Scorpions are members of the class Arachnida and are closely related to spiders, mites, and ticks. They are commonly thought of as desert dwellers, but they also live in Brazilian forests, British Columbia, North Carolina, and even the Himalayas. These hardy, adaptable arthropods have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and they are nothing if not survivors.
Hunting and Diet
There are almost 2,000 scorpion species, but only 30 or 40 have strong enough poison to kill a person. The many types of venom are effectively tailored to their users’ lifestyles, however, and are highly selected for effectiveness against that species’ chosen prey.
Scorpions typically eat insects, but their diet can be extremely variable—another key to their survival in so many harsh locales. When food is scarce, the scorpion has an amazing ability to slow its metabolism to as little as one-third the typical rate for arthropods. This technique enables some species to use little oxygen and live on as little as a single insect per year. Yet even with lowered metabolism, the scorpion has the ability to spring quickly to the hunt when the opportunity presents itself—a gift that many hibernating species lack.
Such survival skills allow scorpions to live in some of the planet’s toughest environments. Researchers have even frozen scorpions overnight, only to put them in the sun the next day and watch them thaw out and walk away. But there is one thing scorpions have a difficult time living without—soil. They are burrowing animals, so in areas of permafrost or heavy grasses, where loose soil is not available, scorpions may not be able to survive.
6 Incredible Scorpion Facts
- Most species of scorpion are not a serious threat to humans.
- Their exoskeletons have fluorescent chemicals that glow in ultraviolet light.
- People in places of Africa and East Asia often consume them as food.
- About 25 species of scorpion have venom deadly enough to kill a human.
- Some scorpions can squirt venom to ward off predators.
- The largest scorpion in the world is the giant forest scorpion. It can grow to more than 9 inches in length!
Prevention: How to Get Rid of Scorpions
If you live in an area with these animals, it’s best to prevent them from entering your house by plugging up gaps around doors, windows, wires, and pipes. Keep organic litter away from your house as it’s a place where scorpions like to hide. Expose the trunk and ground around shrubs and trees by pruning. Piles of rocks or firewood are also places where they like to hide. Use tight-fitting screens on all windows and doors and make sure that your air conditioner doesn’t leak.
Avoiding stings inside means not walking around at night with bare feet. Use an ultraviolet flashlight to shine in dark corners. Always check shoes and clothing before wearing them as these are favorite spots for them to hide. If you find one of them on your body, don’t swat at them but brush them off.
Insecticides can be used against these animals as well. This should be sprayed around the house perimeter as well as near entry points, inside around baseboards, inside closets, around plumbing, and in the garage and/or basement.
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A-Z Animals. (2022, April 16). Scorpion. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://a-z-animals.com/animals/scorpion/
National Geographic. (n. d.). Scorpions. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/scorpions