Updated: Oct 2, 2018
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona is home to the most venomous scorpion in all of North America. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is the only scorpion in the states that can be fatal to humans, although this is very rare. Hearing that, it’s easy to picture a large, intimidating scorpion but in reality these critters are at most only a few inches long.
Hikers in the desert, however, should be wary. Stings from a bark scorpion can cause a numbness or tingling around the affected area and can even lead to vomiting for those with serious reactions. The stings don’t go away quickly either, with symptoms lasting as long as three days from the time of the sting. If you are unlucky enough to be stung, it is recommended to wash the sting thoroughly with soap and water, apply a cool compress and take an ibuprofen. If it continues to worsen, seek medical treatment.
When you do come across a scorpion, however, they are incredible to see in the wild so don’t run away. In fact, many people actually seek out scorpions, with some even going so far as to capture them for collections. The bark scorpion is the only species in the American Southwest that can climb, so it can often be spotted on trees or walls, although most commonly it will be on the underside of rocks, hiding from the sun.
If you go out looking for scorpions at night, bring a black light. Arizona bark scorpions will glow under a blacklight, making them easy to spot. If you are seeking them out, this is far easier than searching for their well-camouflaged bodies in the daytime.
Arizona wildlife is one of the many unique things about our great state. When looking for things to do in Phoenix, there are hundreds of ways to get out into nature and experience the desert landscape for yourself. Whether hiking, mountain biking or driving ATVs, the incredible variety of plants and animals you will see is simply astounding.