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 Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???

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arsinalapocalypse
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PostSubject: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 9:15 am

My BF and I recently bought an Emp from a local pet store. It is a male, and we think he is past the point of molting(maybe?).
His temp is roughly 80F and humidity at 79%. hes in a glass enclosure on a bark like substrate(I didnt catch the name).
We noticed some odd things today that have raised some alarm, but we aren't sure what to make of it.
Im terribly sorry I dont know the technical names of body parts/sections. Im sure that would help my description, but I just havent put the time into learning it like my boyfriend has Razz

Anywho, he has been doing a series of movements that are odd compared to his normal behavior. He has been raising the forward section of his body into an arc position, almost like he is stretching. As well his pectine are very outstreched. He will then go into more of a relaxed position in which the cuticle at the largest part of his body is very bulged, and the underside has a pinched together look to it. Then into a relaxed and normal stance. This process happens over about 5-10 minutes.
We also noticed the segments of his tail are very crinkled looking, and a little collapsed, as if dry. It very much reminds me of a Passion fruit, ir anyone is familiar with the way they shrivel when ripe.

I've wondered if this may be a method of loosening the exoskeleton in preparation for molting, but I can not find any molting descriptions or videos that make me feel completely comfortable with that idea since we are under the impression that he is past the point of molting.
I also theorized perhaps it may be some kind of mating ritual, but this too seems unlikely.
We simply do not yet know enough yet!

Ideas, comments? All and any feedback is highly welcomed!
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 9:33 am

Hi welcome to the forum Smile

if it was the back end of the scorpion that was being raised up i would have said it was stilting , they raise there rear ends up in the air to regulate there temperature but as its the front end i dunnno whats going on there, can you get any pics up at all?

this is our female emp stilting normally it looks a bit more extreme than this lol...






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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 9:38 am

I think we took some earlier. I was just looking over another post you had made talking of silting, I think it was? Im sooo dyslexic, lol. Anywho, Ill find my camera and see if we have pics or if I can snap a few.
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arsinalapocalypse
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 10:08 am

Ok, here are the image links. These are to my facebook, so if you can not view them, let me know. Im putting them on photobucket as well, just in case.







It's a little hard to see the tail clearly because of the reflection i was getting from the glass, but the segments seem a little concave and shriveled looking, mostly in segments near where tail meets body.
I only have the images of the arching, and unfortunately none of the scrunching.
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arsinalapocalypse
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 10:15 am

grr. ok, waiting for the uploads to finish on PB then.
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arsinalapocalypse
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 10:40 am

Finally, lol.






photobucket.com/emperor_arch for additional pix
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shanos
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 11:02 am

hi welcome to the forum never seen a scorp do that before but wot i would say is if u could change the substrate to eco earth as this substrate holds humidity better and give him about six inchs of the stuff because emps love to dig and create burrows . the substrate u have in at the min looks really dry as for the scrunchin up i cant really help there sorry Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 11:05 am

Thanks for the tip! Im so glad I found this forum. most other sites say something along the lines of 'just put in substrate' as opposed to any detailed information! We are going to fix the depth and type this week for sure Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 11:11 am

your welcome and this forums great everybodys really friendly and will help u out as much as they can they helped me loads i only got my first scorps about two months ago and everyone helped me loads lol . eco earth is prob one of the best substrates to use as it holds the humidity really well . mine love diggin in it and its also prety cheap aswell lol Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 11:55 am

wow thats strange thats the first time ive seen that hmmm i have to say it doesnt look good Sad deffo change the substrate asap you need 4-6 inches at least of cocoa fiber as they like to burrow, heres a link to a care sheet...

http://scorpionforum.darkbb.com/t38-pandinus-imperator-and-most-heterometrus-spp-tropical-forest-scorpions

fingers crossed for the lil guy though hope he is ok, does look adult to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 11:57 am

Welcome to the forum. When I first I read it I thought the same as Bex that it was stilting to regulate it's body temperature. Also thought it could have been cleaning it's stinger or just one of the weird positions they get into sometimes but now I've seen the pic it looks like none of those and I've never seen this behaviour before.

I'd definitely change the substrate as soon as you can to coco fibre/eco earth for humidity and burrowing purposes, does look very dry in there. I see what you mean about the crinkled/collapsed parts but I've seen worse (Peloquins Emp?) and I think it is due to being too dry, I'd get her tank nice and moist and maybe cover the top to up the humidity.

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 2:29 pm

That looks almost like a female trying to give birth, from my experience.

As others have said, change the substrate ASAP. If it is a gravid female, the young won't have a good chance of survival in that dry of an environment.

Also, provide a good hide so she can go somewhere that feels safe and secure.

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 7:41 pm

Thank you all very much for the input!

Just out of curiosity, how long is the gestation period on emperors? We have had him for nearly 9 months now, so it seems unlikely to me that he may be a she and pregnant. Once again, I will add that I am not the main care giver, so I have a lot less knowledge on them than my boyfriend!

We are going to change out the substrate today, and hopefully get some things for him to climb, a new misting bottle and maybe even an additional hide.
Here is a wide shot of his whole environment:



His temperature and humidity actually stay very stable considering the substrates dry appearance. But reading more yesterday, I think I may have identified a potential culprit in his bodies dryness. We have a lamp that stands about a foot from his cage. It just a standard light bulb, but he def gets way too many light hours with it. I have also noticed a lot of people talk about a heat pad. If his levels are fairly well maintained, is this still suggested?

As well, I've been reading up on diet. We have had him on strictly super worms, as he has repeatedly refused crickets in the past. We have been speaking about getting pinkies, but none of our local pet stores carry live. Can you request them from major pet stores like petco or petland?
We do have a friend that is a feeder rat breeder/exotic pet enthusiast who is about to have pinkies, and we are def going to get one from her to give it a go.

Is the refusal of crickets from an affinity to the worms, like is he spoiled?
Is there a method of breaking this habit if that is true?

Im sure Ill have more questions as more responses come! Thank you all again for the great information!
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/18/2011, 8:04 pm

It looks rather porkie. Try not feeding it for a couple of weeks and then give it some crickets. I bet it will take them readily.

As for feeding it mice, that is not suggested. Many people are quite averse to the idea of feeding vertebrates to invertebrates and feel it is cruel. The main reason not to is the very high calcium level in animals with bones. Your scorpion does not need that much calcium, and could potentially die from a diet of mice. Also it makes a huge mess. Cleaning up after your scorp is essential to prevent mites and other potentially harmful invaders like ants.

Superworms are very fatty feeders and don't provide as many essential nutrients as crickets, or even better cockroaches.

As for the lighting/heating concern, it is advisable to use an infrared heat bulb. The infrared light heats very well, and will not disturb your pet. A heat pad can be used, but should be placed outside the glass, on the side or back of the tank above "ground" level, or in other words above the line of the substrate. You may find it difficult to heat an emp's enclosure with a heat pad alone as they are designed to provide a hot spot for reptiles, and not to actually heat up the air.

Cheers!

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/19/2011, 3:14 am

I also agree you should switch the substrate to something softer like coco fiber so he can dig. He also might need a better hiding spot like a half log partially covered in the new substrate.

Also street is right move that lamp and just get him a 25 or 50 watt infared bulb that screws into one of those ceramic light fixtures and clip it on to the side of the tank shining down above on one side.
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/19/2011, 4:41 am

I might think as a first aid, is to spray all of that cage entirely wet, walls and all. Try to avoid the scorpion directly.. but it might not harm it.

It is too dry in there imho.. Has it eaten a lot?

What seems out of proportion is that though the tergites are not too far apart, he/she really has a drinking belly. She holds that weight to the floor and her pectines off of it.

Are the pectines damaged? Walking across bark like that might have injured it on the underside? It is all just guesswork, but i would spray all of it and change the substrate as it indeed is stressy for the scorpion not to be able to dig.

Animals which have stress, do the strangest things. To give you an idea, some parrots that need a mate/friend can die or kill itself from loneliness. Try to give the animal what its basic needs are. Moistureness, heat and food. I also witnessed scorps that ate too much give weird stances.

That said, it really looks quite good! Awesome style of tank.. and the lid is great to keep moistureness in.. So I'd say try to solve some of the issues at hand and see if he/she keeps doing it.

If a scorpion is gravid, the underside of the back end swells up and yellow/white little dots can be seen slightly through the membrane. Usualy the tergits go further apart, but nothing major as we can see in porker scorps.

As Street pointed out I have to join him. Feeding mice to inverts has more to do with the owner wanting to see blood flow (not pointing at you in any way).

It is in no way a good combination of nutrients. As S. said it contains calcium which (much like your fingernail, if you have a calcium-rich diet... your fingernails, which basically is similar to chitin, gets much stiffer) It does not add anything to the scorpion. In fact for inverts that still moult it can be dangerous, as with our fingernails, their exoskeleton is too hard to shed right.

Enjoy your stay here!
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/19/2011, 5:40 am

defo get an infer red bulb and change the substrate as street said superworms are very fatty for them ur better of feeding him crickets/roachs/and locust and to make sure there geting all the nutriants they need feed and water the prey items cos the scorps get all the vitamins and nutriants they need from the prey (dont know if u doing this already) .dont worry about him not feeding he will eat when hes hungry scorps can go months without eating .as for feeding mice like street said they are very high in calcium and have no nutrinal value to the scorps i also know that in spiders if you feed mice the calcium in them can effect the molt and cause death . i think hes an adult by the way cos he has a red telson (stinger) hope ive helped a bit lol Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/19/2011, 12:13 pm

The gestation of emperor scorps can be anywhere from a year to 18 months. To confirm / deny this possibility, we'd need a clear shot of the underside.

As has been said, mealworms are quite fatty. Scorpions can fast for many months without problem, so I second the suggestion of not feeding for a few weeks and then offering some crickets.

Also seconding the idea of a better hide once the enclosure is redone. Smile

Best of luck!

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/20/2011, 7:28 am

No kidding?! That's crazy! I had no idea their gestation could last so long for their size nor fluctuate so much!

Thanks for the information on that for sure!
We are changing out the substrate today, adding a better hide and picking up some crickets and looking into roaches and potentially the idea of starting a roach colony if it seems like something we can properly maintain in our room.
As well, we have moved the lamp to the other side of the room so the extra light will not be a bother any longer.
We have decided to skip the infrared bulb/heat pad at the moment, simply because it's heat stays well within the range that it should be. If we begin to experience fluctuations or unhealthy ranges we may invest in one, but it just seems unnecessary if he receives no real benefit from it.

As we are changing out the substrate, I will see what I can do about getting some pix of the underside of our little buddy without stressing it too bad.

A new question:
Because of the shallowness of our tank, we have decided to shape the plexiglass cover we have been using to maintain his levels into more of a lid so he can not climb out. Unfortunately this keeps the very solid tank from breathing. My current plan is to drill 6 holes roughly 1/8 inch diameter.
Is this going to be enough air flow, or should I go with a few more holes? I don't want it to suffocate but I don't want it to be breezy either!
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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/20/2011, 7:46 am

Good ventilation is very important so would be better to do loads of smaller holes all over the lid Smile or see if you can get some fine wire mesh? Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Unusual behavior has us worried! Anyone have any ideas???   5/20/2011, 8:29 am

We will have to do holes unfortunately. I'd like to do a wire mesh eventually, but to be honest, this tank is nearly a hundred years old, and the dimensions are wacky! without custom making one, theres no way we could find a wire mesh top to match the measures.

But that def answered my question!
I raised a ball python for a couple of years in a customized old floor model television. I went a little wild with his breath holes in the back panel however and ended up having to keep a blanket over the back of the tank all winter long.

I just didnt want to over do it. Ill go with a smaller bit and im thinking I can go probably one hole per every 3 square inches, around 15 holes.

Anywho, I think we are going to get out the door and to the pet store Very Happy
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