Field Biology

Fatty Scorpion

I like to think I’m pretty used to scorpions. I grew up in a town called New River, which used to be way out in the middle of the desert but is now just part of Phoenix. The walls of our home were infested with Bark Scorpions so badly that there was nothing we could do besides plug up any holes and paint our walls baby blue so that we could see them. It’s a miracle I never got stung, but pretty much everyone else in my town did. My friend got stung on her butt which horrified me when I was a kid. But now that I’m older & way more mature, they don’t scare me. I have a healthy respect for them, but I don’t scream and leap onto the nearest furniture like I do when I see a cockroach.

But that was Arizona where scorpions are small. Including their tail, they rarely get longer than your pinky. Apparently things are different in the Mojave. One of the construction guys eagerly jogged over to me to announce that they had found a scorpion.

Neat, I replied, and ran over to have a look-see.

Um. GROSS.

WTF is this?!!

It was enormous and looked like it wanted to stab me in the heart. It was pale and shiny and fat and juicy. I couldn’t look away.

It was grossing me out and kind of scaring me, so I looked away. Pat stuck his measuring tape in the bucket so we could see how big he was.

That's a few too many inches for me, thank you.

For comparison, the less formidable-looking Bark Scorpion:

Turns out the fatty scorp is a Desert Hairy Scorpion, so named because of the numerous ERECT hairs growing out of his sectioned gross body. But, just like ugly people are nicer than pretty people, the Desert Hairy won’t kill you as bad as the Bark Scorp.

Killingness factor: Desert Hairy vs Bark Scorpion.

Here’s something people don’t know: Stop freaking out about scorpions! (I was not freaking out, I was just creeped out. Difference.) They aren’t going to kill you unless you are a small pet or like 100 years old! The wiki article for Bark Scorpions (above) says that they are the most venomous scorpion in the US, but have only killed 2 people in the last 55 years in Arizona. There’s a much higher chance of me killing you while I’m texting & driving.

For a dose of how repulsive some humans are, click on the Bark Scorp pic or just click right here.

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