Area of zoo
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Data Deficient
Scientific name
Pandinus imperator
West Africa

What do emperor scorpions look like? 

Emperor scorpions are black in colour and feature a long curved tail and two large pincers. Under UV light emperor scorpions fluoresces a blue colour. They glow because of molecules in their exoskeleton - this may alert it to being exposed to light and encourage it to seek shelter.

Emperor scorpion facts

  • One of the largest scorpions in the world. Females carry the young on their backs, which are pearly white when born.
  • Emperor scorpions are distant cousins of spiders.
  • Emperor scorpions depend on their large claws to hunt and protect themselves, and only have a mildly venomous sting. 
  • Emperor scorpions are most active at night and rely on sensory hairs on their body to find prey, making up for their poor vision.

What do emperor scorpions eat?

A wide range of species including insects, lizards and occasionally small mammals.

Emperor scorpion sting

Emperor scorpions are unlikely to sting, and their sting is not powerful and is similar to a bee sting. As a general rule scorpions with larger claws have less powerful stings, because they are more dependent on their claws for hunting, whereas scorpions with small claws often have the most dangerous stings. 

Emperor scorpion lifespan 

6-8 year lifespan

Emperor scorpions average length


Emperor scorpion threats

They are at risk of being over harvested for the pet trade, and emperor scorpions are protected by CITES to prevent over-collecting. 

Invertebrates at the Zoo

  • FSP logo
    Ease or eliminate the condition of arachnophobia

    Friendly Spider Programme

    Join us for a session with a hynotherapist and zookeeper, and let us help you overcome your fear of spiders.

  • Golden orb spider at London Zoo Spider walk-through
    Nephila edulis

    Golden orb weaver

    Male golden orb weavers can be tiny, with the females being up to 50 times his size.  

  • Madagascar Orb Weaver in a web
    Nephila inaurata madagascariensis

    Madagascar orb weaver

    One of the largest orb weaving spiders, which can spin webs up to 1 metre wide. The female spiders are six times bigger than the males.

  • Giant African land snail on someone's hand
    Achatina achatina

    Giant African land snail 

    The giant African land snail can reach a kilogram in weight, and is one of the most invasive animals in the world.

  • Postman butterfly wings closed on a leaf
    Heliconius melpomene

    Postman butterfly

    This poisonous Mexican butterfly stores the toxins it eats as a caterpillar as protection from predators.

  • Leafcutter ant carrying flower
    Atta cephalotes

    Leafcutter ant

    They can carry up to 50 times their own body weight and collect leaves to provide food for the fungus they farm.

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