If you think about where scorpions live, do you picture them in lush forests, or in arid deserts?
Both scenarios are actually correct. Often thought of as desert dwellers, these highly adaptable creatures actually thrive both in lush Brazilian forests and arid deserts. In fact, they can be found in all continents except Antarctica. The evolutionary history of scorpions go back hundreds of millions of years, and they’ve adapted to live in a variety of environmental conditions, including the harsh living conditions on top of snow covered mountains.
Scorpions belong to the class Arachnida. They are predatory arachnids under the order of Scorpiones, and are closely related to spiders, ticks and mites. These arthropods have 8 legs and are easily recognizable by the forward curve over their backs that end in a stinger full of venom.
Speaking of venom, there are almost 2,000 scorpion species, and all of them have a venomous sting! The good news is that of that number, only about 30 species carry enough venom capable of killing a human. In remote places where these venomous species are found, people dying from scorpion stings occur regularly, especially if they’re in remote locations with no easy access to modern medical facilities.
This is especially concerning in underdeveloped tropical and subtropical countries – according to studies published on Medline, the annual estimated number of scorpion stings is 1.2 million, and of this, 0.27% lead to deaths. It may not seem much, but that’s 3240 people every year. That means that for every person killed by a poisonous or venomous snake, 10 people are killed by venomous scorpions.
What we should worry about in the US
In the United States, that number is much, much lower – only 4 people have died as a result of a scorpion sting in over a decade.That said, a scorpion sting can still very painful.
Most of the scorpions in the country are found in the southwest. Arizona is popular for being home to a lot of these scorpions, including the most venomous species in the country, the potentially deadly Arizona bark scorpion – also found in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
Scorpions are nocturnal, burrowing creatures. They like to hide under rocks, trees, bushes, in holes, anything where they can find shelter from the sun – including your house and garage. They have been found to hide under piles of laundry, and even seek shelter in unusedshoes. They are also known to lie in wait for their prey so you may not even notice them when you pass byuntil the scorpion, fearing for its life, stings you.
If you find one, there’s a good chance there are more in the area (a pregnant scorpion can give birth to dozens of scorplings at the same time). If it’s inside your home, there’s also a good chance that your home is vulnerable and that there are pest entry points you need to locate and seal.
Never handle a scorpion with your bare hands, and insecticide sprays only work when sprayed directly on the scorpion. If you need professional help, pest control services like Watchdog Pest Control are only a call away.