Scorpions belong to the class Arachnida, the same as spiders, ticks and mites. Scorpions are predators and eat just about any living creature smaller than them. They use the stings on their tails to inject venom into their prey.
Scorpions are nocturnal creatures but they can often be spotted in UV light as they give off a fluorescence. Scorpions are found in almost habitats because of their ability to adapt.
Scorpions are feared for their venomous stings and this has earned them a place in folklore. We have listed several facts about scorpions below.
17 Interesting Facts About Scorpions
1. How are scorpions born?
Scorpions do not lay eggs like insects or other arachnids. The scorpion mother directly gives birth to her babies. This process is known as viviparity where the fertilized eggs are grown inside the mother’s body. This characteristic is normally only found in mammals.
Scorpion babies are born in litters with an average litter size of 25 (according to Encyclopedia Britannica). After birth scorpion babies live on their mother’s back and are fed by her until they are old enough to leave.
2. Where do scorpions live?
Scorpions can be found in virtually every habitat ranging from forests to deserts to cities. They are even found inside houses. Although predominantly desert dwellers, they have managed to adapt themselves to survive anywhere.
Certain studies suggest that scorpions were among the first to move from water to land and migrated to different parts of the world.
In certain countries, the coming of scorpions coincided with the arrival of humans which suggests that they came with the people. Scorpions are now found in all continents except Antarctica which is too cold even for their highly adaptable nature.
3. How long do scorpions live?
Scorpions are extraordinarily long-lived compared to other invertebrates. Most scorpions attain maturity in 1-3 years and their life span is around 2-6 years.
Some species can certainly get older like the slow-growing Hadogenes. It is vital to note that scorpion growth is dependent on several aspects. Female scorpions live longer than male scorpions.
4. When do scorpions come out?
Scorpions are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are normally active at night. That is when they come of their nests and hiding places to hunt for prey. Scorpions hide during the day and come out only when disturbed.
5. What attracts scorpions?
Scorpions are attracted to dark, moist places which can shelter them and provide protection from the heat of the day.
Apart from that, scorpions also get attracted to insects, lizards, spiders, and others bugs that form the bulk of their food.
6. How many babies can a scorpion have?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, scorpion litter size averages 25 with a range of 1 to more than 100 depending on the species.
We have listed a few species with their litter size range based on a scientific study.
- Odonthobutus doriae or Yellow Iranian Scorpion 10-25
- Hemiscorpius lepturus (common name not known) 15-31
- Andoctronus crassicauda or the Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion 15-45
- Mesobuthus eupeus or the Mottled Scorpion 14-29
Some of these have been observed in laboratory conditions, so it’s possible they may vary in natural conditions.
7. Do scorpions sting themselves to death?
Contrary to popular beliefs scorpions do not sting themselves to death. Scorpions are immune to their own venom.
It is also difficult for the stinger to pierce the scorpion’s tough exoskeleton. Reports of scorpions stinging themselves to death are baseless.
8. What is a group of scorpions called?
A group of scorpions is referred to as a bed or a nest. Scorpions are not social creatures and the likelihood of finding them in a group is rare.
Bed or nest is just a collective noun used to refer to scorpions as a group. Nest refers to the nesting or breeding place of scorpions. The bed is a collective noun also used to refer to groups of oysters and snakes among others.
9. How do scorpions survive in the desert?
Lack of water, extreme heat and scarcity of food are some of the factors that make life difficult in the desert. Scorpions have adapted well to such conditions.
Desert scorpions have hair on their bodies that help them sense temperature changes and take shelter when required.
Their ability to burrow inside the sand helps scorpions to wait for their prey and trap them. Scorpions take in fluids from the prey which help to hydrate them.
Another distinguishing characteristic of scorpions is their ability to slow down their metabolism when food is scarce. This helps them to go for months without food.
10. Are smaller scorpions more venomous?
There is no evidence to prove that smaller scorpions are more venomous than larger ones.
Baby scorpions have the same venom as adult scorpions but they inject more venom while stinging which gives rise to this myth.
The deadly Bark Scorpion of Arizona is smaller than most scorpions but has potent venom which can be dangerous to humans.
This has also led people to believe that smaller scorpions have more venom. The fact is that the Bark Scorpion is extremely venomous no matter what its size is.
11. How long can scorpions hold their breath?
Scorpions have book lungs which enable them to survive without breathing for up to 6 days.
These lungs consist of thin plates which help to trap and store oxygen. Scorpions have 4 pairs of book lungs Which is why scorpions can stay underwater for a long time.
12. How do scorpions hunt their prey?
Being nocturnal scorpions hunt for prey at night. They normally stay hidden under camouflage and wait for their prey.
Stones, branches, fallen leaves, and other objects on the ground form good hiding places for them. Scorpions have hair which enables them to sense the kind of animal that is approaching.
When the prey gets close the scorpion grabs it with its claws before injecting venom from its stinger. Scorpions are also known to chase and kill slow-moving prey.
13. Why do scorpions glow?
One of the characteristic features in scorpions is their ability to glow. Under UV light they give off a blue-green fluorescence. This is due to the presence of certain fluorescent compounds found in their exoskeletons.
These compounds react with UV light causing them to glow. These compounds are missing in baby scorpions and scorpions who have just molted, which explains why they do not glow for a while. The exact function of this glow is not known yet.
Some scientists claim that it helps scorpions to scare off predators while others are of the opinion that the fluorescence helps them to determine if it’s safe to venture out of hiding.
14. How long can scorpions go without food?
Scorpions have the ability to slow down their metabolism in times of food scarcity. This enables them to go without food for months.
Scorpions can consume large quantities of food at a time and store them in their bodies. This also helps them survive without feeding for a long time. Many scorpions feed just once or twice a year.
15. What do scorpions eat and what do baby scorpions eat?
Scorpions feed mainly on insects. Apart from that, lizards, mice, frogs, spiders, worms and other small creatures form their prey. Just about any small living thing is prey.
In times of scarcity scorpions even turn cannibals and prey on other scorpions. Mother scorpions have also been noted eating their babies as a last resort when food is unavailable. Baby scorpions eat the same food as adult scorpions.
16. Who eats scorpions?
Though scorpions are predators they can also become prey to other animals. Birds, centipedes, bats, tarantulas and large rodents regularly prey on scorpions. Members of the weasel family like mongoose, civets and racoons also catch and eat them.
17. What are unique Survival Skills of Scorpion?
Survival skills enable scorpions to live in some of the planet’s harsh environments also.
Researchers have even experimented on scorpions – Made them frozen overnight, then impose them in the sun the next day; To their surprise, they found the scorpions became active and moved away normally.
But there is one aspect that scorpions will have a tough time living without soil. They are burrowing animals, so in regions of permafrost or heavy grasses, where loose soil is not accessible, scorpions may not be able to survive.
Scorpions are fascinating creatures. Though they play an essential part in maintaining the ecosystem, they are often labeled as pests. Scorpions can be dangerous to humans and some knowledge about them would help in controlling them. We hope we have provided enough answers to satisfy your thirst for knowledge.