary but it does make life much easier for you and the scorpion. I can't recommend it strongly enough, I'm certain it has saved the lives of many of my scorpions when I've been on holiday or just lax in care, they can be left for months, as the substrate dries they just dig deeper, without a false bottom they just become dessicated and die.
    Anyway, do your research and enjoy! :)
  3. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Hi, I ended up making a thread to illustrate the point about false bottoms. I'm not suggesting an enclosure with these dimensions unless the scorp is small but you'll see the point I'm trying to make, even if some disagree.
    For me, absolutely necessary or not, false bottoms just make life so much easier for me and my critters, it gives me peace of mind and allows for being too busy, being on holiday or just being too lazy.
    https://tarantulaforum.com/threads/false-bottom.23366/
  4. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Yes, that's why a false bottom can work well, water is added from below so the surface is dry. :)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  5. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    Yesterday I moved its hide so that I could see it better. I also sprayed a corner with water. I am going to add more substrate now.
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  6. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    ! :)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  7. Arachnoclown

    Arachnoclown Well-Known Member Premium Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Dave, You dont have "Arachnogod" under your name. Your experience doesn't matter.;)
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  8. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    .
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  9. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    I deleted my posts relating to the... Argument? Maybe it was constructive criticism;)? I don't know. Anyways, back to scorpion talk. The dune is doing pretty well. I am getting the sand wet in some places and then allowing it to dry out and become hard enough for the scorpion to burrow a little into it. I might even get more sand to add also. If I got more sand and added it I could take out the hide and allow it to burrow if I can get enough of the sand hardened.
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  10. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    Here are photos:
    IMG_0770.JPG IMG_0769.JPG
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  11. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    So I did a bit more research on these and I still find that they are a burrowing species and not a scrape dweller as you were told initially so the extra sand would seem to be a good idea. Of course they can be kept with shallow substrate and a hide but that wouldn't be very natural for fossorial species, better suited to a surface foraging species that would usually shelter under leaf litter or rocks at night without making a permanent scrape or burrow.
    The best way to make sand firm so that it holds a burrow well is to start with damp sand and add it bit by bit, firming each layer as you add it. Then I like to make starter burrows with a pen or similar and leaving them in place I spray the surface and wash any stray sand off of the walls and decor, the pen or similar is then removed. If you use distilled or demineralised water there are no water marks left on the sides of the enclosure.
    Because this species "hates moisture", meaning it is susceptible to mycosis (fungal infections) in a humid environment it may be worth housing the scorpion in tub for a few days while the surface of the sand dries. Mycosis is not likely to occur in just a few days but wet sand can cement itself to the exoskeleton and this may provide a handhold for mycosis in the future. In Mark Newtons book on keeping scorpions he mentions washing sand off by standing the scorpion in water and brushing sand off with a wet paintbrush! Not something I really want to do, but then he has experienced mycosis developing through sand stuck to scorpions legs so maybe it's worthwhile!
    These scorpions do seem very similar to the Urodacus yaschenkoi I keep, except that perhaps they stray further from their burrows looking for prey than yaschenkoi do, even in captivity they stay at the burrows entrance most times. That possibly makes them a more interesting pet, although I do like my yaschenkoi!
    Here's a few phone pictures of my enclosures for yaschenkoi, some show how well the sand holds a burrow, the tall enclosures have been moved to the table and back for feeding and maintenance for 4 or 5 years yet the sand stays firm and the burrows hold.
    IMG_20190112_182500.jpg IMG_20190112_181450.jpg IMG_20190112_181641.jpg IMG_20190112_182627.jpg
    Not to harp on about false bottoms, you keep your scorpions as you see fit, but when I looked back at the post I thought it illustrates the point I was trying to make. No water is ever added to the surface at all, water is added from the bottom, just enough to stop the layer of peat at the base drying out. In one of the pictures you can see that the peat in one enclosure is lighter than the others, I will add 10ml of distilled water when I feed next and that will be all for at least a month. Although, except for directly above the peat the sand would feel dry to us if I were to tip it out (chip it out more likely, it's like cement!), the moisture from the peat is working it's way up in degrees that a desert scorpion can detect. The depth of the burrow and then the position of the scorpion in the burrow allow the scorpion to find the perfect humidity at any one time, when a higher humidity is wanted, perhaps for moulting, the burrow is blocked. So no problems with moulting or brumation (hibernation, diapause?), no dessicated scorpions through lack of humidity, no mycosis due to high humidity, and having a large amount of substrate provides a more stable temperature. To me it really makes sense but I'll say no more! :)
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 12:39 AM
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  12. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    Ok thanks! I currently do not have an enclosure deep enough to do that though. I may be able to add more substrate, who knows. It's really cool how you made the tubes in the enclosure so you can add moisture to the bottom! (That is what those are for, right?)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 7:58 AM
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  13. Avicularia Kael

    Avicularia Kael Active Member

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    I made a little starter burrow for it, but it completely ignores it, instead hiding deeper into the cork bark.
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  14. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Yes, those tubes go to the very bottom and are covered by a rigid plastic grid. I use straws or similar in other enclosures but those in the pictures are self cleaning fish tanks, exactly what you would design if you were designing ready made false bottom enclosures for inverts, all you need to do is turn the elbow piece so it faces up rather than down. A cheap import shop chain had them for $10 each, I bought 13 then got an advance on my pension to buy what all that were left in the state, which was only 20 more. They filled up so I bought 15 normal Betta tanks from eBay, which filled up so now I'm buying these ultra-clear food storage containers with the same dimensions (4x4x10") from the supermarket! They're filling up too lol!. And I just ordered 4 more tarantulas and an ant queen this weekend! My wife might have a point about me getting carried away, I have about 70 enclosures around that size and 8 14" to 16" aquariums all holding inverts. I also have 8 aquariums between 3' and 5' set up that hold fish, lizards and frogs. My backyard also has bird aviaries around the whole fence line and 3 ponds but I gave bird keeping away in 2015 as my health conditions leave me unable to walk at times and it wasn't fair on the birds. Fish, herps and inverts are more forgiving of lapses in care, they don't die if they are out of food or water for a day or two.
    It sounds crazy when I start listing my animals I know, but I've always been like this ever since I was old enough to remember.
  15. Hemolymph

    Hemolymph Member

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    @Dave Jay your enclosure are top notch for scorpions. I’ve been keeping scorpions for a while with a similar set up but yours are far more superior. Thanks for sharing
  16. ilovebrachys

    ilovebrachys Active Member

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    yes thanks @Dave Jay for sharing-always lovely to hear to hear someones enjoying there hobby, and doing a fantastic job to boot;)
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  17. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Thanks, but they are just for burrowing desert species, so no decor as these scorpions are found in open sandy areas, other species live among the bushes and leaf litter. My other scorpion enclosures have rocks, bark and wood included and look much better.
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