it's a horrible 'summers' day here, my road has turned into a river and I'm stuck inside with nothing to do. A good excuse to write a HOW TO me thinks.......
The topic of how to pick up a scorpion properly comes up from time to time so I thought I would share my methods of capturing and moving my scorpions. I take a completely hands off approach with all my scorpions and have so far never had any incidents, stings, dropages etc. so either I'm just lucky or I'm doing something right.The Tub Method
This is my preferred choice when capturing a scorpion. It's easy, there's very little risk of being stung and most importantly there is no way the scorpion can be dropped and potentially injured.
Tools for this method are a cricket tub with a lid and a pair of tongs. I like using cricket tubs because they are transparent so you can always see where the scorpion is, they have a tight fitting lid, and they're rectangular/long meaning you can hold the top end of the tub whilst the bottom end is in the scorpions enclosure, keeping your fingers well away from the annoyed stingy thing your trying to catch.Step 1:
Find the scorpion. Carefully uncover your scorpion from where ever it is hiding using tongs to avoid being stung. Note how he was originally hiding upside down underneath the top piece of bark. Once he was disturbed he immediately began dashing around the bark and could have easily ended up stinging me if I had used my hands.Step 2:
Once you have removed the hides and the scorpion is on the substrate place the tub in a corner flush with one side of the enclosure. These cricket tubs are great as they only have a small lip and are nice and square so they will stand up without me holding it.Step 3:
Now it's time to guide the scorpion into the tub. The trick is to avoid moving the tub until the scorpion is in it and instead use the tongs to show it the way it needs to go. If you move the tub you'll find that the vibrations/movement will make the scorpion turn and flee away from it as it thinks the threats is coming from that direction now.Step 4:
Once the scorpion has made it into the tub, carefully, but swiftly, tip the tub into an upright position. Woooop success.Step 5:
Get the lid on. These tubs have a really solid fitting lid but if you are using something with a bit of a flimsy lid wrap an elastic band around it or use a bit of sticky tape to avoid the scorpion pushing the lid open and sneaking out.
The scorpion is now safe and secure and your free to mess about with its enclosure, move it to a new one or whatever you were going to do with it.Step 6:
To release your scorpion, place the tub, with the lid on, into the enclosure. Carefully remove the lid and tip the tub so that the scorpion can make its way out. Freedom!!!The Tweezer/Forceps/Tongs Method
This is another common way to capture a scorpion and involves using a long pair of forceps to pick up the scorpion by its metasoma (tail). I use a pair of 10'' forceps that are tipped with a draught strip type material. It's a little trickier than the tub method because once a scorpion becomes aware of your presence they'll try their hardest not to let you anywhere near their metasoma. Also, in my opinion, there is a slightly higher chance of an accident such as injuring your scorpion when using this method, although it can often be the only way you can capture a scorpion that is playing hard to get. This method should never
be used on species with thin metasomas that have comparatively large, heavy bodies, such as Hadogenes spp., Iomachus spp. etc.Step 1:
Again, locate the scorpion by removing its hide using forceps.Step 2:
Carefully, but quickly, attempt to grab the scorpion by its metasoma.Step 3:
Grab the scorpion by the metasoma. I always aim for around the 2nd segment away from the mesosoma (body) so that less stress is put on the metasoma and the scorpion is also then less able to curl around and grab the forceps. Apply enough pressure to have a good grip of the scorpion.Step 4:
Once you have a hold of the scorpion, quickly lift it and place it into a tub. If you can place the tub in the enclosure of the scorpion do so. If you drop it, you're then only back at step 2 instead of chasing it around the house. If this is not possible have the tub in a convenient place close to the enclosure.Step 5:
Lid on, and follow steps 5 and 6 of the previous method.Moving young/very small scorpions
Many of my 2i scorplings are absolutely tiny so a lot of care has to be taken when moving them as it would be very easy to end up crushing one.
The method I use is basically the same as the tub method described above, with a few little differences.Step 1:
Locate the scorpion. In this case it's a little 2i Iomachus politus. Awwwww.Step 2:
Place a small container into the scorpions enclosure (deli cup lol). Again, I like to use clear containers so that I can easily see what is going on. Step 3:
Next, I use a small paintbrush to quide the little scorpion into the container. I have big shakey hands, so the soft brush avoids the risk of me crushing the scorpion.Step 4:
Once the scorpion is in the container, gently tip it up right and put the lid on. Success again.Sexing your scorpion
This section is not about how to sex your scorpion but how to get it into a good postion to have a close look at it's pectines and/or genital operculum. I have also used this method to look at the trichobothria on a scorpions chelae for identification purposes.Step 1:
Use one of the first two methods above to get your scorpion into a transparent tub. Once the scorpion is into the tub, try and manoeuvre it so it sits in the middle of it.Step 2:
Next, get a small soft towel that is loosely folded up and very gently place it on top of the scorpion. The scorpion should now be 'pinned' to the bottom of the tub and unable to move. Be careful here in case the scorpion has managed to move its metasoma round the side of the towel. This can happen if you do not apply equal pressure over the whole scorpion.Step 3:
Once you are sure the scorpion is secure it is safe to lift the tub up, always keeping pressure on the towel so that the scorpion cannot move. You can now tip the tub upside down and get a good look at its underside.
If you are wanting to take photos of the pectines, operculum etc. to 'blow up' on the computer or post on forums for a second opinion, you can also put the lid on the tub so that the scorpion is held in place, then you have both hands free to use a camera.
I like this method as you're not holding a tub above your head trying to get a decent look at the scorpion, plus the scorpion is held in place so you can get a clear look/photo of the bits you need.
There's a few more bits I think I'm going to add but I'll leave it here for today.
If anyone has got any suggestions, please feel free to add them.