Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Devlin from Marion, IA. Devlin Wonders, “Are all scorpions venomous?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Devlin!
If you had the opportunity, would you go on an adventure in the desert? When we think of awesome places to visit, deserts aren't always at the top of our lists. Instead, we might have our sights set on mountains or beaches.
Deserts can be fascinating places to visit, though. If you're a fan of warm, dry weather, then you'll probably enjoy the desert. Deserts also have plants and creatures that you can't find anywhere else.
A hike through the desert might take you amongst tall cactuses. You might also see an armadillo. Of course, there are a few creatures you might want to keep an eye out for, such as snakes and scorpions.
Scorpions are arachnids. They have eight legs just like their cousins: spiders, mites, and ticks. They tend to prefer hot, dry deserts and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Have you ever seen a scorpion? If so, you already know they look a bit like tiny lobsters with intimidating pincers and a long, thin tail that curves up over their backs, ending in a barb that can deliver a venomous sting.
That venomous barb — called a telson — can stun and kill a scorpion's prey, which usually consists of various insects. From time to time, though, scorpions may also feast on spiders, lizards, and small rodents.
Scorpions rely on their venom for more than just subduing prey. They also use it to prevent themselves from becoming prey at the fangs and claws of predators, such as snakes, lizards, and birds.
Although many people fear scorpions because of their intimidating appearance and venomous tails, scorpions don't really present much of a danger to people. Of the more than 2,000 different species of scorpions, only 30-40 of those species produce venom strong enough to kill a human.
For example, only one scorpion in the United States — the Arizona bark scorpion — produces venom strong enough to kill a small child. As a general rule, scorpions will only sting humans when they feel threatened. Hospitals in areas with lots of scorpions stock plenty of antivenom, so deaths from scorpion stings are quite rare.
Scorpions are true survivors. They've been around since before the dinosaurs. They possess some interesting abilities that help them survive in some of the world's harshest conditions.
When food is scarce, they can slow their so that they can survive on just one insect for a year. They can live off only the moisture they get from their food. They can also survive underwater for two days and even recover from being frozen!