Are all scorpions dangerous? These arthropods get a bad rap, but in reality only a very small proportion of them pose a threat to humans…
Of the 1,500 species of scorpions hardly 30 can be termed dangerous. This is because they have venom that is toxic.
Scorpion venom can be dangerous for young children causing severe symptoms and even death. Otherwise, the sting of a scorpion is not dangerous and only causes pain.
How to tell if a scorpion is poisonous?
There are hundreds of species of scorpions. Not all are dangerous, though all of them are capable of injecting venom through their bite.
The Arizona bark scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion in the US and North America. Its bite can cause severe pain and there have a couple of fatalities too.
It exhibits fluorescence and if ultraviolet light/UV light or black light is focused on it. This is useful to spot this nocturnal hunter.
There is a thumb rule to identify a poisonous scorpion. Generally a scorpion with a thicker tail and small pincers would be more poisonous.
The fact that they have small pincers show that they rely on their sting to immobilize prey. So, they are capable of injecting more venom and are hence likely to be more dangerous.
Is black scorpion poisonous?
Arizona bark is the most deadly scorpion in the US and its color is brown and not black. The Indian red scorpion is an example of a scorpion that is not black, but is known for being venomous.
Similarly, there are many examples of scorpions that are not black but are dangerous. The color of a scorpion has no relation to how venomous it is.
Scorpions come in different colors like brown, yellow, orange, and mixed colors. The toxicity of their venom has no relation to their color.
Are small black scorpions dangerous?
Both large scorpions and small scorpions can be dangerous. The size and color of a scorpion has no relation to how dangerous it is.
As mentioned above, check out the pincer size and sting size. That is a better indicator to determine if a scorpion is dangerous than its size and color.
Non poisonous scorpions
Technically, there are no non-poisonous scorpions. All scorpions have a sting and bite when threatened.
The sting of all scorpions contains venom. While some scorpions have venom that is toxic, other are not so toxic.
If you are bitten by a ‘non-poisonous’ scorpion, you will definitely feel pain. You may even have swelling or irritation in the region.
In some people, it can cause a severe allergic reaction. But is unlikely to be fatal.
The giant hairy scorpion (Hadrus arizonensis) is one of the large and scary looking scorpions. However, it is not very venomous. Its sting can be compared to a bee sting.
How can you tell if a scorpion is venomous?
Venomous scorpions are those capable of stinging hard and hence delivered more venom. Such scorpions would have a large tail and sting site.
Generally, scorpions have large pincers that they use to crush their prey and bite anything that attacks them.
If you spot a scorpion with small pincers and a large tail, it is an indicator that its strength lies in the tail. This means they are highly likely to sting hard and could be venomous.
Being nocturnal creatures, you will find scorpions at night where it is difficult to spot them. Coming into contact with them can lead to being stung.
Being stung by a venomous scorpion can cause pain, numbness, and other severe symptoms.
Are baby scorpions poisonous?
There is a belief that baby scorpions are more poisonous than adults. This is a myth and not true.
A baby scorpion can sting just as hard as an adult. It can deliver the same venom as that of an adult.
A fact to note is adult scorpions strike fast and then stop. But a baby scorpion would strike and not withdraw quickly, as it is not fully adept.
As a result, it is likely to inject more venom than adults. But this doesn’t mean that it is more poisonous than an adult scorpion.
How long does a scorpion sting last?
The pain from scorpion stings would usually last for 24 to 48 hours. In most cases, the symptoms resolve after this time.
Certain scorpion bites can be dangerous. When bitten by a scorpion known to be venomous, you can experience various symptoms.
The bite can cause difficulty breathing and severe reactions that include increased blood pressure and heart rate. It may even lead to death, if no medical care is given.
The risk of being bitten by a scorpion increases when you live in places that have more scorpions like Arizona, New Mexico, and some parts of California that have dry climates. Globally, scorpions are more common in South America, Middle East and India.
When you are outdoors or hiking, you are likely to go near rocks or trees where scorpions live. This increases the risk of being bitten by a scorpion.
What relieves scorpion sting pain?
If you are stung by a scorpion, you don’t always need medical attention. If the scorpion is non-venomous, the painful sting would not cause severe problems.
Small children are more affected by scorpion stings and hence it is advisable to take them to a doctor irrespective of which scorpion has stung them.
If you or anyone you know is bitten by a scorpion, this is what you should do:
- The first thing to do is wash the area with soap and water.
- The best way to get relief from scorpion sting pain is to use a cold compress. Avoid ice since it can increase the pain after the ice is removed.
- Try to elevate the area bitten, so it is at the level of the heart.
- You can use an antihistamine or a steroid cream on the affected area. This prevents inflammation and allergic reactions.
- If the pain is severe, an OTC pain killer would be helpful.
If symptoms worsen, or you experience breathing problems or vomiting you should immediately see a doctor. If you have an emergency auto-injector or epinephrine, you can use it in this situation.
FAQs relating to are all scorpions dangerous
When you go through the frequently asked questions and answers given below, you will get to know all you wanted about how dangerous scorpions are.
Are all scorpions fatal?
No, only venomous scorpions that have toxic venom are fatal. Most scorpions do not deliver toxic venom and their bite would be like a bee string.
A scorpion bite from around 30 of the 1,500 scorpion species can be deadly. Death Stalker, Arizona bark, and Indian red are known to be very venomous.
Their venom has neurotoxins and can cause death. Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent complications.
Are all scorpions aggressive?
No, all scorpions are not aggressive. Most scorpions are in fact shy creatures.
They usually hide under rocks or logs. They avoid contact with humans.
But if you come into contact with them by touching them or stepping on them they are likely to bite.
They do this for self-defense and not with an intention of attacking you. If you take care to avoid scorpions, you will not face any problem from them.
What color scorpions are poisonous?
There is no relation between the color of a scorpion and whether it is poisonous.
- The spitting blacktail is a dangerous African scorpion that is black.
- The yellow fattail found in North Africa is yellow and it can cause paralysis and even death.
- In South America, the Brazilian yellow is a dangerous scorpion and is colored bright yellow.
- The Arabian fattail is reddish brown and is very aggressive by nature.
- The most venomous scorpion is the Deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus) and it is yellowish brown.
So, as you can see scorpions of different colors can be venomous. It is not possible to see the color of a scorpion and decide if it is venomous.
Can scorpions be friendly?
There are different types of scorpions world-wide. The rock scorpion is a type of scorpion that people keep as a pet.
It is known for delivering a very mild bite and is hence considered safe. People keep this scorpion as an exotic pet.
It would be a good idea to be careful while handling scorpions, specially healthy adults. Even a pet scorpion that is supposed to be tame can sting or bite with its pincers.
Never allow children to play with scorpions as you can never predict how it would react. Even if it does not sting, it can deliver a painful nip with its pincers.
There are some scorpions that are considered friendly or docile and can be kept as pets:
- The Emperor scorpion is the most popular choice to keep as a pet. It doesn’t bite or sting unless it feels threatened.
- The Dictator scorpion is bigger but is quite timid. It tends to avoid people and is good to keep as a pet.
- The large clawed scorpion is not venomous. It can be good as a pet, but for experienced pet owners and not for novices.