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October’s Wildlife Express sheds some (black) light on Idaho’s scorpions

If you thought rattlesnakes were the only antagonists of the Idaho desert, think again. The Gem State’s dry country is home to an arachnid that many folks don’t even think about: scorpions.

For some, scorpions are nightmare fuel when camping out under the stars in southern Idaho. Recall the famous Gary Larsen Far Side cartoon of a scorpion sitting on a wide-eyed, sleeping bag-wrapped camper’s nose, with the caption, “Excuse me, but the others sent me up here to ask you to please not roll around so much.” Not too far off if you’re, say, recreating in the Owyhees.

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But to others, scorpions are a fascinating little creature seldom seen, more often found at night. Commonly identified by their segmented bodies, dual pincers and long hooked tail affixed with a stinger, scorpions come in four varieties here in Idaho: northern, burrowing, black-back and the yellow ground scorpion.

Many folks seek out scorpions as a hobby, using black lights. Scorpions are fluorescent and glow a beautiful blue-green color under ultraviolet light. A popular spot to hunt for scorpions is Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park, but can be found ‘always somewhere’ in most arid places.

Scorpion Facts

  • To help prevent their bodies from drying out, their exoskeletons are covered in wax.
  • Scorpions have four pairs of walking legs on their heads.
  • Scorpions may survive up to six to 12 months on one meal.
  • They have 6-12 eyes, depending on the species of scorpion.
  • Since their sight isn’t the best, scorpions have hairs on their bodies that help them sense vibrations to pick up the movements of prey and predators. Some scorpions can even rub their hairs together to make a sound.
  • Pallid bats are immune to scorpion stings.
  • Northern scorpions are the most commonly found scorpions in Idaho.
  • Male scorpions will entice females with quick shivering-like movements known as “juddering.”

Interested in learning even more cool facts about scorpions? Go check out Fish and Game’s monthly newsletter for kids, Wildlife Express, and uncover the seldom seen lives of these eight-legged critters.