Skip to Content

Do Scorpions Play Dead? (How to Tell)

Do Scorpions Play Dead? (How to Tell)

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Scorpions are some of the most terrifying creatures on this planet. They are identified as predatory arachnids and have eight legs that they use for climbing and moving about.

However, that’s not all. These insects also have two incredibly strong pincers and a segmented tail that curves forward toward their back. The scorpion is known for the stinger at the end of its tail.

These insects are as old as dirt, with their history going as far back as 435 million years. While they are primarily found in deserts, you should know that scorpions have also adapted to a range of different living conditions.

Today, you can find scorpions almost anywhere in the world except the continent of Antarctica. There are more than 2,500 species of the scorpion, so it’s probable that you have seen one or two.

While scorpions generally eat insects, there are others that also don’t mind feasting on vertebrates. The scorpion uses its pincers to restrain and then kill its prey.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is the venomous sting, which the scorpion is able to use both for defensive purposes and for killing its prey. However, scorpions have developed a range of different tactics for dealing with predators that might pose a problem to them.

For instance, many people have reported that forest scorpions tend to play dead at times. They become all stiff, and as soon as you pick them up, they are likely to run up your hand or away from you.

Another breed, the Liocheles Australasiae also likes to play dead when it’s disturbed. These are creatures that like to remain in their own worlds. In fact, the Liocheles is so convincing in its act that you can even flip it over and the scorpion won’t move.

It’s known as catalepsy, and scorpions often like to practice it. Common breeds such as the Babycurus Jacksoni and the Odonturus Dentatus are known to play dead from time to time.

How to Tell If They Are Actually Dead or Not

Scorpion In Desert Sand

It can be quite tricky to determine which scorpions are playing dead and which ones aren’t. For instance, some incredibly venomous breeds such as the Tityus Silvestris and the Tityus Bastosi are known to play dead really well.

If you want to know whether a scorpion is really dead, the best thing to do is to give it a few days. Avoid reaching down into the box to lift it up. If the scorpion is alive, it could eventually land its stinger into your arm.

You really don’t want that to happen.

After a few days, you will begin to smell effluvium, which is the smell of a dead animal. If you notice this pungent smell, it’s pretty clear that the animal is dead.

More importantly, you should know that most animals don’t just play dead for several days on end. If you have a scorpion that’s playing dead, just see if it continues to do so over a longer period of time.

There’s also another way to figure out whether the scorpion is alive or dead: you can simply poke it with some forceps. Forceps are an excellent way to handle scorpions, and will make it easy for you to check whether the scorpion is actually alive or dead without handling it.

Always make sure that you keep the scorpion at a considerable distance from yourself. Do not let it come close, as there is a chance that the animal will use its stinger to attack you.

Remember, taming a scorpion is virtually impossible, so there’s no point in trying to do so.

Now that you know a thing or two about their weird behavior, it’s time to talk about some important facts about scorpions and why they are such unique creatures in the animal kingdom.

They Are Incredibly Tough

Scorpion On Moss

One of the major things that you should know about scorpions is that they are incredibly tough. For starters, this tiny creature is capable of going up to an entire year without eating food.

Most people might think this is not true, but there’s a scientific explanation for this. The scorpion has layers of fat on their exoskeleton. This makes the animal considerably resistant to water loss, something that occurs very commonly in most animals and humans.

This also allows them to bring their metabolism down to a crawl when they know that food isn’t readily available. On top of that, you should know that the animal is able to live under the water for up to two days.

In fact, you could even freeze a scorpion and it’s not going to die. Just like in the cartoons, once you thaw the scorpion, it’s only going to get up and start walking soon after.

Keep in mind that an average scorpion lives anywhere between two and 10 years, but there are a few species that can last upwards of 25 years as well.

The Bark Scorpion

Striped Bark Scorpion

One of the most lethal and dangerous species in the world is the bark scorpion. Found natively in Arizona, the bark scorpion is just one of the many dangerous animals that you will find in the Southwest.

The potency of their venom is off the charts, and in certain rare cases, it can prove fatal. Most healthy people are definitely going to survive a sting from a scorpion, though it’s going to cause quite a bit of pain.

You can expect a great deal of radiating pain at the site where the scorpion stung you. To some people, the sensation is similar to dipping their hand in fire. Some people also experience tingling and numbness.

In certain other people, the severity of the condition is much worse. For instance, a sting from the bark scorpion in children could lead to vomiting, drooling, or cause muscle twitching or increase their heart rate dramatically.

They Know Hunting and Are Fierce About it

Scorpions Fighting Eachother

One of the reasons why you can’t tame a scorpion is because these guys are incredibly fierce hunters and don’t know how to be subservient to anyone.

These guys are so serious about their hunting that they don’t mind attacking insects, other scorpions, or even their family members. If someone threatens their den, the scorpion will try and attack.

More importantly, you should know that scorpions have a great deal of patience. They can easily sit in one spot for long hours, waiting until their prey wanders close and within their range.

At that point, the scorpion exercises its sharp reflexes, using its pincers and its powerful tail to completely render its prey motionless. It’s a ruthless method for killing too: the scorpion holds its prey down and uses its tail to literally bash them.

Once it has killed its prey, the scorpion will tear it apart using its pincers. Then, it will spit some kind of juices on the prey, which melts their prey into a kind of soup full of meat chunks.

Finally, they consume their prey.

As you can imagine, scorpions are definitely not the best guys in the animal kingdom. It would be best if you steer clear them, even if you see a dead one!


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: