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Are There Scorpions in Pennsylvania?

Ed Malaker

Scorpions are terrifying creatures that you can find across much of the United States, and many people wonder if you can find them in Pennsylvania as well. The short answer is no, there are no scorpions in Pa that you need to worry about but keep reading while we look at why not. We’ll also dig into the past to see if they were ever here and if there are any close relatives to help you learn more about the wildlife in your area.

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Why Are There No Scorpions in Pennsylvania?

Large clawed scorpion
Image Credit: Kajornsak Meechok, Shutterstock

The scorpion is a predatory arachnid with two pincers and a long-segmented tail that often ends in a poisonous stinger that they use to kill prey and defend themselves. Most scorpions are harmless to humans, but they can pack a powerful bite and often stink people walking barefoot. Most species stick to the hot desert, but they have evolved to live on every continent except Antarctica. They make it as far north as Canada in the western United States, but east of the Great Lakes, they prefer to stay to the south, rarely venturing north of the Carolinas. You won’t find them in Pennsylvania, Washington DC, New York, Main, and several other northeastern states.

Were There Ever Scorpions in Pennsylvania?

Dictator scorpion
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

There may not have been traditional scorpions, like the ones we might find in Texas, in Pennsylvania, but scientists have found evidence of a prehistoric Giant Sea Scorpion. Fossilized tracks of a 350-million-year-old Palmichnium Kosinskiorum, or Sea Scorpion, were found along the Clarion River near Pittsburgh and are the oldest tracks of this kind found anywhere. The fossil resides at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Elk County, Pennsylvania, where you can still see them today. This species would have been more than seven feet long and amphibious.

Are there Relatives of the Scorpion in Pennsylvania?

Black scorpion
Image Credit: andrey_barsukov, Pixabay

Pennsylvania is home to the Pseudoscorpion. Pseudoscorpions are tiny arachnids with pincer claws like a scorpion, but they lack the segmented tail. These animals rarely grow longer than 1/3 inch and are usually much smaller. Their tiny size and flat, teardrop-shaped body cause many people to mistake them for a tick or a bed bug. However, these insects are not harmful to humans and typically show up where there is a lot of humidity or a large population of other arthropods they can use for food. Older Pseudoscorpions have difficulty climbing walls and righting themselves after tipping over, so you are more likely to find them, while the adolescents are extremely elusive.

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Summary

Luckily, there are no poisonous scorpions to worry about while you are out walking in Pennsylvania. You might find a few pseudoscorpions, especially if you live in a wooded area without much sunlight, but these small insects will not harm humans and will help to get rid of other, less desirable insects. We also have the oldest and largest fossil of a water scorpion on record. So, take that world!

We hope you have enjoyed reading this short guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we helped you feel a little safer about walking barefoot in the grass, please share our look into if there are any poisonous spiders in Pennsylvania on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Vova Shevchuk, Shutterstock

Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.