Scorpions are carnivorous arachnids closely related to spiders and ticks. All 2,000 scorpion species are hardy bugs; researchers have even frozen scorpions overnight only to watch them thaw and walk away unscathed the next morning. A scorpion’s tough nature permeates its being, and these arthropods are fierce hunters, capable of ambushing and killing prey at a moment’s notice.
Scorpions are adaptable. They’re commonly known as desert dwellers but they’ve inhabited the southwestern deserts of the United States, the trees of the Brazilian rainforest, British Columbia, the Eastern seaboard, Europe, Yemen, Iraq and even the Himalayas for millions of years. What scorpions look for most in a habitat is one of the most prevalent resources on Earth -- soil. Scorpions are burrowing animals so they need loose soil in order to survive and thrive. They avoid areas of hard, dense topsoil such as permafrost.
A scorpion's diet mainly consists of insects, though larger species consume lizards, snakes, other scorpions and rodents as well. No fruits and vegetables for these arthropods, scorpions are strict, predatory carnivores; however, a scorpion’s meal is anything but dine and dash. Scorpions inject venom into their prey through their stinger, and this venom works to liquefy the prey’s insides. This process can be time-consuming, but scorpions patiently wait for the chance to consume their prey’s insides in a liquefied state.
Scorpions are nocturnal ambush-style hunters. They prefer to wait inside a burrow and listen for any vibrations that signal prey has arrived. Once prey is near, a scorpion uses the element of surprise to attack the potential meal with its strong pinchers and stinger, simultaneously crushing and poisoning it to death.
A scorpion has the amazing ability to slow down its metabolism so much that it can survive on as little as one insect a year. This is extremely useful in areas where food is scarce or during natural disasters. Scorpions also have the ability to quickly switch their metabolisms on and off. When they slow their metabolisms to one-third the rate of other arthropods, they’re able to hunker down in burrows using little oxygen and requiring scarce amounts of nutrition. However, scorpions can go from hibernation to hunting as soon as conditions become more favorable.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.