- Size: The Indian red scorpion ranges in size from 2 to 3.5 inches in length.
- Color: These scorpions come in a wide array of body colors, from gray to dark orange to bright reddish-brown. Their legs, stingers and the tips of their pincers are a bright orange-red, lending to their name.
- Behavior: The Indian red scorpion is the most deadly species of scorpions in the world. These nocturnal predators are native to India and are rarely found outside of Eastern Nepal, Eastern Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Indian red scorpions lie in wait for their prey, grab the passing victim with their pincers and then sting with their tail before feasting on their dying meal. The venom liquefies the prey’s insides, which can then be digested by the scorpion. The remaining body parts are cast aside. Insects and other small invertebrates are the typical food source for these scorpions. Some small vertebrates, such as lizards, can also become prey. Humans and larger animals are not targets of this scorpion, and are only stung as a last resort, self-defense tactic.
These scorpions pose a particularly high threat in their native lands, due to their tendency to live around humans. Since immediate health care might not always be available in remote Indian villages, death isn’t uncommon after a sting. The deadly neurotoxin rTamapin works quickly to block potassium channels in the body, causing rhythmic fluctuations in blood pressure and cardiovascular collapse. Left untreated, an Indian red scorpion sting can lead to pulmonary edema, causing death in less than 72 hours. Children are especially susceptible to these stings, many times getting stung while running around outside barefoot. Indoors, stings typically occur during the early morning or nighttime, as scorpions accidentally crawl into beds or fall from ceilings.
HabitatsThese lethal scorpions live in close proximity to humans, especially in humid, rural areas with low vegetation and tropical to subtropical climates. They take shelter in many of the same places humans do. Since they lie in wait for their prey to pass by, hiding spots inside the home can include under beds, in cabinets and inside shoes. Luckily, the Indian red scorpion is not found in the United States, though some people do keep them as pets.
Tips for ControlThe Indian red scorpion isn’t found in the wild in the United States, but about 90 other species of scorpions are. To help control the scorpion population around your home:
- Remove low-lying vegetation around your property, as well as other debris that can provide harborage for this predator.
- Look for potential harborage areas at night with a portable black light. All scorpions glow under black lights. Check between 9 and 11 PM, especially during the summer months.
- Seal up all entry points to your home, including spaces and cracks around windows, in the foundation or under doors. Use caulk and weather stripping, as well as tightly fitting screens.
While you aren’t likely to run into a scorpion as deadly as the Indian red scorpion, these arachnids can still present danger to you and your family. Don’t live in fear – call Terminix® if you’re worried about scorpions in your home and let the professionals put the sting on these pests.