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Scorpions in Utah

There are 12 scorpions you may come across in Utah. Scorpions prefer their wild habitat but are known to wander into homes looking for prey and water.

If you are wondering if the scorpion you just saw is dangerous and you want to identify it, continue reading to find out more.

Are Scorpions In Utah Dangerous?

All scorpions have a stinger on the end of their tail that injects venom, but the majority are not dangerous to humans.

The only species you need to be concerned about in Utah is the Arizona Bark Scorpion, which is potentially harmful to humans, but has very limited distribution in the state and is usually only found in southeastern Utah.

Types Of Scorpions In Utah

The 12 scorpions you may come across in Utah include:

1. Northern Scorpion

Northern scorpion

Scientific name: Paruroctonus boreus.

Common name: northern scorpion.

Northern scorpions are hardy and can withstand just about any temperature, often living in areas that many would find uninhabitable.

They have dark stripes on their body that look brown or black.

If you see the Northern scorpion roaming around searching for prey, then chances are it is the only scorpion of this type in the area.

2. Yellow Devil Scorpion

Paravaejovis confusus

Paravaejovis confusus. Image by Daniel via inaturalist

Scientific name: Paravaejovis confusus.

Common name: Yellow Devil Scorpion.

Yellow devil scorpions are small scorpions that are found in the drier regions of Utah. There are many observations of this scorpion, usually from June through to September.

They are not considered harmful to humans and if seen inside the home, you can remove them safely, releasing them back to their natural habitat.

3. Desert Hairy Scorpion

Desert hairy scorpion

Scientific name: Hadrurus arizonensis.

Common name: giant desert hairy scorpion, giant hairy scorpion, Arizona Desert hairy scorpion.

The desert hairy scorpion is also known as the giant hairy scorpion and is the largest scorpion you will come across in North America, which can grow to 5.5 inches (14cm) in length.

They feed on a variety of prey from lizards and other scorpions to snakes.

They are yellow with dark on the top, along with brown hairs that cover the cover.

The hairs play an important role, detecting vibrations in the soil.

Their venom is not dangerous, even with their large size, and is considered similar to that of a bee sting.

4. Black Hairy Scorpion

Black Hairy Scorpion

Scientific name: Hadrurus spadix.

Common name: Black Hairy Scorpion.

Black hairy scorpions are large and native to North America.

This burrowing scorpion, which can grow to 15cm, digs in the sand and enlarges its burrow.

They are very similar to the desert hairy scorpion but can be told apart for their completely black cephalothorax and prosoma.

They are nervous and can show aggression, though their sting is considered painful, but not dangerous

5. Mafia Scorpion

Anuroctonus phaiodactylus

Anuroctonus phaiodactylus. Image by Corey Lange via inaturalist

Scientific name: Anuroctonus phaiodactylus.

Common name: Burrowing Scorpion, Mafia Scorpion.

The mafia scorpion is a burrowing scorpion with swollen pincers. They are feisty with beautiful coloration.

Their venom has a toxin known as Phaiodotoxin, which results in the opening of the sting remaining open for an increased period of time.

Due to their burrowing nature and being nocturnal, these scorpions are not encountered often.

6. Arizona Bark Scorpion

Arizona Bark Scorpion

Scientific name: Centruroides sculpturatus.

Common name: Arizona Bark Scorpion.

This light brown and small scorpion is the most venomous scorpion in North America, with males growing to 3.14 inches (8cm) and females being slightly smaller at 2.75 inches (7cm).

They are nocturnal and their exoskeleton is resistant to water loss, which enables them to live in desert areas. They hide most of the day coming out at night to hunt for prey.

Their venom causes pain, numbness, vomiting, and tingling in adults, which can last up to 72 hours.

It's not uncommon for the sting area to become temporarily immobilized and in some cases, people experience shortness of breath for a short period.

7. Beck's Desert Scorpion

Paruroctonus becki

Paruroctonus becki. Image by BJ Stacey via inaturalist

Scientific name: Paruroctonus becki.

Common name: Beck's Desert Scorpion.

The Beck's desert scorpion is a light tan color, which helps it blend into its natural habitat. They have a number of lines running on the back, which helps with identifications.

There have not been many observations of this secretive and wary scorpion, which spends most of its time hidden and blending into its sandy surroundings, only coming out at night to hunt for prey.

8. Serradigitus wupatkiensis

Serradigitus wupatkiensis

Serradigitus wupatkiensis. Image by Hunter H via inaturalist

This is a type of sawfinger scorpion belonging to the Vaejovidae family with more than twenty species in the Serradigitus species.

This is also a secretive scorpion with not much known, due to its excellent camouflage and burrowing during the day, only coming out in the dark of night to hunt and capture prey.

9. Eastern Sand Scorpion

Paruroctonus utahensis

Paruroctonus utahensis. Image by Isaac Lord via inaturalist

Scientific name: Paruroctonus utahensis.

Common name: Eastern Sand Scorpion.

Eastern sand scorpions are common in southeastern Utah, where they prefer dry sand.

They use vibrations to help them identify when prospective prey gets closer.

They are burrowing scorpions and nocturnal with their color matching the sand, ranging from a very pale yellow to a yellow-brown.

They have swollen pincers and bristle combs on their legs, which helps them navigate the dry sand.

10. Baja California Bark Scorpion

Baja California Bark Scorpion

Scientific name: Centruroides exilicauda.

Common name: Baja California Bark Scorpion.

This scorpion is a type of bark scorpion and is closely related to the Arizona Bark Scorpion, but it is not dangerous.

They were considered the same species in 1980 and their toxicity was recorded through DNA analysis in 2004, identifying them as two species.

This scorpion is also nocturnal, using the night to catch prey.

11. Kochius hirsuticauda

Kochius hirsuticauda

Kochius hirsuticauda. Image by Devin Stidham via inaturalist

This scorpion species is found in Utah and is a small scorpion growing to 32mm in length.

Not much is known about this small burrowing scorpion, except it is not dangerous to humans and is not often encountered.

12. Vaejovis jones

There is very little known about the Vaejovis Jones scorpion.

This nocturnal scorpion is secretive and very seldom observed, remaining in its natural habitat, where it burrows and hides most of the day.

Where To Find Utah Scorpions?

Scorpions Utah map

Scorpions in Utah range map

Most scorpions in Utah can be found in the semiarid deserts in southern Utah, but there are those that are found in northern Utah.

They are all nocturnal and hide during the day. It’s not uncommon to find them when turning over rocks or collecting wood from a woodpile.

Scorpions may also wander into the home, looking for prey or water, or simply trying to cool down on a hot day.

If you want to spend a day searching for scorpions, then look under rocks, fallen trees, rotting logs, woodpiles, and debris.

Scorpion under rocks

What To Do If You See A Scorpion?

What you should do if you see a scorpion is determined by where you see it.

If you see it in its natural habitat, in the wild, then it’s best to simply ignore it and let it go about its business.

But if you find one in your home, that is another story. It's best to use a broom and dustpan or a container with a piece of paper to capture the scorpion, enabling you to safely release it back into the wild.

In the event, you are sitting around the fire at night and a scorpion climbs onto you, never slap it, simply brush it away quickly. Slapping the scorpion will hurt it, which will result in a sting.

How To Get Rid Of Scorpions In Utah

Indoor

Scorpions are able to get into homes and will crawl under any object to protect themselves.

Gaps around doors and windows are an easy entry way for them, using weather stripping around doors and windows can help keep them out.

Bark scorpions are able to get in through the smallest of cracks, you can prevent them from getting inside by plugging up gaps around pipes and wiring.

Remove indoor clutter, removing any hiding places for scorpions.

You can try using large glass jars under crib legs and table legs, as they cannot climb on clean glass. Petroleum jelly on the legs of tables, beds, and cribs is also effective, making climbing difficult for the scorpion.

Outdoor

You should remove trash piles, boards, and keep firewood off the ground and a distance from the home.

Prune all shrubs and remove any leaf litter, keep your grass short.

Repair any leaking air conditioners, which can be an attraction to scorpions looking for water.

Swimming Pool

If you have a swimming pool, seal up gaps to the pump, keep clothes and towels off the ground and wear shoes.

Scorpions are often attracted to swimming pools following insects, which can result in them falling into the pool.

Even though they may appear dead, they can survive in water for a period of time, always remove with a net to be sure and release far from the home.

Summary

Scorpions prefer their natural habitat where they can burrow in the sand and hide under rocks and debris.

If you live in an area where scorpions are common, then taking preventative measures can reduce the risk of them getting into your home.

Always take care when you get too close to a scorpion, ensuring that you capture it safely and release it back to nature without the risk of being stung.