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 Molting/Care for H. arizonensis and setup advice

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TheKevil
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PostSubject: Molting/Care for H. arizonensis and setup advice   10/22/2013, 3:50 pm

Alrighty... So after the successful molt of my H. arizonensis, I was asked to write up my care method for my specimen so that maybe it will help others have similar success. I hope this helps!

So I'll start from the beginning... Setting up the enclosure:

I use a mix of sand and excavator clay (about 60/40 sand/clay) to allow for easy, stable burrowing. I put a good 4-6" of substrate in to allow for lots of burrowing room. I wet the substrate down to allow the clay to bond the sand together and form the terrain of the enclosure. I use pieces of flat sandstone and slate to make hides and ridges and decorate the enclosure. I put 2 heat lamps inside the enclosure (with the scorpion in a separate, temporary enclosure, of course) to dry the substrate, which I leave in for 3 days. This next part is important, in my opinion- I only leave the lamps in for the 3 days so that the bottom layers of substrate remain humid and do not dry completely. This allows the burrow to be more humid than the surface of the enclosure, exactly like it would be in the natural environment. Once the substrate is dry for the first few inches, I put in my cactus or other floral decorations (don't put them in before the heat lamps because they will kill your flora) and sprinkle a good layer of loose sand over the entire surface of the substrate. That's about it on the actual terrain setup of it.

Maintenance:
For heat, I use a double layer of 3" FlexWatt heat tape which I attach to the back wall of the enclosure. This allows a good amount of heat at the back (95-97 F/35-36.5 C) and a gradient throughout the entire enclosure with temperatures at the front being cooler at 85-90F (29-32C). In normal times, I leave the heat on for daytime hours and turn it completely off at night. My room stays at about 75F (23.9C) at night. During the last stage of molting, however, when the specimen escaped into the burrow and didn't come out for a while, I left the heat on 24/7.

For humidity, I kept the surface pretty dry for the most part. No spraying at all except for small amounts around the cactus every few weeks to keep it alive. Also, once every 2-3 weeks, I poured a little bit of water down the back wall of the enclosure. This allowed water to seep down into the back part of the substrate and keep the bottom layers hydrated. The FlexWatt on the back wall ensured that the surface substrate dried out pretty quickly, so as not to keep the air too humid.

For lighting, I don't use any at all except for ambient lighting in my room. No heat lamps as these will dry the bottom layers of the substrate out too quickly and cause undue stress on the scorpion. Every day I open my curtains so that natural sunlight comes in. My shelf that I keep all my specimens on is across the room from the window, but light still comes through and hits the enclosures.

That's about it. Other than that, I would just say that once the scorpion goes to burrow and you don't see it again for a while, leave it be. Don't worry and dig it up and disturb it, as this may cause it stress and cause the molt to go bad. I dug mine up after a few months of her being in her burrow, but I got lucky and found her shortly after her molt finished. Others may not have the same luck, so be really careful.

If you guys have any questions, just let me know. I hope this helps.
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TheKevil
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PostSubject: Re: Molting/Care for H. arizonensis and setup advice   10/22/2013, 3:52 pm

I'll get pictures posted up soon, also.
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~Abyss~
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PostSubject: Re: Molting/Care for H. arizonensis and setup advice   10/22/2013, 3:58 pm

Nice thanks for the write up!
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