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Scorpions are nocturnal arachnids that are often mistakenly called insects. As adults, scorpions can range in size up to 8 inches long. These feisty creatures prey on spiders, insects, and small rodents. They are found mainly in the South and West of the United States. With more than 70 North American species, only the bark scorpion, which is a yellow species found in and around Arizona, possesses a sting that is occasionally fatal to humans.

Scorpions rest during the day in dark places such as basements, attics, under stones, in log piles, or in piles of debris. They are also known to take refuge under clothing or towels that are left lying around the home. If you live in an area where scorpions are plentiful, you should avoid putting your hands into pipes or dark corners where you cannot see. Clear the area around your house of any debris or rotting wood and seal all possible entry ways such as around your cooling system. Anytime you find it necessary to move stones or debris, always wear heavy leather gloves to protect your hands. To protect a babies' crib, place each leg in a glass jar since scorpions cannot climb glass. When you are camping, be sure you shake out boots, clothing, and sleeping bags before using them. Also, take care when clearing pine needles, rocks, or bark from the area where you intend to put up your tent. Scorpions can hide in these places, too.

Scorpions are eight-legged creatures with a flexible tail ending in a poison reservoir and a sharp stinger. From time to time, scorpions will enter a human habitat and crawl into shoes or clothes, or even fall into a bathtub. When disturbed, a scorpion is very likely to sting, which is done by arching its tail over its back. There are about 40 different species in the United States, all of which are difficult to kill. Insecticides will eventually work when the scorpion is sprayed numerous times, but the best way to get rid of one is to crush it with a large board or rock. If a scorpion is in your bathtub, do not try to pick it out with a short-handled object such as tweezers. These creatures have the ability to sting from a short distance. Your best bet is to crush it in the tub or pick it out with scissors or tongs. Do not assume that a scorpion is unable to sting at any time. Handling it with tissue can lead to a sting.

When you have been stung by a scorpion, you should call your doctor or nearest poison control center first. Be prepared to describe the scorpion's color, size, and markings. If the scorpion is still alive, trap it with a glass jar. Even if the sting is not that of a bark scorpion, any sting can be serious if it is on the backbone, nape, or face. Apply an ice pack to the area for 10 minutes to relieve the pain, but do not submerge the sting area in water. If the sting victim is a child under six years of age or has a history of hypertension, you should rush him/her to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment. If pain is the only symptom, a mild painkiller and cold compresses may be all that are needed. In more severe cases, a local anesthetic and powerful painkillers may be required. In some cases, it is necessary for an antivenin to be given to deactivate the venom. This is available in most parts of the world where dangerous scorpions make their homes.