Scorpions have fearsome reputations, but though there are over 2,000 species, only about 30 have venom toxic enough to kill a human. All scorpions have eight legs and, like spiders, belong to the arachnid family. Though most scorpions like warm climates, they live in every part of the world except Antarctica, tending to congregate around areas where they can easily find prey. All scorpions are nocturnal and find their prey by sensing the vibrations around them. They are capable of eating a large amount of food at one time, but some species can also go for up to a year without eating or drinking at all. Here are some of the most notorious species of scorpion.
Known in many cultures as the man killer, fat-tailed scorpions are among the most dangerous species of scorpion in the world. Their venom can kill a person within minutes. They are found in the drier parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Moderately-sized as far as scorpions go, they grow to just under four inches in length. Their penchant for seeking shelter in dark, close places like under rocks also causes them to hide in crawl spaces and between bricks in homes, where they pose a threat to the inhabitants.
The frightening name of this species of scorpion says it all. Its venom is a mixture of highly dangerous neurotoxins. Its intensely painful sting does not normally kill an adult, but can be fatal to children, the elderly, and those with heart conditions or who are allergic. The deathstalker scorpion inhabits North Africa and the Middle East, where they prefer warm, humid areas. Growing three to four inches in length, they have large claws and yellow or green coloration. Besides the pain, the sting causes extreme swelling and drowsiness. An anti-venom is available, but it must be administered quickly in order to be effective.
The emperor scorpion inhabits the African rainforest or savanna. It is one of the largest scorpion species in the world, growing up to eight inches in length. Dark in color, emperor scorpions have wide pincers and long tails. Though they are frightening to look at, they are timid by nature and their venom is not dangerous unless the victim is allergic to it. Because of their formidable appearance and relative harmlessness, they are popular as pets all over the world.
Arizona Bark Scorpion
The Arizona bark scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion in North America. They are light colored and small, ranging from two to three inches in length. Though they typically hide under rocks, woodpiles and tree bark, they can also climb walls, trees and other rough surfaces. Arizona bark scorpions often crawl into and hide in homes. Their venom is likened to that of a snake, and the sting induces extreme pain, swelling, vomiting, frothing at the mouth and loss of breath. Despite the pain, however, there are few recorded fatalities.
If you live in a scorpion-inhabited area, you can reduce the risk of scorpions entering your home by sealing up cracks they could crawl into and weather stripping your home. In addition, do not leave piles of rocks, wood or refuse in your yard. Pesticides do not work against scorpions. Instead, you can find and trap them using a black light, as this causes scorpions to glow in the dark.
This article was written by John Richter, a college student interested in sharing what he knows about insects and animals. He writes this on behalf of the Arizona Exterminating Company, your number one choice when looking to get rid of scorpions in your home. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!