When you hear the word “scorpion,” you probably think about the desert. However, scorpions are native to a variety of environments and regions – including Alabama.
There are two scorpions found in Alabama: the Hentz Striped Scorpion and Southern Unstriped Scorpion – also called the southern devil scorpion.
Both of these species are relatively small and harmless. They are not venomous, though their sting does hurt quite a bit.
They may occasionally wander into homes, especially when it gets cold. They can fit into tiny spaces, so any cracks in your home can be openings.
In this article, we’ll take a look at these two scorpion species.
The 2 Scorpions Found in Alabama
1. Hentz Striped Scorpion
|Longevity||About four years|
|Good to own as a pet?||Yes|
|Legal to own?||Yes|
|Adult size||2 – 2 ¾ inches|
|Diet||Cockroaches and similar insects|
The Hentz Striped Scorpion is found across much of the southern United States. It is pretty tiny – measuring only 2 ¾ inches maximum. They are smaller overall than most species – in both weight and length. Their body shape is not bulky in the least.
Its coloration does vary slightly from a light tan to dark brown. They often have green-yellow stripes across their back. Not all individuals match this coloration, though.
Just because the stripes are absent doesn’t mean it isn’t a Hentz Striped Scorpion – despite the name.
This species has a very slender abdomen. It may be pale or dark, depending on the specific geographical location.
They prefer to live in dark crevices where they can hide from predators. They are pretty shy and skittish, so most do not prefer to live near people. You may find them under rock piles, debris, and abandoned dirt roads. They don’t like much commotion, so they often flee from busy areas.
These scorpions can be very helpful to have around – though no one likes seeing a scorpion in their home. They prey primarily on insects like cockroaches, which can infest your house and cause serious problems. They are excellent natural pest controls.
Therefore, it is not recommended to remove them from your land. Of course, inside your house is a different story.
2. Southern Unstriped Scorpion
|Longevity||About three years|
|Good to own as a pet?||Yes|
|Legal to own?||Yes|
|Adult size||About 1.5 inches|
|Diet||Insects and spiders|
The Southern Unstriped Scorpion is extremely common in Alabama and many of the surrounding states. This scorpion is tiny and spends much of its time hiding from predators. They are small and easy to miss, which is likely why fewer reports of seeing them.
They stay out of people’s way for the most part.
Their body is uniformly brown, and they don’t have any markings. Their legs are often slightly lighter than the rest of their body. For the most part, these scorpions are easy to identify due to their lack of markings and petite size.
Like most scorpions, this species lives in debris piles outside. They’re often found in brick foundations, stone piles, and under logs.
Due to their small size, these scorpions subsist primarily on small insects. They are not large enough to take down most larger prey items – like the lizards commonly hunted by other scorpions.
Are Southern Devil Scorpions Poisonous?
Technically, all species of scorpions are poisonous. They all make a venom that they use to kill their prey.
However, the Southern Devil Scorpion is better compared to a bee or a wasp than a venomous snake. While they do make venom, it is not particularly dangerous to people.
A sting may cause pain and swelling – just like a wasp sting. However, it doesn’t cause severe reactions in most cases.
Some people are allergic to this particular venom. In these cases, they may have a more intense reaction and need medical attention. This is similar to being allergic to bee stings. Different people have different levels of reactions.
This species does not have a deadly poison, but their sting will be painful.
How Do You Tell If a Scorpion is Poisonous in Alabama?
All scorpions are poisonous in Alabama – technically. They all produce a venom that they use primarily for hunting purposes. However, this venom is mainly harmless to people.
They are venomous in the same line as bees and wasps. The venom won’t kill you, but it isn’t going to feel good.
You should usually avoid handling wild scorpions –like you would avoid handling wasps. Their stings are painful, though not deadly.
Some people will have allergic reactions to their stings. These people will have more severe reactions to the venom and may require medical attention. You won’t know if you’re allergic until you are stung – so keep that in mind if you come in contact with a scorpion.
What To Do If You See a Scorpion?
If you see a scorpion outside, you can leave it alone. Even if you see it near your house, the odds of it ending up inside are unlikely.
The scorpions in Alabama are not harmful. They can make excellent pest control, as they primarily feed on large insects like cockroaches. Having them near your home isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, if you find one in your home, you may want to call a pest control agency. While they are helpful for the environment, they can sneak into shoes and clothing when inside a home – leading to stings.
You wouldn’t want bees or wasps in your home – so we generally don’t recommend living alongside scorpions either.
For the most part, people can live alongside scorpions without much of a problem.
- You may also be interested in: 12 Snakes Found in Alabama
There are two species of scorpion native to Alabama. While both of these species are venomous, their venom is not deadly in the least.
The reaction won’t be worse than a bee or wasp sting. Some people may be allergic to venom, which will cause a worse reaction. Most people won’t require medical attention.
If you come across a scorpion in Alabama, your best bet is to leave it alone. These scorpions are essential for the environment and can help control the insect population. They prey primarily on giant insects – like cockroaches.
Having scorpions in your yard isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially if you have a bug problem.
Featured Image Credit by Rob Hainer, Shutterstock