Fauna of Hill Palace is the end result or the product of the Fauna diversity study which was conducted inside the premises of Hill Palace. Hill Palace is the prestigious seat of the Cochin Rajas, which now is a Centre of tourist attraction for its heritage building, garden, museum and study centre. 

The faunal diversity study started in the mid 2009 and we submitted the initial checklist by the end of November. We got permission to improve on our study and was asked to write a book based on it. The book contains brief description of a variety of fauna, right from Spiders, butterflies, birds, amphibians and Reptiles. We have also tried our best to make it the best field guide available to understand the basic and most commonly found fauna of Cochin.  
You can order the book by sending an M.O (Money Order)

Book Name :- The Fauna of Hill Palace
Authors :- Sandeep Varma and Gokul Vinayan

Centre for Heritage Studies,
Hill Palace, Tripunithura - 682301
Ernakulam District, Kerala.

Ph - 0091484-2776374, 0091484-2779102

The book costs only Rs.100/- plus postage charges (I have no idea how much the postage charge will be). 

If you have any inquiries, you can call up the numbers given above or call me - +91 903-789-8766.

Heterometrus scaber is one of the least studied scorpions under the genus Heterometrus. I found this adult female from inside the premises of Hill Palace while we were doing our 'Fauna of Hill Palace' faunal diversity study. The adult female was gravid when I found it and was placed in a well maintained terrarium. The specimen did react good in captivity and towards the end of may2010, the female was seen digging burrow into the loose sand and no longer used the wooden bamboo plank as its hide. She was rarely seen outside except while feeding.

The gestation period of Heterometrus species is 8-12 months (The Biology of Scorpions - Gary A. Polis) while some families exhibit lesser period. I have observed very complex maternal care and hatchling interaction and I believe this complex behavior is directly proportionate to its gestation period. Most of the scorpions, especially Heterometrus species give birth to live scorplings and towards the end of June2010, she gave birth to a litter of 36 scorplings (The Biology of Scorpions - Gary A. Polis). The adult female carried the scorplings on her back for several weeks until their first molt. 

Several interesting observations were made like,
  • The adult female scanning the whole terrarium before she leave the scorplings for a walk outside.
  • Scorplings feeding directly from the adult female's mouth. The female showed no aggression or resistance while the scorplings had their meal
  • Cannibalistic behavior within the litter when a less matured or injured scorpling was eaten by others etc.
These are just a few behaviors that I've noted in Heterometrus scaber scorpions in captivity. There's a lot more coming up.