Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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SCORPION FAMILY: Being Formidable

An Order (Scorpionida) within the Class of Arachnida, Scorpions are well-known for their predatory and deadly nature. Since the Silurian Period (about 430 million years ago), these Arachnids have lived on the earth. Today, about 2,000 living species of Scorpions are grouped into thirteen families.

Contrary to popular belief, Scorpions do live in places other than hot and dry habitats. People would be surprised to know that these adaptable Arachnids also dwell in inter-tidal zones. Found world-wide (except in Antarctica), Scorpions can live almost everywhere, except for tundra regions. They will make their homes in trees, under rocks, in sand, in caves, and on mountains. Wherever there is a construction site that disturbs their homes, They will find their way into people’s houses to live. Furthermore as commerce expanded world-wide, so did Scorpions. For instance, these Arachnids were accidentally carried in shipments of fruit to England. Now, They can be found in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in the U.K.

People can readily identify Scorpions by their distinctive body shape. The segmented abdomens (opisthosoma) of these Arachnids taper into a curving tail (metasoma) with the stinger (aculeus) at the end. Although They have at least six eyes, Scorpions prefer to navigate by smell and touch. With the tiny hairs on their pincers (chelae), Scorpions can sense an Insect flying by. In addition, They have slits on their legs to pick up vibrations in the air and on the ground. To grab their prey, Scorpions use their strong front claws. Then, They suck liquid out of their prey with their “claw protrusions” (chelicerae) in their mouths. The toothed jaws of Scorpions shred their meal for their stomach to suck in the juices.


What is best-known about Scorpions is their deadly venom. Each Scorpion has as many as forty-five different toxins to use on their various prey. Hunting by smell, They search for Amphibians, Crustaceans, Insects, Reptiles, and small Mammals to eat. Grabbing the unfortunate victim, Scorpion will either crush or inject venom into It. Since it takes a lot of time to replenish their spent venom, Scorpions prefer crushing to stinging. However, only about twenty-five Species are capable of killing people. It is these few Species who give all other Scorpions their deadly reputation, whether their venom is as toxic or not.

During the Silurian Period, the first Scorpions possessed gills for living in the waters. (Even today, Scorpions can stay for long periods underwater.) They ventured onto land to become one of the first animals to do so. Since They could readily adapt from life in the shallow lakes to that on land, these Arachnids have displayed tremendous staying power. Being extremely adaptable, Scorpions have evolved into an Order of nearly 2,000 living Species.

Nocturnal and solitary, Scorpions are formidable hunters. Masters of surprise, they will wait by their burrows, hidden from view, for a tasty Insect to come by. Then in an explosive move, Scorpion will suddenly grab and crush the unfortunate victim. Using her raised tail, She injects her venom for the killing stroke.

Since Scorpions have tiny mouths, They can only suck in liquid. One use for their venom, besides killing, is to turn the Insect into a liquid. While They wait, Scorpions use their “mouth claws” to bring any available liquid to their stomachs to digest. Since this process usually takes an eternity, these Arachnids possess low metabolisms. In fact, They can go an entire year without eating anything.

Besides their venomous stings, Scorpions are also noted for their impassioned and elaborate mating rituals. When Male Scorpion begins his courtship dance, He grasps Female Scorpion and turns Her in circles. In a “promenade a deux,” the Pair gently bump into each other without stinging until Male Scorpion fertilizes his Partner. Once this ritual is finished, Male Scorpion races away, before Female Scorpion changes her mind and attacks Him instead.

Contrary to popular opinion, Female Scorpion is a good mother. After being born, her Scorplings will immediately climb onto her back. She will carry Them for at least a few weeks (up until two years depending on the species). The Scorplings stay with their Mother through (at least) their first molt, and sometimes more. When They become adults, Mother Scorpion will gently removes her Scorplings off her back with her tail. For the more reluctant Ones, She will tip Them off.

These formidable Arachnids inspire awe and fear in everyone. Aggressive in hunting, Scorpions patiently spend weeks consuming their victims. Being highly adaptable, They have forty-five different kinds of venom for use on various animals. Moreover, their well-designed body maximizes their talents of sliding under rocks to elude predators, surprising their prey, and successfully living in different habitats. Since Scorpions have honed Themselves into an Order to be feared and respected, their formidable reputation is well-deserved.

When you want to be respected and feared, look to the Scorpion Family. Adapting to nearly every habitat, They have spread across the earth. Because only a few Species are deadly, people have avoided all Scorpions altogether. Just remember not to be so venomous, that your good qualities are overlooked, such as being a good parent.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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