Getting to Know About Deadly Scorpions
Arizona is well known for its variety of scorpion species. With this comes many misconceptions—are all scorpions deadly scorpions?
Scorpions have roamed the planet for about 420 million years. Throughout this time, these threatening critters have developed many ways to defend themselves and continue their survival. Most people are familiar with their primary defense mechanism, the scorpion’s long tail equipped with a powerful stinger. Some possess a potent and potentially fatal venom, while others are virtually harmless.
In this blog from JB’s Pest Control, you’ll discover which Arizona scorpions are the most threatening to humans. You’ll also get familiar with some of the deadliest species throughout the world.
Continue reading to learn more fascinating facts about the scorpions of our state and worldwide.
The Scorpions of Arizona
There are about 40 to 60 species of scorpion living in Arizona. That’s a lot of scary little critters to keep up with. However, many of them are harmless to humans.
Below are the four most common species you may encounter living in the state of Arizona:
- Bark Scorpion– Relatively small, the Arizona bark scorpion reaches a maximum length of just 2.5 inches. Its body is tan with a slightly darker back and sometimes has stripes depending on its location. Bark scorpions also have long and slender tails or metasomas. They’re often found around tree bark, hence their name.
- Stripetail Scorpion– Stripetail scorpions are the most prevalent scorpion species in Arizona. Their bodies are yellowish and have dark stripes on the back. They are typically less than three inches long and have large, bulky tails containing a stinger.
- Giant Hairy Scorpion– Arizona is home to the largest scorpion in the United States- the giant hairy scorpion. Aside from their size, you can identify this type by the dense hair covering its tail and limbs. Its back is dark brown, and its legs, tail, and pinchers are a yellow-tan color.
- Yellow Ground Scorpion– These scorpions are often confused with bark scorpions due to their similar appearance. The yellow ground scorpion has a yellowish body with a slender tail and limbs.
Are There Deadly Scorpions in Arizona?
You’re probably relieved to know that most of the scorpions in Arizona are not harmful to humans. In fact, the venom in their stingers is not meant to defend against humans. Instead, their purpose is to protect against natural predators and kill the scorpion’s prey. Humans are undoubtedly too large to be scorpion prey.
However, that doesn’t mean a bare foot or hand in the wrong place won’t be stung. A sting from most Arizona scorpions is harmless, causing some pain but no further complications.
Though there is one deadly scorpion in our desert state—the bark scorpion. An attack from this species requires medical attention and can be life-threatening. Ironically, they are one of the smaller species you may encounter. However, they pack a dangerous punch.
Most stings from the bark scorpion occur in the evening when they are most active, and humans have a hard time seeing them. They also are more frequent in the heat of the summer.
Signs and Symptoms of a Bark Scorpion Sting
A sting from this tiny deadly scorpion should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one experiences the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Localized pain around the affected area
- Minimal swelling
- Numbness and tingling radiating from the area
- Sensitive to touch, pressure, and temperature
- Muscle spasms
- Abnormal eye movement
- Nausea, vomiting
It is also important to note that young children and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for severe health complications when stung by a bark scorpion.
Other Deadly Scorpions in the World
While Arizona has just one potentially life-threatening scorpion, many more exist. There are about 2,000 species of scorpion, but only 25 possess potent venom that can kill a human. Bark scorpions in our state and parts of New Mexico, Utah, Mexico, and Nevada are some of the most venomous deadly scorpions.
In the following sections, you’ll discover three more life-threatening scorpions.
Spitting Thicktail Black Scorpion
Sometimes referred to as the South African Fattail scorpion, this fascinating creature dwells in southern Africa. It is one of the largest scorpions on the planet and delivers a lethal dose of 4.25 mg of venom. This is undoubtedly enough to end a human’s life as potent as cyanide.
Luckily, not every sting from a spitting thicktail black scorpion is fatal. It actually has two poisons for different uses. The first sting is typically a warning shot. Its purpose is to immobilize prey and is far less harmful to people. However, if the scorpion continues to feel threatened, it will strike again, delivering a highly potent venom. This is the shot that may take down a human being.
The species gets its unique name from its ability to spit its venom up to three feet, causing predators to go blind. On the brighter side, it’s good to know that only 1% of victims have lost their lives to this deadly scorpion species.
Still, victims suffer through awful symptoms of severe pain, sweating, muscle spasms, drooling, and heart complications.
Brazilian Yellow Scorpion
The most deadly scorpion you may encounter in South America is the Brazilian Yellow Scorpion. Stings frequently occur in the areas where it is most prevalent. Some victims experience less severe reactions of pain, fever, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and nausea. In serious cases, a sting can cause hyperesthesia, intense stomach cramps, difficulty breathing, and nausea.
Arabian Fat-tailed Scorpion
The Arabian fat-tailed scorpion is reddish-brown or entirely black. Unlike many other scorpion species, its primary defense is to attack rather than flee, making it an aggressively dangerous scorpion. You can spot these deadly scorpions in the Middle East and Africa.
Victims of their powerful sting experience intense pain, swelling, and redness. Further complications may occur, including internal bleeding, problems with vision, heart malfunctions, and trouble breathing.
Top Scorpion Prevention Tips
Especially because deadly scorpion species are often misidentified as harmless ones, it is best to call in the professionals when you’re faced with a scorpion issue. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to avoid these dangerous pests in your home or yard.
Use the following tips to prevent scorpions in Arizona:
- Get rid of any standing water in the home or on your property.
- Seal the small openings of the structure of your home or outdoor shed.
- Ensure windows and doors are entirely sealed.
- Always inspect closets, cabinets, and other areas for hiding scorpions.
- Remember to shake out your shoes and boots stored outdoors before slipping them on your foot.
- Clear yard debris, including piles of wood, leaves, and rocks.
JB’s Pest Will Safely Eliminate Dangerous Scorpions
If you are concerned about deadly scorpions, or any species, know that you can call on the trusted and experienced team at JB’s Pest.
We are your local pest professionals for Phoenix, Maricopa County, and surrounding areas in Arizona. Not only are we experts in our field, but we live here, too. So, we are familiar with the various scorpion species dwelling in our state and are more than equipped to handle any occurrence or infestation.