Like their cousins, ticks, mites, and spiders, scorpions have eight legs and resemble small lobsters. They are known to inhabit the world’s toughest surroundings and have survived for millions of years. From the scorpion fossils found in Scotland, scientists say the appearance of arthropods hasn’t changed much over the millennia, further highlighting their resilience. Here are some fascinating scorpion facts that you probably didn’t know.
1. Scorpions Are Everywhere Except the Antarctica
Dating back to over 435 million years ago, scorpions have evolved and adapted to different environments. While they are hugely predominant in desert regions, the arachnids can survive in various environmental conditions. Today, they are present in every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Over 2,500 described species are available.
2. Scorpion Stings Can Cause Penile Erection
As some cultures recognize the byproducts of scorpions as aphrodisiacs, others, especially in North America, consider them medicine. Interestingly, some of the side effects of scorpion stings include causing penile erection. Others are difficulty breathing, tingling, numbness, convulsions, and even paralysis.
3. Some People in South Asia Smoke Scorpions
Smoking scorpions is one of the ways people in South Asia get high. Usually, they pay a dealer who places a scorpion on their hand and then bats it with a stick until it stings. However, others choose to burn the animals over coals while inhaling the venomous smoke.
The high from scorpion smoke can last up to three days; it is stronger than heroin. Users endure immense pain within the first six hours of smoking as their bodies adjust to the toxins – some usually die.
4. An Injury Caused By Scorpion Sting Is Called Scorpionism
Scorpions are known to possess one of the world’s most venomous stings. Medically, an injury caused by the arthropod is described as scorpionism. On the other hand, the anatomical part that produces the sting is known as the telson. While scorpion stings can be deadly to children and older people, they are not as dangerous to healthy adults. Instead, they cause immense pain, variable swelling, and paresthesia.
5. Some Scorpion Species Can Squirt Venom
While most scorpion species are known to sting to inject venom, some, such as Centruroides margaritatus, Hadrurus arizonensis, and Parabuthus, can squirt their venom as far as 1 meter. This is usually to warn their enemies, a warning to be taken seriously, especially if the venom catches them in the eyes.
6. The Belief That A Scorpion Surrounded By Fire Stings Itself to Death Is Untrue
There is a widespread belief that a scorpion surrounded by fire will sting itself to death. However, this has been debunked and scientifically explained. Experts say that a scorpion subjected to extreme heat triggers its nervous system to spasm uncontrollably, leading to what appears to be the scorpion stinging itself.
7. Flashing a Live Scorpion down the Toilet is Not Recommended
Given their ability to survive underwater for prolonged periods, it is not advisable to flush live scorpions down the toilet with the hope of killing them. They can come back out of that same toilet or move down the drain into other parts of your home.
8. Scorpions Have Extremely Low Metabolic Rates
Scorpions are classified as opportunistic predators. They eat small animals and insects; adults can kill lizards, too. However, with their tiny mouths, these arthropods digest their food externally and then ingest them in liquid form. Owing to their low metabolic rates, scorpions can stay up to a year without eating.
9. The Brazilian Yellow Scorpion Is One of the Most Venomous
Scientifically known as Tityus serrulatus, the Brazilian yellow scorpion is one of the most toxic scorpion species. Coming from the Buthidae family, the arthropod is responsible for most scorpion sting-related deaths in the South American continent; the Arizona bark scorpion is equally deadly. Approximately, about 3,000 deaths resulting from scorpion stings are recorded annually worldwide.
10. Scorpions Glow in UV Light
Adult scorpions glow blue when observed under UV light. The species have fluorescent chemicals in their hyaline layer, part of the cuticle in their exoskeleton, which causes them to light. While scientists do not have a straightforward explanation for this, many believe the glowing makes it easier for mates to locate each other, facilitates hunting, and protects them from excessive sunlight.
11. Some Scorpion Species Shed Their Tails When Attacked
When under attack, some scorpion species are known to shed their tails. Consequently, they lose their anus, too. Interestingly, they can survive up to eight months after this, eating, mating, and hunting, until they eventually die of constipation.
12. Scorpions Are Very Resilient
The fact that scorpions have survived hundreds of millions of years is not by chance; they are incredibly resilient. For instance, the arachnids can stay alive for up to 48 hours while submerged in water due to their book lungs.
They also reside in hot, harsh environments with minimal food; they only need about a tenth of most insects’ oxygen. In the 1960s, the animals were discovered to be among the few who could survive nuclear effects as they are resistant to ionizing radiation.
13. They Derive Their Name from the Greek Word “Skorpios”
Scorpions get their name from the Greek word “Skorpios,” which loosely translates to “cut.” The word was later adapted into the Latin “Scorpio” before becoming the English word “scorpion.” Basically, scorpions mean to cut.
14. Scorpion Venom Is One of the Most Expensive Liquids
Even though scorpion venom can harm other animals, including humans, it is one of the most sought-after liquids as it can also be medically beneficial. Today, a gallon of scorpion venom costs upwards of $39,000,000.
15. Scorpions Rarely Sting with Venom
Unless they really have to, scorpions rarely sting with venom because it costs them a lot of energy. With that, most species prefer to avoid using their stingers unless they feel absolutely threatened or need to kill the prey.
16. Meerkats Are Among the Many Scorpion Predators
Meerkats are scorpions’ worst enemies; they kill them by biting off their stingers, making them defenseless. Also, meerkats are immune to scorpion venom, giving them an upper hand. Other scorpion predators include bats, snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, and mice.