Scorpions are a type of arachnid found on every continent besides Antarctica.

Arachnids belong to a group of animals called arthropods. This group contains creatures such as crabs, insects, and spiders. Arthropods have four pairs of legs and a segmented body.

Other arachnids similar to the scorpion include spiders, mites, and ticks.

Scorpions are incredibly easy to recognize. They have two pincers, eight legs, and a curved tail that ends with a venomous stinger.

There are around 2,500 species of scorpions across the globe, which can vary in size and shape. For example, the largest species of scorpion can grow up to 10 inches in length. However, the smallest species can only grow to half an inch.

Scorpions use their venomous stinger for both attack and defense. However, each species varies regarding the potency of its venom.

All scorpions can adapt to live in all kinds of difficult environments. As a result, these hardy survivors have existed for hundreds of millions of years.

Did you know: Scorpions glow a bright blue-green color when exposed to ultraviolet light?

What do scorpions eat?

Scorpions are carnivores, meaning they prefer eating other animals to survive.

Their favorite foods include insects such as grasshoppers, termites, beetles, and wasps.

However, when necessary, scorpions have incredibly varied diets and will eat whatever they can to survive; this is believed to be one of the reasons why they can adapt to new environments so easily.

For example, some scorpions are regularly known to eat other arachnids like spiders.

Sometimes, larger scorpions hunt more formidable prey, such as lizards, snakes, and small mammals.

Did you know that scorpions and other arachnids have a unique way of digesting food outside their bodies? They spray areas of their prey with digestive fluid. This acidic liquid breaks down the prey, which makes it much easier for the scorpion to consume.

How do scorpions hunt?

Scorpions are nocturnal hunters that are most active at night.

They are also highly opportunistic and typically use a sit-and-wait approach to hunting. To do this, they stay as still as possible and wait for prey to pass the entrance of their burrow and then pounce on them.

Others, however, are more aggressive. They instead use small hairs on their bodies to detect and track their prey, actively seeking them out.

Once a scorpion has found its prey (or found them), it will use varying methods of killing them, depending on the prey’s size and ability to defend itself.

For example, smaller prey is easily captured and killed with the scorpion’s pincers, especially with larger scorpion species.

When it comes to larger prey, scorpions must use their venomous stinger. More venomous species will aim to paralyze and kill their prey with their venom alone.

Did you know that when there is little food available, scorpions can slow down their metabolism significantly? It allows them to use as little oxygen as possible. Some scorpion species can do this so effectively that they can live on a single meal per year.

Where do scorpions live?

Scorpions are found all over the world on every continent except Antarctica.

Most scorpion habitats are mainly found in the desert. However, they can also live in grasslands, savannas, mountains, and caves.

They prefer warmer temperatures and tend to avoid colder climates. That said, scorpions can survive harsh cold conditions when necessary.

Scorpions are burrowing animals that spend most of their time in self-made burrows, cracks, and under natural objects such as logs and bark.

Because of this, the one thing that most scorpion habitats require is soil. With enough soil, scorpions can effectively dig, hide, and wait for prey.

Did you know: Scorpions are so hardy that they can completely freeze and survive? Scientists have frozen scorpions in laboratories only to see them thaw without apparent injury.

How venomous are scorpion stings?

The deadliness of a scorpions sting depends on the scorpion species in question.

Each scorpion has venom adapted to suit the prey it typically hunts. Due to this, some scorpions have much more deadly poison than others.

For example, scorpions that hunt smaller prey will have much less deadly venom than those that hunt larger prey.

However, some scorpion venom is incredibly potent. Out of the 2,500 scorpion species in the world today, 25  have poison that is deadly to humans.

Despite such a small number of dangerous species to humans, scorpion stings are very common. 1.5 million stings take place each year, with around 3,000 deaths.

In these cases, antivenom is required to save people from death or serious illness.

Did you know: The Leirus quinquestriatus can strike its tail at a speed of up to 50 inches per second?

What are the most deadly scorpions?

Bark Scorpion: The bark scorpion is incredibly deadly. It is found in North America. Its venom contains a powerful neurotoxin that causes serious pain in victims.

Indian Red Scorpion: The most deadly scorpion in the world. Characterized by its red tail, this scorpion lives in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Not only is its venom the most potent of all scorpions, but it also can inject a tremendous amount of venom into its victims.

Deathstalker: Appropriately named, this scorpion species is a serious problem for people living in North Africa and the Middle East. Unlike other highly venomous scorpions, the deathstalker is small, only growing upwards of 2.5 inches in length.

Brazilian Yellow Scorpion: This deadly scorpion is found in Brazil and other parts of South America. It is responsible for the most human deaths due to scorpion stings in the region. Each year, thousands of people are stung. However, thankfully it injects much less venom into its victims than other scorpion species.

How do scorpions mate?

Scorpions have an incredibly unique way of mating with one another.

Like many humans, scorpions impress each other with a spot of dancing.

To do this, scorpions lock their claws and perform an elaborate dance called promenade à deux.

As the scorpions dance, the male tries to find a good place to lay a packet of biological material which the female can absorb.

During the dance, some scorpion species will also perform a type of ‘kiss’ in which males and females grasp each other by the mouth.

This process can last anywhere from 2 minutes to many hours in length.

Once completed, the two parties go separate ways.

Did you know that sometimes female scorpions will eat the male scorpion once the mating process has been completed. However, this only happens in species where cannibalism is a regular occurrence.

Do scorpions lay eggs?

Scorpions, unlike insects, give birth to live young.

Each female scorpion will give birth to between 3 to 100 babies. When scorpions are born, they have a much softer exoskeleton compared to adult scorpions.

Once a female scorpion has finished giving birth, her babies crawl onto her back, where they will remain for several weeks. After that, they stay with their mother by using temporary suckers.

It takes place to allow the babies exoskeletons to harden. It also keeps them safe from ground-based predators.

After the young scorpions have developed hardened exoskeletons, they can hunt prey and survive independently.

Facts about scorpions:

  1. Scorpions have much longer life spans than other arthropods. Some scorpion species can live for up to 10 years in the wild. However, some scorpions have lived in captivity for as long as 25 years.
  2. As champions of survival, scorpions can survive all kinds of harsh conditions. For example, they can stay underwater for up to 48 hours and live without food for a full year.
  3. Until about three decades ago, only 600 species of scorpions were discovered. The reason that so many have been found since is because of scorpions fluorescence. Scientists have started using ultraviolet light to find new species at night.
  4. Scorpions have been known to eat their own young when food has been scarce.
  5. Some scorpion species keep their young on their back for up to two years.
  6. Researchers have recently discovered that scorpion venom can create human medicine. For example, the lesser Asian scorpion has poison that can be used to fight malaria and arthritis.
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