Deathstalker Scorpion Scientific Name: Leiurus quinquestiatus
Far and away the most venomous of all scorpion varieties, the Deathstalker Scorpion lives up to its name. Terribly aggressive both in captivity and in the wild, the Deathstalker Scorpion is quick to administer its sting and venom shortly after coming in contact with its victim. As this scorpion is primarily found in the Middle East area of the world, it is often referred to as the Palestine Yellow Scorpion or the Israeli Desert Scorpion. While wild Deathstalker Scorpions are virtually unheard of in the United States, they are fast becoming a popular pet for the exotic animal collector. For the majority of people however, this is one arachnid that you will want to watch your distance; its pale yellow hue and apparent frailness can make it appear plastic to the untrained eye. But be advised, this is not a toy and can be fatally unforgiving if not treated quickly.
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- Evolution has played a large role with the Deathstalker Scorpion; while their traditional color is yellow, experts have found a huge variety of shades varying from a pale, almost clear to yellow/green to enable the scorpion to adapt to its immediate environment.
- Can range anywhere between one and four inches long (the female is the larger of the two genders.)
- Compared to other scorpions, this species has a very thin body and legs, making it look fragile.
- Although the pinchers are large they are deceiving; they are weak with little holding power.
Those that live in the United States will have to travel quite a distance to find a wild Deathstalker Scorpion. The natural habitat for this species is found along the upper ridges of Africa (Sudan, Mali, Egypt, etc.) and crossing over to the Middle East (Israel, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iran, etc.) The Deathstalker thrives in the desert; however, they do seek out more humid areas. Generally speaking, the Deathstalker Scorpions require more than 35% humidity and a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Dieting on crickets in both the wild and captivity, the Deathstalker Scorpion prefers to eat its food fresh as opposed to finding dead organisms. Keep in mind that if held in captivity, these same environmental regulations apply.
The average life of a Deathstalker Scorpion is five years; however, reproduction cannot begin until the sixth year. This means that many Deathstalker Scorpions will never mate and reproduce, and those that do generally only get one opportunity. Females are the dominant gender during mating season and only she can decide which male suitor is successful. It is the male’s position to impress the female through dances. Depending on the female’s mood, the suitor may be successful or may become lunch as the females can become extremely aggressive during this time of the year. Once mated, it will take about three to four months until the birth of roughly 25 new Deathstalkers. The molting process will occur at least five times for a Deathstalker Scorpion, and the babies will stay with their mother until the first molting period has completed. Once this molting process is over, the scorpions will part ways and start the cycle over again.
As previously stated, the Deathstalker Scorpion is extremely poisonous and aggressive towards anything that disrupts its habitat. Because the scorpions’ pinchers are weak, they will strike on contact to prevent the intruder’s escape. Use caution in areas where the Deathstalker Scorpion is found. Although the venom can prove fatal, a full-grown adult will most like survive if treated right away. The venom is most threatening to children and the elderly or to people with allergic reactions. When the venom does prove fatal it is because the poison has affected the left ventricle of the heart causing fluid in the lungs and respiratory failure. Once stung the person should be rushed to the hospital, applying some ice if possible. Even with antivenom the sting can be extremely difficult to treat and can take months for recovery.
Antivenin is currently being produced in European countries, but the FDA in the United States approves none of these. This can cause serious complications for people who hold the Deathstalker Scorpions as pets as they have a much higher risk of envenomation. On the brighter side, scientists are constantly working with the Deathstalker Scorpion venom for medical potential; currently the venom has potential to treat diabetes and even brain tumors.
More and more often Deathstalker Scorpions are being taken from their natural habitat to be kept as exotic pets. This is highly discouraged by officials and even illegal in some countries as the Deathstalker Scorpion is aggressive, and can be even more so in captivity.. For those who still seek to own a Deathstalker Scorpion, they should learn everything they need to know about the Deathstalker Scorpion and be keenly aware of the health risks involved. A captivity environment should imitate the wild as much as possible through temperatures, food availability, and habitat. As with all scorpions, the Deathstalker Scorpion burrows, so rocks and soil should be abundantly available. A specialist should be contacted to learn specifics.