GIANT DESERT HAIRY SCORPION
The desert hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) is the largest scorpion in North America. They can grow up to 14 cm (7 inches) long. The giant desert hairy scorpion gets its name from its size and from the numerous large sensory hairs on its body and legs.
Image Credit: Scott Sprague, Arizona Game and Fish Department
What do they look like?
The giant desert hairy scorpion has a dark body and yellow legs, claws, and tail. The claws are large and are used to capture prey. Scorpions have multiple eyes that are sensitive to light, but vision is not very important in locating their prey. Instead, they use the numerous sensory hairs present on their bodies and appendages to detect and locate prey accurately. Some of the hairs detect chemicals given off by the prey, some detect air currents caused by the movement of the prey, and others are very sensitive to touch.
What do they eat?
Giant desert hairy scorpions are nocturnal, emerging at night to hunt for prey or mates. They sit and wait to ambush other scorpions, insects, spiders, and small snakes and lizards. Like other scorpions, they most often crush prey with their claws and only sting if the prey is large or active. They are aggressive and readily sting when provoked, but the venom of a giant desert hairy scorpion does not have much effect on humans except for pain and local swelling. The pain from their stings is generally described to be similar to that of a bee sting. Allergic reactions can occur but are uncommon.
What eats them?
Giant desert hairy scorpions are prey for birds, bats, lizards, small mammals, and large spiders.
Where do they live?
Giant desert hairy scorpions can be found throughout the Sonoran and Mohave deserts. They are often found in or near desert washes and may also be found under rocks. During the day, they live in burrows that can be 8 feet deep. These locations keep them cool during hot desert days.