Three of the Most Dangerous Scorpions in the World

Not all scorpions are created equal.
Not all scorpions are created equal.

If you’ve ever gone camping in a dry climate, you’ve likely been told to check your shoes before putting them on to make sure a scorpion—or some other harmful creature—hasn’t used your hiking boots as a motel for the night.

While no one wants to find a scorpion in their shoes, doing so isn’t necessarily life-threatening. With those huge pinchers out front and a tail that's always ready to strike at a moment's notice, scorpions certainly look scary. But most of them aren’t capable of causing any real damage to a person.

Look at the emperor scorpion above for example. Some of them can reach up to eight inches in length. Their deep black color and size makes them appear to be a formidable species that you'd want to stay as far away from as possible, and yet, most (depends on the subspecies) aren't much more dangerous than a typical bee sting. Scorpion stings hurt, yes, but they are usually not fatal. In fact, some people keep emperor scorpions as pets!

Now, I'm personally not sure why anybody would want a scorpion as a pet, especially when they can get up to eight inches long, but just because you get stung by a scorpion doesn't mean you'll die, even if it's big, black, and ugly! That said, it’s important to know which ones can hurt you so that you know which ones to avoid. Below, you’ll find three scorpions that you should stay away from at all costs.

1. Indian Red Scorpion (Hottentotta Tamulus)

Hottentotta Tamulus in Oman.
Hottentotta Tamulus in Oman. | Source

The Indian Red Scorpion has been said to be the most lethal in the world. This tiny scorpion does pack a huge punch. When stung, victims typically experience nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and, in more severe cases, pulmonary edema, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Pulmonary edema causes shortness of breath and could lead to death. The severity of these symptoms depends on the amount of venom received and the susceptibility of the victim. According to clinical studies, however, prazosin, a drug for hypertension that is often given in the event of scorpion stings, reduces risk of mortality to 4%.

These deadly scorpions live mostly in India, in the eastern regions of Nepal and Pakistan, and in Sri Lanka, though sightings there have been rare.

Indian Red Scorpions are not very large, ranging from 40 to 60 milimeters in length. The color of the species varies from orange to brown to grey, and they have dark grey spots scattered from the head on down to the lower back. They also have relatively small pinchers and a large stinger end. Coincidence? I think not.

2. Deathstalker Scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus)


The Deathstalker scorpion has a dangerous sounding name, and no wonder, because it is definitely one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world. Its venom is highly toxic, and if stung, the victim will likely never forget the excruciating pain it delivers.

The symptoms of a Deathstalker sting include an increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even convulsions and coma. It may even cause death to small children or unhealthy adults.

It is not advisable to have these scorpions as pets. The reason why is because these scorpions are very aggressive, and become very agitated when confined in a small cage.

It is highly advised to seek medical attention if somebody gets stung by these scorpions.

It is sometimes very hard to identify them, because their color varies depending on where they live. They usually are yellow or green, and due to their elastic-like appearance, it has been pointed out that they look almost like toys.

So please make sure before you pick up a "toy" scorpion! It might not actually be a toy, but a deadly Deathstalker!

3. Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion (Androctonus crassicauda)


The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion is competing with the Deathstalker for the title of most dangerous scorpion. Though I don't know who would win in a bug vs. bug battle, I do know that it would be a close one.

A sting from these lethal scorpions can cause a number of terrible symptoms, including seizures, unconsciousness, and hypertension.

Like the previous two scorpions mentioned on this page, the people who are most in danger of dying from its sting are young children and people with heart problems. Stings are rarely fatal because most victims are able to receive the anti-venom in time. However, if victims haven’t seen medical attention within seven hours of being stung, the likelihood of death increases significantly.

Many people have confused the Arabian Fat-Tailed with the Black Fat-Tailed, claiming that they are the same species. While they do look quite similar, according to scientists they are two distinct species. One of the major differences between them is that the Arabian has larger pincers.

Comments 9 comments

Jacques 2 years ago

Yo. Nice arficle, anything that serves to inform is a good idea.

A few points, if I may:

1) Venomous. Not poisonous. Venom needs a delivery method; fangs, stingers, tentacles, etc. It is used in both hunting and self defense. Poison is also a toxin, but it is used only to deter being eaten. For instance, Poison Dart Frogs don't hunt or kill with their poison.

2) Toxicity is currently measured with murine LD50 values. Though it serves at indicator of how potent a toxin is, it is certainly not 100% accurate when humans are concerned. Our genetic make-up is vastly different from rats.

3) Geographic range often has a far bigger impact on the deadliness of a species.

surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 18 months ago from Cornwall UK

If you are going to source all your "facts" from Wikipedia try to get them right....

"...Scorpion antivenom has little effect in clinical treatment but application of prazosin reduces the mortality rate to less than 4%...."

Anonymous 16 months ago


You can't criticize people and miss spell article

BobbySquad 13 months ago

what about the deadly rock band from the 80's? they will rock you like a hurrican !!! ...and the only antivenom to them is cindi lauper or REM...but the cure maybe as bad as the sting.... (be careful and watch out for cassette tape enclosures and consoles of 1985 buick regals with 8 track players - best to use leather gloves)

Nathan 12 months ago

Uh...where's Androctonus australis? Why is the Leiurus quinquestriatus photo of the wrong species? And, H. tamulus is not anywhere near as dangerous an Androctonus. It has inferior venom, but stings more people, so the lower fatality rate applied to waaay higher numbers of stings causes a higher death count, but it isn't, in itself, a deadlier scorpion. An Androctonus in the same situation would cause far more deaths.

Jonah 5 months ago

Do any of these live in america

Josh 5 months ago

@Nathan, because this author isn't the brightest. Where's Hemiscorpius Lepthurus? He's probably never even heard of that monster. I swear the Indian Red is just the Indian version of the Fat Tailed Scorpion. Probably just rated the worst because of Indias insanely high population and lack of easily accessible hospitals. Androctonus Australis, Crassicauda, Amoreuxi are all killers. Leiurus Quinquestriatus is also a killer. Couldn't tell you why the picture is off. Everyone I've seen has the 5th segment of its metasoma jet black.

Caleb 4 months ago

I like all these videos.

david 10 hours ago

Hemiscorpius Lepthurus is not fatal it is like a brown recluse spider Yes it hurts And The wounds from it are hard to heal but there not fatal every thing hes said above is correct the scorpions you guys are naming hasnt been fully proven and josh the pictures are pictures they will never be accurate like seeing the real thing up close and personal

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