Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

5 Types of Scorpions in Utah (Pictures)

When in Utah you may glimpse more than one type of scorpion, either climbing the trees of wooded areas or burrowing under rocks in dry and arid regions. Many of these arachnids are not dangerous, but the Arizona bark scorpion can be fatal at times.

Collage photo scorpions in Utah

Scorpions in Utah

1. Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion

Giant desert hairy scorpion
Giant desert hairy scorpion | image by Joshua Tree National Park via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Hadrurus arizonensis
  • Appearance: tannish brown 
  • Range:  southwest Utah, Washington County 

One of the biggest types of scorpions that can be found in Utah, and other nearby states, is the giant desert hairy scorpion. The name comes from the short brown hairs that cover their bodies.

These hairs allow them to retain both heat and water. As adults, they can grow to be just over five inches long and are big enough that they often prey on smaller species of scorpions.

Despite the large size and scary appearance, giant hairy scorpions don’t present any danger to humans but, some people may have an allergic reaction if stung. They have a mild venom used for taking down prey, but this venom is not toxic to people.

These scorpions are found in the southwest region of Utah and will burrow in sand or soil for shelter. You are more likely to glimpse one of these scorpions in Washington County, Utah.

2. Yellow Devil Scorpion

Yellow devil scorpion
Yellow devil scorpion | image by Daniel via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0
  • Scientific name: Paravaejovis confusus
  • Appearance: light brown with tannish stripes 
  • Range: dry Utah regions 

Even though the name sounds scary, yellow devil scorpions are actually not harmful to humans. It isn’t uncommon for these small scorpions to be found in residential Utah homes.

They are most active from June to September and prefer to stay in the drier areas of the state. Just like giant desert scorpions, the yellow devil scorpion burrows for shelter.

3. Arizona Bark Scorpion

Arizona bark scorpion
Arizona Bark Scorpion | image by gailhampshire via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Centruroides exilicauda
  • Appearance: tan/brown, medium-sized
  • Range: Kane County, southern Utah

One of the most common scorpions seen living in Utah is the Arizona bark scorpion. Males usually grow to be larger than females, reaching about 8 cm as adults.

The tan coloring of these scorpions is helpful in letting them camouflage in sandy areas. A bio-wax coating helps them to retain water and survive intense heat. They are mostly seen in Kane County, Utah, near the border with Arizona.

Venom from the sting of Arizona bark scorpions is rarely fatal to humans, but it can be extremely painful. Effects can last from 24 to 72 hours and include nausea, vomiting, paralysis of the stung area, and intense pain. Immediate medical care for an Arizona bark scorpion sting is vital to prevent death.

Fatalities are mostly seen in at-risk groups, like children and senior citizens. While they don’t burrow, they will seek out shelter, and this can often be in residential homes. They also enjoy climbing trees and can be found several feet off the ground in the branches of wooded areas.

4. Black Hairy Scorpion

Black hairy scorpion
Black Hairy Scorpion | image by Matt Reinbold via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Hadrurus spadix
  • Appearance: tan with the black dorsal side 
  • Range: Southeastern Utah

One of the largest scorpions found in North America is the black hairy scorpion, a close relative of the giant desert hairy scorpion. The two can be differentiated by the black dorsal of the black hairy scorpion. They are mostly spotted in areas in southeastern Utah and are one of the burrowing scorpions.

You may also like:  12 Mushrooms in South Carolina (With Pictures)

Not only do they burrow for shelter, but these burrows also provide a quick escape from predators. As adults, they can be up to 15 cm long and have venom used to take down prey. This venom is not considered dangerous to people, but a sting from this scorpion is still painful.

5. Northern Scorpion

Northern scorpion
Northern Scorpion | image by Xbuzzi via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Scientific name: Paruroctonus boreus
  • Appearance: dark brown with black marks 
  • Range: all of Utah

The Northern scorpions are one of the smallest types of scorpions that can be spotted in Utah. Adults are around 5 cm long and can be seen in the entire state. Just like the name suggests, these scorpions have a range extending North, even reaching up into Canada.

Rounded pinchers and thin tails are one of the most recognizable features of these scorpions. They have painful stings that can lead to pain and numbness for up to four hours. Their venom is not considered toxic, however, and is not fatal to humans.

Utah Scorpions and Human Interaction

While there are a few types of scorpions that can be found in the state of Utah, only one of them is considered dangerous to people. This is the Arizona bark scorpion, which has a sting that can be fatal, especially to those with a weaker immune system. Other scorpions found in Utah are relatively harmless, with stings similar to bee stings.

However, these arachnids can still be seen as pests when they get into someone’s house. These scorpions can also be helpful in controlling other pests populations in Utah, such as spiders, roaches, and moths. Some people may even keep certain scorpions as pets in aquarium tanks, with the giant desert hairy scorpion being a well-known choice.

Interesting Facts About Scorpions in Utah

There are a few interesting facts about the scorpions that call Utah home, and the way they interact with their habitats.

  • Despite being predators on their own, scorpions have plenty of their own predators. These can include coyotes, owls, snakes, hawks, and lizards.
  • Scorpions give birth to live young. These young scorpions continue developing for 7 to 21 days after being born.
  • Babies ride on the back or legs of their mothers until they finish developing and spread out on their own.
  • Many types of scorpions will shine fluorescent under UV light.

Conclusion

There are a few scorpions in Utah, but the only one that poses a real threat to people is the Arizona bark scorpion. Other scorpions seen in Utah are not harmful to people but can be annoying when they take up residence in someone’s home. Each of these arachnids is unique in its own way and is important to the regions of Utah where they thrive.