You would think that a creature with two crab-like claws, a tail full of venom, and a hard outer shell wouldn’t have anything to worry about. But there are many predators that have clever and unique ways of getting around a scorpion’s many defenses.
Shrews, owls, snakes, spiders, and even bats will feed on scorpions. Scorpions defend themselves with their venomous tails. There are plenty of animals that have learned how to avoid the sting or have developed evolutionary traits to deal with stings so they can put scorpions on the menu.
In the scorpion’s world, it’s eat or be eaten. So, let’s get into some of the predators that eat these nightmarish scorpions!
- Scorpions are fierce nocturnal predators that typically live in dry, desert-like climates.
- Despite their many defenses, scorpions fall prey to a variety of predators including owls, shrews, snakes, bats, spiders, and more.
- Most predators of scorpions are also nocturnal, with some locating prey by echolocation.
1. Owls Eat Scorpions
There are several species of owls that make their home where scorpions dwell. Since they are out at night, searching for a meal, they can make quick work of the nocturnal scorpions.
Owls are fearsome predators that attack with silent flight, stealthy skills, and swift strikes. They are extremely accurate and can easily and quickly dispatch scorpions before they have a chance to defend themselves.
Great horned owls are the most common owl that eats scorpions. However, scorpions make up a small percentage of their diet. These silent hunters can be found pretty much everywhere in the United States, but scorpions only live in warmer climates such as Arizona, California, and New Mexico. It is in these three states where owls are most likely to eat scorpions.
2. Shrews Satisfy Hunger By Gobbling Scorpions
Specifically, the desert shrew. This small creature is sometimes called the Crawford’s Grey shrew and is a fascinating animal! Despite their appearance, they are not related to rodents and are part of their own family known as Soricidae.
The National Parks Service tells us that these animals must consume 75% of their body weight daily due to their high metabolism! So, you better believe that scorpions are on the menu!
Like scorpions, desert shrews are nocturnal. These tiny animals use high-pitched squeaks to locate their meals using echolocation, similar to bats. Their poor eyesight makes this a vital adaptation to locating prey. Desert shrews live in the same regions as scorpions – Arizona, California, and New Mexico.
Scorpions make up a small percentage of a shrew’s diet in the wild. In fact, captive shrews refuse to eat them!
3. Bats Swoop Down And Eat Scorpions
Pallid bats live in the Sonoran desert, consuming nectar from cactus flowers and feeding on insects and scorpions. These bats use echolocation to find scorpions, and they can hear them scuttling around on the ground.
In some instances, the bats can even see the scorpions as they traverse the desert floor. Like scorpions, bats are mostly nocturnal. You can read about where bats really go and live during the day here.
Pallid bats feed mainly on Arizona Bark Scorpions, which are considered the most venomous scorpions in North America. The reason? They are resistant to their venom! Even when stung multiple times, Pallid bats are unaffected and can enjoy their meal after the scorpion has tired itself out.
Pallid Bats Used to Only Eat Nectar
Pallid bats are big predators of scorpions. It was once thought that these bats only fed on nectar as they stuck their entire heads into the flowers and lapped up the nectar inside.
Recently, scientists have noticed these bats supplementing their nectar-rich diet with insects, scorpions, and other arthropods. This led them to believe that Pallid Bats were resistant to scorpion venom, especially when they were unfazed by the sting of the extremely venomous Bark Scorpion.
4. Grasshopper Mice Grab Scorpions
The Southern Grasshopper Mouse is a species of predatory rodent that lives where scorpions make their homes. They are native to the states of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and California.
Grasshopper Mice are not content with just consuming grasses, seeds, and some vegetation. They also eat insects, invertebrates, some other small mice, and of course, scorpions.
They eat so many scorpions that they are also called the Scorpion Mouse!
Grasshopper Mice Are Immune To Scorpion Venom
These mice don’t grow very large. They are only about 6 inches long from snout to tail, so they had to develop a way to combat dangerous scorpions.
An article from the Journal of Science tells us that the Southern Grasshopper Mouse has a protein in its blood that reacts with scorpion venom. When the venom is injected into the mouse, their blood blocks pain signals and resists the venom, so these mice have absolutely no fear of scorpions!
5. Spiders Snack On Scorpions
In the world of spiders and scorpions, it’s often a pretty even match. Scorpions will routinely feed on spiders, but sometimes spiders get the upper hand, especially when it comes to a tarantula versus scorpion battle.
Tarantulas often have the upper hand when they come across scorpions. These giant spiders are often bigger than scorpions and can move faster. The added strength and speed combined are typically enough to overpower most scorpions.
A tarantula’s fangs are big and strong enough to puncture the scorpion’s thick exoskeleton. While a scorpion can also sting the spider, they don’t often succeed. Tarantulas also have highly sensitive hair covering their entire bodies. With these, tarantulas can often detect the slightest of movements and then react before the scorpion can sting.
In a battle between these two arachnids, the tarantula typically comes out on top.
Camel spiders are another arachnid that will eat scorpions. They are actually distantly related to scorpions but don’t have any reservations about hunting their distant relatives.
6. Toads And Frogs Treat Themselves To Scorpion Dinners
While toads and large frogs such as the cane toad and American bullfrog don’t frequently come in contact with scorpions, when they do, these big-mouth amphibians won’t hesitate to gulp them down.
The cane toad is a large amphibian that lives in Texas, though recently, they have taken up residence in Florida and other surrounding areas as non-native species.
Scorpions are definitely not immune to the big appetites of these toads. Cane toads often sit very still until something comes into view. If it’s big enough to eat, they will go on the attack, whether it’s a scorpion, grasshopper, or even small rodents!
The American Bullfrog
The American bullfrog is not very different, except they live in and around water such as ponds, lakes, and streams. They, too, will eat anything they can fit into their cavernous mouths, scorpions included.
Though they typically don’t cross paths, if the opportunity presents itself, a bullfrog wouldn’t hesitate to gulp down a scorpion.
How Toads & Frogs Eat Scorpions
Toads and frogs open their mouths and shoot out their sticky tongues. Insects, lizards, mice, spiders, and scorpions that get attached to a toad’s tongue can’t escape. The sticky tongue retracts, and the toad or frog swallows the food whole.
Scorpions who meet up with bullfrogs or cane toads don’t stand a chance. They will get snatched up and gulped down before they can even attempt a sting.
7. Centipedes Satiate Themselves On Scorpions
There are only a few centipedes big enough to take on a scorpion in America. The Texas Redheaded Centipede is one of them. These big, segmented arthropods are typically around 6 inches long, but they can get double that size.
This makes them big enough to take on scorpions and win.
While smaller centipedes don’t pose much of a danger to scorpions, ones that get near a foot long have no qualms about searching them out.
Centipedes Are Voracious Hunters
Centipedes are venomous, though the species found in the United States pose little risk to humans, they can inflict a painful bite.
Centipedes are voracious hunters that will eat anything they can subdue. This means that lizards, frogs, insects, spiders, and scorpions are on the centipede’s menu.
These leggy “worms” don’t actually have 100 legs, but they have enough that they can grab onto and incapacitate scorpions while they bite them and inject venom with their strong pincers.
Another centipede that regularly goes after scorpions is the Amazonian Giant Centipede. These beasts regularly grow to 8 to 12 inches long and can have up to 40 legs. They are fast, strong, tenacious predators and scorpions don’t have a chance against this bug. But don’t worry, these nightmarish creatures don’t live in the United States!
8. Snakes Eat Scorpions
It’s no surprise that snakes and scorpions share the same habitat – they’re both creepy crawlies, right? In the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, there is a specific snake that targets scorpions as its main prey source.
Enter, the Tucson shovel-nosed snake. These desert-adapted reptiles ‘swim’ across the sands in search of scorpions, which they promptly capture and restrain before consuming. These beautiful calico-colored snakes are facing a steep decline due to poor habitat management, which means scorpion populations will be on the rise.
You can read about the other animals that snakes eat here.
9. Lizards Thrash Scorpions
The Southwest United States is home to the Western Banded Gecko. Typically a docile reptile with gorgeous coloration and a gentle temperament, but when they come face to face with scorpions they turn into a berserker!
A study published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society found that Western Banded Geckos will bite Dune Scorpions and then violently shake and thrash them against objects and the ground. It’s speculated that this activity is meant to incapacitate the scorpion by blunt-force trauma, basically rendering it senseless.
This adaptive way of feeding is how the Western Banded Gecko avoids getting stung by the dangerous scorpions, who pack enough venom to immobilize and eliminate the geckos.
Fascinating Facts About Scorpions
Scorpions can be terrifying-looking creatures, though there are some who don’t agree with that opinion and actually keep them as pets. No judgment here. They’re just not for me – I prefer to view them from the safety of a TV screen or computer monitor.
They are fascinating creatures that I have a healthy respect for. I don’t want to harm them, but of course, I’ve been lucky and have never seen any inside my house (knocking on wood, currently).
However, if you happen to find one in your house – there are some things you need to do ASAP to get rid of it! Check out our article about what to do if you find a scorpion in your house for more info. And make sure to call a professional fast if need be.
Here are the most common species of scorpions found in the United States:
|Arizona Bark Scorpion
|Striped Bark Scorpion
|Texas, New Mexico
|Giant Hairy Scorpion
|Desert Hairy Scorpion
|Arizona, New Mexico
As you can see, the West is the place to be if you’re a scorpion. They love hot, dry environments, which is why they’re often found in the desert. Now, let’s take a look at some fascinating facts about these lobster/spider combination creatures.
Speaking of lobsters and scorpions, they have a lot of peculiar similarities. Check out our article on the interesting similarities between scorpions and lobsters to find out more!
Scorpions Can Live A Long Time
Scorpions in the United States tend to live in deserts and dry arid climates. These habitats can be harsh and difficult to scratch out a living, but scorpions are masters of their environments.
In the wild, scorpions can live for 2 to 10 years! That’s incredible if you think about it. Most arachnids and insects barely live an entire year.
The wild can be a, well, a “wild” place, as most scorpions don’t live to their full potential. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension tells us that some scorpions have been known to live for 20 to 25 years.
Scorpions Have A Diverse Diet
Scorpions will eat insects, spiders, lizards, some birds, and even other scorpions. If they can catch it in their claws and poke it with their stinger, they will eat it.
They can survive without ever drinking a drop of water. Scorpions derive all the moisture they need from the foods they eat, and they are predators that will feed on nearly anything they can subdue and catch.
Scorpions have a very slow metabolism and can survive on a single meal for over a year. Imagine what that could do for your grocery bill!
Scorpions Give Birth To Live Young
This is quite a feat in the insect and arachnid world. Most of these little critters lay eggs, but scorpions give birth to fully formed, live young.
Once they are born, they usually ride on the back of their mother. Some baby scorpions will stay with their mother for up to two years.
This can be a double-edged blade though. If the mother isn’t a great hunter or can’t find food for an extended period of time, she will turn around and consume her young. Yeah, the desert is a brutal place!
Scorpions Are Nocturnal
We all know that the desert can get unbearably hot during the day. Scorpions know this, too, and hide out until the night comes. This may also be a way to avoid many predators that are out seeking an easy meal. If you’re curious, you can read about the places where scorpions go and live during the day.
Hiding during the day could also be a way to conserve water. Instead of venturing out in the middle of the searing heat and scorching sun, scorpions hide during the daylight and come out in the cool nights.
The thing is, if you have been finding scorpions in your house or near your home, the reason may be because they love the dark and love water too. Check out our article about the things that attract scorpions to your home to be on the lookout!
Scorpions Glow Under Certain Light
While you’re out in the Arizona desert, if you want to try and find these arachnids yourself, grab an ultraviolet or black light. Shine it in the dark and you might find a few scorpions because they glow brightly under a UV or black light.
There are plenty of lights on the market, but this Vansky UV Flashlight has 51 LEDs and a wide head to shine light over a wide area. You can use it while you’re out at night to make sure you don’t accidentally step on them.
Let’s Wrap It Up
There they are, the 9 champions that will, and frequently do consume scorpions. It turns out that scorpions, with dual pincers and venomous tails, aren’t at the top of the food chain after all.
Scorpions are predators that consume a wide array of animals, but they have just as many enemies and have to be careful about who they come in contact with.
To recap, here are the 9 predators that eat scorpions:
- Owls (Great-horned owl)
- Shrews (Desert shrew)
- Bats (Pallid bat)
- Grasshopper Mice
- Spiders (Tarantuals & Camel Spiders)
- Toads & Frogs (Cane Toads & American Bullfrog)
- Centipedes (Texas Redheaded Centipede)
- Snakes (Shovel-Nosed Snake)
- Lizards (Western Banded Gecko)
Malachi D Whitford, Grace A Freymiller, Timothy E Higham, Rulon W Clark, Shaking things up: the unique feeding behavior of western banded geckos when consuming scorpions, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 135, Issue 3, March 2022, Pages 533–540,
Rasko, Mykola, et al. “How to attack a scorpion: venom metering during a repeated attack.” Animal Behaviour 145 (2018): 125-129.
Rowe, Ashlee H., and Matthew P. Rowe. “Physiological resistance of grasshopper mice (Onychomys spp.) to Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides exilicauda) venom.” Toxicon 52.5 (2008): 597-605.
Hanski, Ilkka. “Food consumption, assimilation and metabolic rate in six species of shrew (Sorex and Neomys).” Annales Zoologici Fennici. Finnish Academy of Sciences, Societas Scientiarum Fennica, Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica and Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo, 1984.
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