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REPTILE / new pets

A Set-up Guide for Scorpions and Tarantulas

Tips for habitat, health, food and fun


6 things to know about emperor scorpions or Chilean rose hair tarantulas

  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Size: They grow up to 8 inches (20 cm)
  • Lifespan: Emperor scorpions can live up to 8 years; female Chilean rose hair tarantulas up to 15 years; males live 5-6 years
  • Genus: Scorpions and tarantulas are arachnids — part of the spider family
  • Caution: They’re venomous: tarantulas can bite, and scorpions sting with their tail
  • Did You Know: They molt their exoskeleton as they grow

How do I set up my emperor scorpion or Chilean rose hair tarantula’s home?

  • Rose Hair Tarantulas prefer the single life, while Emperor Scorpions can live in pairs or groups.
  • Keep your arachnid in a terrarium of at least 10 gallons. If you choose to get more than 1 scorpion, the terrarium size should increase.
  • Make sure the terrarium has a screened lid that locks.
  • Line the terrarium with 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) of coconut fiber or reptile bedding. Remove droppings frequently and completely change out the bedding once a month.
  • Include branches or plants in the habitat. Be sure plants are safe and not treated with chemicals.
  • Add a rock, branch or other hiding place on the side of the habitat that will become the cool side.
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Heat & light

  • Chilean rose hair tarantulas hail from Latin America, while emperor scorpions come from Equatorial Africa. Both arachnids thrive in a tropical habitat.
  • Your scorpion or tarantula’s terrarium should be warmer on one side and cooler on the other. Keep the warm side between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 30 C) and the cool side between 70 and 75 F (21 to 24 C). Use an under-tank heater to heat the warm side, if necessary. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer on each side of the terrarium.
  • The terrarium’s humidity level should be 50-80%. Mist the interior periodically with clean water from a spray bottle, if necessary, and monitor habitat moisture with a hygrometer (humidity gauge).
  • Scorpions and tarantulas need 12 hours of light a day. However, they really get their party on at night. A special night-viewing bulb will allow you to observe them with a minimum of disturbance.
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What do emperor scorpions and Chilean rose hair tarantulas eat?

Scorpions and tarantulas are insectivores and enjoy a menu of crickets, mealworms and occasional waxworms.

  • Feed your arachnid once every day or 2, at night. Only offer as much food as your scorpion or tarantula can consume by morning. Remove any leftovers.
  • Dust insects with a calcium supplement twice a week and a reptile multivitamin once a week.
  • Your arachnid should have access to a shallow bowl of clean, fresh water at all times.
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How do I keep my emperor scorpion or Chilean rose hair tarantula healthy?

Let your new arachnid settle in for 3 or 4 days before picking it up. After your scorpion or tarantula is settled in, contact a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms of distress:

  • Eating or drinking less
  • Swollen joints
  • Loss of limbs
  • Decreased activity; more time spent hiding


  • Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite (especially when stressed).
  • Scorpions and tarantulas are typically mild-tempered, but can inflict venom.
  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.


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Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.