Scorpions are one of many arachnids that reside in Georgia. Like spiders, they are extremely feared animals, which is mostly due to how creepy they look. In the world, there are almost 2,000 species of scorpions, with most of them being harmless. Only about 25 species in total produce venom that is capable of killing humans.
Georgia has three species that you may come across. The southern unstriped scorpion and Hentz striped scorpions are the two species most common in the state. Florida bark scorpions are sometimes found in southern Georgia as well but are extremely rare. If you want to learn a bit more about scorpions and the ones in Georgia, then you are in luck. Here is everything you need to know about the scorpions in Georgia.
What Are Scorpions?
Scorpions belong to the class of arachnids, which also include animal spiders, ticks, mites, camel spiders, harvestmen, whip spiders, and vinegaroons.
On the front of their bodies, scorpions have claws similar to that of lobsters and eight legs to help them get around. Their abdomens are elongated and rectangular. Their eyes are located on their carapace, and, depending on the species, they may have a total ranging between 6 to 12 eyes. The various species across the world range from 0.5 to 7.25 inches large.
Scorpions have a tail that makes them stand out from other animals. Their tails are made up of multiple segments, and they curl up and hang above them. At the tip of the tail is a stinger called a telson, which delivers venom to its target. Able to bend and twist in various directions, scorpion tails are used to take out prey and defend themselves. Being carnivores, their claws are useful for holding down prey to eat or sting.
Most scorpions are harmless, and only a select few are actually dangerous to humans. Some scorpions are even kept as pets since they take up little space and are easy to care for. Hot and arid climates are where scorpions prefer to live, but they can also survive in the habitats Georgia offers.
1. Southern Unstriped Scorpion (Vaejovis carolinianus)
Native to the southeastern United States, the southern unstriped scorpion is one species that inhabits Georgia. This species is dark brown, with no prominent markings on its body. Fully grown southern unstriped scorpions grow to be around 1 to 1.5 inches large. This species is also known as the southern devil scorpion.
In Georgia, this species lives in the north and central regions of the state. Southern unstriped scorpions live within the Piedmont and mountainous habitats. They are nocturnal and, during the day, are underground or under debris. These scorpions are easily frightened by humans and flee if spotted. Their venom is not strong and is only a threat if allergic.
2. Striped Bark Scorpion (Centruroides vittatus)
The striped bark scorpion is one of the most common scorpions in the United States, and it also lives in Georgia. When fully grown, this scorpion ranges between 1 to 2.5 inches large. It ranges from dark to light tan and has dark stripes that run down its back. Lighter-colored specimens of this species may lack the stripe, and their color varies, helping them camouflage into their environment.
Striped bark scorpions are also called Hentz striped scorpions. Forest and grassland habitats are where they live in Georgia. They are active at night and feed on insects and small arachnids. It is not uncommon for striped bark scorpions to be found in backyards and urban areas. Their sting is painful but not deadly to humans.
3. Florida Bark Scorpion (Centruroides gracilis)
The Florida bark scorpion is a species that lives within Georgia. This species ranges from 2 to 6 inches large when measured with its tail. Also known as the slender brown scorpion, its coloring is dark reddish brown to orange. Yellow dashes run down its back, and it has medium-sized claws.
Florida bark scorpions live in tropical habitats, and they are a rare species to see in Georgia. Near Florida in the southern part of Georgia is the range of this species in the state. They are nocturnal and hide under things like rocks during the day.
The sting of Florida bark scorpions is much more painful than the sting of other species in Georgia. Not considered fatal, this scorpion’s sting is not as powerful as other bark scorpions that live in Central and South American regions. Pain, redness, and swelling are the symptoms of the sting. Small animals like termites, spiders, and insects are what their stings are used on most, hunting them at night.
Scorpion Stings in Georgia?
Luckily, all of the scorpions that live in Georgia are not deadly to humans, but they are able to deliver a painful sting. The Florida bark scorpion has the worst sting of them all. Species like the striped bark scorpion or the southern unstriped scorpion have painful stings that are similar to that of a bee sting.
Common symptoms of a scorpion sting include:
- blurry vision
- muscle spasms
- trouble breathing.
Medical treatment is recommended if symptoms worsen after two to three hours of the sting. After getting stung, you should clean the wound and monitor symptoms. Over-the-counter medications may help to alleviate pain.
Summary of 3 Scorpions in Georgia
Here’s a recap of the three scorpions in the state of Georgia that we looked at.
|Number||Scorpion||Scientific Name||Size||Range in Georgia|
|1||Southern Unstriped Scorpion||Vaejovis carolinianus||1-1.5 inches||North and central Georgia; within the Piedmont and mountainous habitats|
|2||Striped Bark Scorpion||Centruroides vittatus||1-2.5 inches||Forest and grassland habitats|
|3||Florida Bark Scorpion||Centruroides gracilis||2-6 inches||Tropical habitats; near Florida in the southern part of Georgia|
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