Scorpion Bite

How Dangerous Is A Scorpion Bite?

It might be a surprise to find out that a scorpion bite is not dangerous at all, unless one happens to be a very small bug. The scorpion's mouth parts aren't all that large, and it really can't bite or chew its foods, but has to liquefy its meal first, and then drink it. It's unlikely that a human has ever received a scorpion bite, even if the creature is handled.

That doesn't mean one should pick a scorpion up. It won't bite, but it almost invariably will sting, and it's the scorpion's sting that gives us good reason to keep a respectable distance from one. Still, people report getting scorpion bites, and remain afraid of getting scorpion bites. A scorpion bite is really a misnomer, but so is frostbite, or frostbitten. If someone corrects you for mentioning a scorpion bite, when you mean a scorpion sting, you needn't apologize. Just tell them to focus on something of greater importance in their lives. The term “scorpion bite” is likely here to stay.

The scorpion is a fearsome looking creature. That's even true of the smaller species. There are roughly 2,000 species of scorpions, and all have venom in their tails, but less than two dozen of them deliver enough venom to be harmful to humans or other larger animals. People have died from scorpion stings, but those have been mainly people with immune system deficiencies, or those who may have an allergic reaction to the toxin. Small pets are at a greater danger from scorpions than are people.

A scorpion, which resembles a crayfish with a stinger attached is not an insect, but like the spider is a member of the Arachnid class, and has eight legs instead of six. The claws are strong enough to crush small insects, but are otherwise used to grasp prey, especially slightly larger prey so the stinger can be brought into play.

Symptoms Of A Scorpion Bite - Whether you call it a scorpion bite or a scorpion sting, it is usually not a pleasant thing to have happen. There will usually be an initial sharp pain and a burning sensation in the area of the sting, as the venom of most scorpions is very fast acting. For many, this local sensation may be all that is experienced, and most scorpion stings are not much more unpleasant that a bee sting. Just as a bee sting can cause severe symptoms in some people, so can a scorpion's sting. Add to this the fact that a scorpion can regulate the amount of venom it delivers. If course, if it feels threatened, especially if you sit on one or try to pick one up, you'll likely get a full dose. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, and if severe reactions set in, breathing may be affected, and the victim may experience a high fever.

Even in the case of very severe reaction, the chance of death occurring is not all that large, even if a person lapses into unconsciousness. In some cases an antidote is available to counteract the effects of the venom, but the venom of some scorpion species has no known antidote, and the course of treatment is mainly one of trying to make the victim as comfortable as possible. Even in the case of severe stings, the symptoms generally go away in a day or two, though some local soreness and pain may linger.

The bottom line -  don't tell someone a scorpion's bite is harmless and will cause no pain, even though that technically would be a true statement. Someone might just take you at your word, only to ask later why you didn't mention the stinger.