What Does a Scorpion Look Like?

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Very few pests bring up the kind of fear and terror that scorpions do. With their arachnid exoskeleton bodies and sharp, stinging tails, they’re incredibly intimidating animals. With the ability to hide in dark places like under rocks and woodpiles and sting when provoked, there is something inherently scary about them. 

Asking “what do scorpions look like” can help you identify them if you come across one. If there is one kind of pest you don’t want an infestation of in your backyard, it’s a scorpion. By knowing what the different kinds look like, you can help protect yourself and your family. 

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • What Scorpions Look Like
  • Where Scorpions Are Found
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

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    What Does a Scorpion Look Like?

    Scorpions are known primarily for their large tails and intimidating pincers. However, there are quite a few different types of scorpions throughout the world, and not all of them look alike. In the United States, though, there are three common scorpion types that you should watch out for. Knowing what they look like can help you identify them. 

    Bark Scorpion

    The bark scorpion is generally found nesting in the bark of trees under the first layer. They’re incredibly good climbers and will find a way to get into the trees in your front or backyard where they can make their homes. This makes them distinct from other scorpion types, which are usually found on the ground under rocks or hiding in places like your crawl space. 

    Bark scorpions are yellow or light brown, and they won’t have any kind of markings or patterns on their back. They’re generally around three inches in length, but they can also be smaller, especially if they’re female or young scorpions. They have long front appendages and a robust tail section with a large stinger. 

    Bark scorpions are known as the most venomous, dangerous scorpion in the United States. They can deliver a sting that results in severe pain and even dysfunction in the area that has been stung. People who have been stung by one of these often have to be hospitalized due to the potency of the scorpion venom. This is especially true for young children. If you see one, it is best to kill it with a scorpion-killing spray. 

    Arizona Hairy Scorpion

    By far, the largest scorpion in North America is the Arizona hairy scorpion. This scorpion can grow up to 5.5 inches and is covered with brown hairs, which is where it gets its name. They are, in fact, so large that they have been known to kill giant desert centipedes in the Arizona desert. 

    Arizona hairy scorpions are yellow with a dark section on their back. They have large pincers at the front of their body and appear almost translucent. They’ll burrow under the ground to find moisture but are most commonly known for living under rocks, where they can find smaller insects to feed on. 

    In general, Arizona hairy scorpions don’t have very much venom in their stings. The pain will usually be on par with a bee sting and won’t be more dangerous than that. However, if you are allergic to the venom, you could end up having a severe reaction, just like with a bee sting

    Stripe-Tailed Scorpion

    Stripe-tailed scorpions are in the medium range when it comes to size. They can get to be between two and three inches in length and usually only weigh about nine grams. They have brown stripes on the back of their segmented tails, which will be thicker than the other appendages on their bodies. 

    Stripe-tailed scorpions are usually found under rocks and other objects that sit on the surface of the ground. They have also been known to end up in sleeping bags or shoes. This is because they’re always searching for the most humid areas they can find to make their nests, just like cockroaches or crickets. 

    This scorpion species is one of the least venomous, and their sting will not usually be harmful to humans or animals. While the sting may be slightly painful, it doesn’t require the same kind of medical attention that might be necessary with other kinds of scorpion stings.

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    Where Are Scorpions Found? 

    Scorpions are fairly diverse creatures, and they can be found in many different climates. However, they’re most common in desert areas with a lot of sandy soil that they can burrow into and find water. Because of this, they’re generally found in the American southwest within states that have dry climates. Arizona, New Mexico, and some parts of California have very high populations of scorpions. 

    Bark scorpions can also be found in wetter climates like forests and mountain areas. This is because they can hide in the bark of trees and will be able to find homes in many different parts of these areas. Just because you aren’t in a desert area, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any scorpions around. Some of them can even be found in places like attics, basements, and closets. 

    Scorpions are fairly diverse creatures, and they can be found in many different climates. However, they’re most common in desert areas with a lot of sandy soil that they can burrow into and find water.

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    Final Thoughts

    Knowing what scorpions look like and what kind of habitats they live in can help you avoid them. While most scorpions won’t have a strong enough venom to severely injure you, some do, and others can trigger an allergic reaction. Understanding the differences between these scorpions can help you stay safe if you come across one. 

    If you’re experiencing a scorpion infestation, it’s best to call in a pest control professional. They’ll know how to deal with an infestation and what course of action you should be taking to keep yourself and your family safe. They’ll also be able to come up with a plan to keep your scorpion problem from coming back. 



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