Flat Rock Scorpions Don’t do Schenker Solos

Flat Rock Scorpion

You’re at your local pet store peering through the glass of the enclosures. You see the Bearded Dragons Pogona vitticeps, Leopard GeckosEublepharis macualriusand Emperor Scorpions Pandinus imperator. All the usual suspects, but today you’re looking for something different you’re tired of the same old herps and spiders. You look into the next enclosure and see a background made to look like a shale cliff face. Nothing looks to be moving around. Looking down, you read the tag. Flat Rock Scorpion Hadogenes troglodyte; wait Troglodytes? Wasn’t that a creature from a D&D Game? You stare intensely at the cliff face, and then you see it. It’s been there all along, but you wouldn’t have noticed had you not read the tag. It’s one of the strangest looking creatures on earth.
At first glance most people think of Flat Rock Scorpions Hadogenes troglodytes as a flattened Emperor Scorpion Pandinus imperator.

While the Flat Rock Scorpion Hadogenes troglodytes are not as rare as it once was in the industry, it’s still not an everyday species. Most keepers that have them or people who are importing them will generally recommend them to only advanced keepers, who’ve had experience with keeping other species. While true, they are a delicate species, there is no reason why someone new to Arachnid keeping would have trouble keeping them at all.  Anyone who is willing to dedicate the time and resources would be a perfect candidate to keep one of these interesting creatures and even potentially breed them.

Keeping Flat Rock Scorpions

There are currently 17 species identified in the Hadogenes genus, 2 of these have only recently been classified. Today we are covering the Hadogenes troglodytes in this article as these are the most commonly available in the trade.  For any species of reptile, amphibian, or invertebrate pet we find it best to offer them the closest possible environment we can resembling their wild environment. This elicits behaviors that are not seen in what some call the common captive environment which is a sparsely decorated enclosure with a water bowl. To recreate their natural environment we have compiled a list of included materials.

  • 10 gallon enclosure
  • 65 watt ceramic heater
  • 75 watt rated reflector with ceramic socket
  • 50lb bag of washed play sand
  • 1 bag organic potting soil (perlite fee)
  • 20 to 25 pieces of slate rock or flagstone
  • Aquarium silicone
  • Shallow water bowl

We recommend that you use a 10 gallon regular enclosure with a sliding screen lid as opposed to a 10 gallon breeder enclosure.The breeder type enclosures allow for easier escapes since they are shorter, this makes the lids easy to reach for this long scorpion. Scorpions are very adept at exploiting any weakness found in their enclosure. This could be a small hole or even pushing the screen open of an unpinned lid. They could do the same with a normal 10 gallon enclosure if it’s not decorated properly and the slate or branches within are placed near the top.

The first thing to tackle, when it comes to Flat Rock Scorpions Hadogenes troglodytes’ captive care is that of substrate. To recreate the natural environment of this African scorpion that’s native to areas known as Bushveldts we need first to identify what a Bushveldt is. Bushveldts are savanna areas which have soil types considered to be coarse and sandy. In order to give the scorpion a feeling of home we mix 3 parts washed play sand to 1 part potting soil. The potting soil allows for some humidity, that the scorpion requires for proper health conditions. This humidity in the wild comes from the 4 to 8 months of rainfall common to the area.

From the limited reports of their wild habitats, we have been able to access, the Flat Rock Scorpion Hadogenes troglodytes lives its entire life at the bottom of granite and sandstone hills. These hills are constantly splitting and cracking due to changing weather conditions. Adults and babies are usually found in separate areas on the same hill and do not compete for resources. With this in mind we have a couple of options for enclosure décor and design.

Scorpions in the Walls

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can use aquarium silicone to glue the slate pieces to the back of the enclosure with separations between using pieces of wooden doweling. I would give a spacing between the slate pieces of ½” to ¾”. The scorpion will then be able to climb into the spaces easily during the day and then come out at night as it would do in the wild. With the slate being on the back wall, this is a potential maintenance nightmare; you wouldn’t be able to clean the enclosure easily.

Another option is to use the same materials but this time, put them together in a horizontal setting and this way you would be able to remove the entire rock piece as one and clean as needed. This is the best option and it’s definitely easier maintenance. In a captive environment this is the method we have used and have had success with. Instead of doweling you can chip off pieces of flagstone or slate and use these to separate the levels of the larger pieces that make up the platforms where the scorpion will rest. All of the ledges and shelves must be secured to singular large base piece to offer stability.

After the above is glued and allowed to dry for 2 to 3 days its time to place this into the enclosure itself. Place the network directly onto the floor of the enclosure prior to putting in any substrate as this will prevent any injuries should the scorpion attempt to burrow beneath the shelves.  Pour in the substrate which has been mixed as we instructed earlier and while most of this should be poured onto the bottom there is no reason to brush off all the individual shelves.

Not doing so will give the entire enclosure a natural appearance. The substrate should be at a depth of 3”-4” in total. Since this species is not known for burrowing there is no need to provide the pre-dug burrows as we have mentioned in other scorpion articles here on this site.

Lighting per se is not a requirement for any scorpion species or arachnids for that matter. If you do want to add a light of some type the best way to do so is with an under cabinet fluorescent light fixture. These can be purchased at most home improvement or hardware stores. If you plan on adding live plants to create a vivarium, then I would definitely use a plant grow bulb to simulate natural sunlight for the plants. I would also use an inexpensive lighting timer to place the light on a regular schedule of daytime that matches the daylight cycle of your area.

As far as heating is concerned I use a 65 watt ceramic heating element.  This is enough to achieve the required 80-85 degree Fahrenheit baking spot required. Make sure to use a reflector which has a ceramic socket as well. The other plastic ones have a tendency to melt at high heat levels.  The rest of the enclosure should be maintained at 70-75 Degrees Fahrenheit. Under Tank Heaters or UTH are not able to heat the thick substrates, so these are useless.

Another lighting element that can be used with all scorpion species is a black light. For whatever reason, black lights cause all scorpions to fluoresce an eerie bluish-green color. Why this happens is still unknown to science. It does make for a very interesting vivarium look when the scorpion is out and about wandering at night.

Feeding of the Flat Rock Scorpion Hadogenes troglodytes is the same as it is for most other arachnid species. Feed only 2-3 appropriate size crickets per week. Babies will eat pinhead size crickets, while adults will consume full-grown ones. Maintenance of the enclosure itself consists of removing fecal material as it is seen. Monthly dump the entire substrate out and clean the entire enclosure with a bleach and water solution of 1 capful of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Wash out the enclosure with the solution and then rinse it out repeatedly until you can no longer smell bleach. Replace the substrate and décor and for a little variety move the basking spot to a new area.

While the Flat Rock Scorpion Hadogenes troglodytes is considered a delicate species it will bring many years of enjoyment to the new and old arachnid keeper who is tired of the same old species in their enclosures and is not as hard to maintain as some may think it is. Follow the outlined care above and enjoy the species as a new addition to your home.