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Hello and welcome to Animal Wonders! Today I’d like to introduce you
to Professor Claw. She’s a beautiful emperor scorpion. I love
showing her off and educating about what makes these amazing animals so
interesting. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC] This is where Professor Claw lives, and
she likes to spend her days burrowed under leaf litter or hidden under a log.
She’s most active at night, and she’ll come out and move around, sometimes
rearranging her space and making it more comfortable or better for hunting.
Professor Claw is a very docile scorpion, and that’s just her personality.
There are scorpions who are more high-strung and defensive than her, but
because she’s so easygoing, I’m able to pick her up and I can give you a closer look.
The first thing I do when I go to pick her up is to make sure I don’t
approach her like a predator might. If I come at her big and fast, she could react
defensively. I’m going to make my hand as flat as possible and move toward her
like I’m part of the ground. Being underneath her will help her
feel less threatened. Just look at her! Isn’t she beautiful? So let’s talk about how
these amazing arachnids hunt! To capture her prey, which consists
of mostly invertebrates or very small vertebrates like baby rodents,
she uses her claws to feel and grab. If you look closely, you can see little
hairs covering her claws. They’re sensitive, and by holding them in front,
she’ll be alerted to anything moving around near her. She does have eyes,
which are located on the top and also the front part of her head. They don’t have
great vision, but she can see the size of an animal in front of her. And if it’s
small enough to eat, she’ll grab and crush it with her pincers. If it’s large
and threatening, she’ll use her claws to defend herself as well as her stinger.
Emperor scorpions are the largest scorpion species in the world, but their
venom is very mild. They mainly use their large claws for attacking and defending,
but their sting does hurt and could deter a potential predator. If you want
to compare the sting to another animal, you could say it feels similar to a bee
sting. It hurts and you wouldn’t want to get stung twice, but it’s not deadly.
However, their venom is potent enough to incapacitate a small animal like a
cricket or baby rodent, which makes them easier to eat. When most people look at a
scorpion, it’s easy to think their claws are arms, but if you count their legs you
can see they have eight legs. And then, their pincers are a wholly different set
of appendages. These claws are actually pedipalps, which are
also found on spiders. They are located between their legs and their special
mouth parts called chelicerae. She uses her pedipalps to quickly
grab say, a cricket, and bring it close to her mouth and take tiny bites. Scorpion
chelicerae are really neat, and they basically look like another set of tiny
pincers. Professor Claw has been handled regularly and she’s familiar with the process,
but not all of them will be this calm. We actually rescued an adult female
years ago who ended up surprising us and giving birth to 20 scorplings. We kept
two of the babies, and Professor Claw is one of them. We also had her sister who
we named Athena. The two sisters were raised the same, but their personalities
were completely different. Athena was not a fan of being picked up at all and
would put her claws and stinger up in a defensive position whenever there was
any movement around her. Athena never settled down, and so she
never became an ambassador for our educational presentations. So that’s a
good reminder that every animal is an individual and you can never assume that
you know how they will behave just because you’ve met another of their species.
You need to take the time to get to know the personality of any animal
before trying to handle them. Okay, I’m going to put Professor Claw back in her
home now. You can see that she has a few different places where she can hide.
She likes her coconut shell hut a lot, but she’ll also crawl under the cork
bark tunnel and sometimes she’ll hang out in the back corner. She has a
good-sized water dish filled with chunks of gelatin to keep it from drying out
too quickly. She also has plenty of natural furniture to climb on
and explore. She’ll often rearrange the leaf litter
or excavate her burrows. We keep the room at about 77 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time,
and it will range from 80 down to 72. We also make sure a portion of the
substrate always stays moist while the other side stays dry. We do this by
misting the back corner daily. This way, she can choose where she wants to hang
out and regulate herself. My favorite thing about emperor scorpions is that
they have this amazing weapon: their stinger attached to the telson, which
stores venom. But they rarely use the venom and instead use their powerful
claws most of the time. Scorplings, who aren’t as powerful as an adult,
will use their stinger more frequently, often stinging their prey repeatedly
until they can no longer move. Thankfully, Professor Claw is comfortable
with me handling her, so that I can hold her and share her with others.
And thank you for letting me share her with you. If you enjoy exploring and thinking
about our natural world and the organisms that live here like I do, then
you should check out this video I recently watched called The Material World.
It takes a look at some of the most amazing structures made in nature.
You can find it on CuriosityStream, who is the sponsor of today’s video. They’re
are a subscription streaming service that offers over 2400 documentaries and
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curiositystream.com/animalwonders and use the promo code “animalwonders”
during the signup process. Thank you and I’ll see you next week!