Learning about scorpions is the best way to be prepared when you come into contact with them. Knowing what they are, what they look like, how they act, and where they are likely to be found will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable with living in a desert environment with scorpions.
Get To Know Scorpions
- Scorpions have four pairs of legs. They also have pincers that look like little lobster claws.
- Scorpions come in many sizes and colors, but most of the ones you'll see in Arizona are usually pale gold or tan in color. Although some scorpions in other parts of the world can be six inches long or longer, most of the adult scorpions in metro Phoenix are probably less than 3 inches long. They have a venom bulb at the end of a long tail. The venom bulb is called the telson.
- There are about 90 species of scorpions in the United States and and estimated 1,500 species worldwide. There are more than 40 species in Arizona. Those number are constantly changing as new species are discovered, classifications change, and some species become extinct.
- Scorpions hide under rocks or debris. They live in crawl spaces.
- They are active and feed at night. The scorpions that are native to Arizona typically eat spiders, insects and each other, if they are hungry enough.
- They hide during the day. Check your shoes and clothes before putting them on if you live in an area where there are likely to be scorpions.
- If you live in an area where there is a lot of construction, you may be more likely to find scorpions inside because their outdoor habitat has been disturbed.
- They can live for months on just water. Because they are looking for water, you may find them in or under sinks or tubs.
- Scorpions can live to be over 6 years old.
- Scorpions sting. But you knew that, or you wouldn't be reading this! A scorpion sting may result in some pain, itching, swelling, or tenderness of the area. If you are stung by a scorpion, here's what you do .
- The great majority of scorpion stings occur on the hands and feet. Watch where you step with bare feet, and watch where you reach with your hands.
- In the western U.S. only one species of scorpion venom is considered very dangerous to humans. Yup, we have it right here in Arizona. It is called the Arizona Bark Scorpion. It is straw colored or opaque and usually less than 2 inches long. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is most dangerous if the person stung has an allergic reaction. There are other bark scorpions, and other types of scorpions that are even more common in Phoenix homes than the Arizona bark scorpion. Most people assume they are seeing the most dangerous scorpion when they see any scorpion. I suppose it's safest to make that assumption, since most people don't want to get close enough to distinguish the various species from one another!
- Bad news: every year many people in the world die from scorpion stings. Good news: hardly anyone ever dies in Arizona, because antivenin is available for severe cases. According to the University of Arizona" in the past 20 years there have been no reported fatalities in the U.S. due to scorpion stings." Certain people may be allergic to scorpion venom just like some people are allergic to bee stings (or strawberries or peanuts...) although according to the same source no cases of that type of allergic reaction has been reported in Arizona.