Scorpions in Las Vegas, Nevada

Yellow Ground Scorpion
© Ernie Cooper/

Written by Jude Speegle

Published: July 15, 2022

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The city of Las Vegas, Nevada, is well known for its casinos, waterparks, and the desert surrounding it. People who aren’t native to Nevada are always surprised by the lizards and the scorpions.

Scorpions populate the city of Las Vegas the same way other cities have to deal with spiders. In fact, scorpions are also arachnids, just like spiders. They love the heat that spreads throughout the desert and the city itself.

What Do Scorpions Look Like?

Giant hairy scorpion

Scorpions have pincers and segmented bodies with long, curling barbed tails.

©Robb Hannawacker, while working for Joshua Tree National Park / CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

Scorpions look like lobsters with long bodies and pincers, but they couldn’t be more different. As stated earlier, scorpions are actually arachnids, like ticks and mites. Arachnids are characterized by their distinctive eight legs and can be found worldwide.

Scorpions are more likely to be found in a city like Las Vegas, so always shake out your shoes before putting them on. These fun creatures have pincers, or claws, and a segmented body with a long, barbed tail.

When you see a scorpion, you’ll know it because it doesn’t look like anything else that travels over the land. With its thick body, scuttling legs, and fearsome stingers, it stands out for sure.

How Dangerous Are Scorpions?

incredible scorpion facts

Scorpions are not always dangerous.


A hunting scorpion has a specific method by which it hunts. It grasps its prey with its claws and stings it with the venomous barb along its tail. The venom then incapacitates it so that it can carry it off and consume it. There are around 40 species of scorpions in the world whose sting can kill a human. So scorpions can for sure be dangerous.

Scorpions, like spiders, eat other bugs, many of which are considered pests. A scorpion also tends to use its stinger as defense, which is how a human might end up being accidentally stung.

Encountering a scorpion can illicit the same type of fear as seeing a bee or a wasp; you don’t want to get stung! So you jump, squeal, and try to get away from it as fast as possible. The average scorpion, however, isn’t that dangerous to people.

A scorpion bite feels a lot like other insect bites. It causes a small, raised bump and a bit of a numb feeling around the area. If you think you’ve been bit by a scorpion and it feels like it’s getting worse, definitely see a doctor and have it checked out.

What Scorpions Are In Las Vegas, Nevada?

What Do Scorpions Eat

You can find three common types of scorpions in Las Vegas, Nevada.

©Vova Shevchuk/

All sorts of critters like to crawl across Las Vegas, especially scorpions. Two thousand different scorpions exist, but we don’t need to list them all. Three types of scorpions are most commonly found in the dry, hot city.

  • The Arizona bark scorpion– The bark scorpion is known to hide beneath tree bark or in cool places and is three inches in length with a skinny tail. It has a dark yellow color that blends well in the sand. This is the most venomous scorpion in North America and will sting if threatened. Consequences of a bark scorpion sting include trouble breathing and numbness, and you can end up foaming at the mouth with convulsions.
  • Emperor scorpion– Emperor scorpions are the largest scorpions, weighing up to 30 grams and having lengths of eight inches. They are all black with a long, thin curling tail and don’t typically sting. They don’t often inject their venom when they sting, so they are less dangerous scorpions.
  • Desert hairy scorpion– Desert hairy scorpions can grow up to 7 inches long, and they are known to burrow into the dirt or piles of rocks or in the shade of leaves. Their bodies are brown or green, claws are yellow, bodies are covered in hair, and they are relatively common. These scorpions tend to sting when threatened, and their venom is about as serious as a bee sting.

There are other scorpions to be found in Las Vegas; these are just the ones more typically found in the area.

Where to Find Scorpions

stripe tail scorpion

You can find scorpions hiding in piles of dirt, rubble, or logs.

©Andrew Meeds / CC BY 4.0 – Original / License

Scorpions all tend to hide in similar places to escape the sun’s heat, including burrowing into the dirt or beneath the sand of the desert.  

A study in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology revealed the hardiness of scorpions in the face of extreme temperatures. Researchers took scorpions and exposed them to freezing temperatures. The scorpions only froze at a high subzero temperature, meaning they had to be very cold to freeze.

Once thawed, most scorpions returned to life as nothing had happened. With such high percentages recovering from the freezing, we learned that scorpions could truly handle extreme temperatures. This study was the first study that showed such resilience in scorpions.

Scorpions are more likely to be active at night once the sun has sunk behind the sand and the moon is out. They tend to live in piles of rucks, tree logs, or burrows beneath the dirt. That’s why shaking your shoes out in Nevada is so important. The inside of a boot is their natural hiding spot.

If there is a pile of something, even garbage or concrete, then there are likely to be scorpions nesting within. If it is raining or flooding, they will try to get inside to survive the elements. So when a summer storm hits, be sure to be on the lookout for a loose scorpion.

Fossils of scorpions that have been found show that they have been around since the era of dinosaurs. Scientists are even convinced that scorpions are one of the first critters to have made it out of the water and transitioned to land. Of course, millions of years ago, they were about three times the size they are now, and prehistoric often translates to bigger.

Hopefully, now you know a bit more about the type of scorpions that can be found in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats.

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