10 largest scorpions on the planet

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Scorpions are animals from the class of arachnids, the order of arthropods. They are recognized by their characteristic body structure: a small cephalothorax, a long body with six pairs of limbs and a tail ending in a telson, a segment with a needle through which poison flows from the glands. The forelimbs – chelicerae – are around the mouth and help to grind food. The next pair resembles claws, which makes these animals look like crayfish and crabs.

Scorpions often cause fear in humans. Some of them are really dangerous and can kill with their bite. They are widely represented in culture – just remember the corresponding zodiac sign. There is a legend that a scorpion is able to kill itself with its poison, falling into a desperate situation, for example, being on fire. This is most likely not true.

The danger of these arthropods does not necessarily depend on the size – large species are relatively peaceful and often do not have a strong poison. Therefore, large scorpions are interesting as an outlandish animal that, with some precautions, can be kept at home. Those that are larger than all others will be listed here.

Rating of the largest scorpions on the planet

Nomination a place Scorpio species Length
Rating of the largest scorpions on the planet 1 Heterometrus swammerdami 29.2 cm.
2 Hadogenes troglodytes 23 CM.
3 Pandinus imperator (up to 20 cm) 20 CM.
4 Pandinus cavimanus (up to 20 cm) 20 CM.
5 Parabuthus villosus (up to 18 cm) 18 CM.
6 Parabuthus transvaalicus (up to 11 cm) 11 CM.
7 Androctonus australis (up to 11 cm) 11 CM.
8 Androctonus crassicauda (up to 11 cm) 11 CM.
9 Leiurus quinquestriatus (up to 11 cm) 11 CM.
10 Androctonus bicolor (up to 8 cm) 8 CM.

1st place: Heterometrus swammerdami (up to 29.2 cm)

Rating: 5.0

Heterometrus swammerdami

The largest scorpion ever found is Heterometrus swammerdami. This giant reached 292 mm in length and weighed 56 grams. It was discovered in India during the Second World War. The average size of individuals is noticeably smaller – 17-23 cm.

Heterometrus swammerdami, also known as the giant forest scorpion, is native to India and Sri Lanka. The body is colored black or brown with a red tint. It is characterized by powerful claws with which it kills its prey. The scorpion goes hunting at night, grabbing not only insects, but also small vertebrates. Hunter rarely comes in handy poison and therefore rather weak – people usually do not die from it.

The large size of this species attracts pet lovers. To keep this animal at home, you need a closed terrarium in which conditions similar to natural conditions will be maintained – high temperature and humidity, access to water, a moonlight lamp at night.

2nd place: Hadogenes troglodytes (up to 23 cm)

Rating: 4.9

Hadogenes troglodytes

This scorpion is called stone or flat-bodied. The native land of the species is South Africa, from where it was carried to various parts of the world by collectors of exotic animals. Hadogenes troglodytes loves hot climates, can live both in tropical rainforests and in deserts. During the day, it usually hides between stones and in various crevices, and goes hunting at night. It feeds on insects, preferring crickets.

The stone scorpion is one of the most common species kept at home. It is characterized by slow growth – molting occurs no more than twice a year, and it takes several years to reach its maximum size. The stone scorpion is a long-liver, with good handling it is able to 'change its fourth ten'. It is also distinguished by its relative unpretentiousness and not a very dangerous poison.

Hadogenes troglodytes are kept in a terrarium at a temperature of 23-27 ° C and a humidity of 65-75%. Scorpio rarely requires food, is content with a few insects or a piece of liver once a week. However, you need constant access to water and shelter – stones, coconut shells or tree bark.

3rd place: Pandinus imperator (up to 20 cm)

Rating: 4.8

Pandinus imperator

This species lives in central Africa, in the equatorial rain forests. It reaches 20 cm in length, has large claws and a black, green or blue body. The telson and claws are colored reddish brown. Such a scorpion looks quite impressive, for which it was named imperial.

The emperor scorpion usually settles in forest soil, burying up to 30 cm underground. Sometimes the burrow can be replaced by a convenient shelter in fallen leaves or under tree bark. It feeds at night – it catches insects with its claws. It stings only large prey, which it cannot hold. The grip of the claws is quite painful, but the poison of this scorpion is almost not dangerous for people, with the exception of allergy sufferers.

Like the flat-bodied scorpion, the Pandinus imperator is popular for keeping in captivity. Ideal conditions are 27-32 ° С during the day and slightly above 20 ° С at night, high (about 80%) humidity, dim light, constant access to fresh water. They feed him crickets sprinkled with vitamin supplements. The imperial scorpion grows faster than the stone one, reaching maturity as early as 2-2.5 years.

4th place: Pandinus cavimanus (up to 20 cm)

Rating: 4.7

Pandinus cavimanus

Another scorpion of the genus Pandinus, about the same size as the imperial one. Like P. imperator, it prefers warm and humid areas of Africa; representatives of the species can be found in Tanzania, Kenya, Congo. The body is reddish-brown, including the claws – it is called the Tanzanian red-claw scorpion.

Pandinus cavimanus feeds on rather large prey – mice and other rodents, frogs, and insects. He is able to go without food for a long time, for several months, and often goes on hunger strikes in captivity. When kept in a terrarium, it requires almost the same conditions that are needed for the imperial, it is possible to keep individuals only one by one.

The Tanzanian red claw scorpion is more aggressive than the imperial one, often using its sting for self-defense. A bite of a representative of this species causes no more harm to a person than a bee bite, but often those whom he stings repeatedly develop an increased sensitivity.

5th place: Parabuthus villosus (up to 18 cm)

Rating: 4.6

Parabuthus villosus

The fifth largest is the representative of the genus Parabuthus. It is smaller than Pandinus scorpions – females grow up to 12-18 cm, males do not even reach that size. Typical coloration is brown-black body, amber pincers and legs. In addition, there is a black form, which is distinguished by a gray-black body and red-brown limbs, and an orange one – a reddish body and orange-brown claws.

This view is active at sunset and sunrise. It hunts mice and lizards, immobilizing them with a telson blow. Unlike representatives of the genus Pandinus, its main hunting tool is a poisonous tail, not pincers, therefore it can be dangerous for humans. A scorpion can not only inject poison when bitten, but also shoot it at a distance of up to 1 meter. After receiving its dose, there is severe pain in the affected area, inadequate behavior, in some cases – heart failure, respiratory paralysis and death.

This species is not recommended for those who are poor at handling scorpions. And he does not live long – only 6-7 years.

6th place: Parabuthus transvaalicus (up to 11 cm)

Rating: 4.5

Parabuthus transvaalicus

P. transvaalicus, or African fat-tailed scorpion, lives in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, inhabiting deserts and other arid places. It is painted black with a brown tint, the growth of adults is 9-11 cm. It is distinguished by thin weak pincers and a thick tail. Young scorpions are light-colored, with a fragile exoskeleton.

P. transvaalicus lives in soil, often hiding among bushes, in sand, under stones. It can make a characteristic chirping sound by rubbing the sting against the surface of the body, most likely to scare off enemies. Eats any animals of a suitable size for himself – insects, spiders, worms, amphibians, reptiles, rodents, his own young. It reproduces in the warm season.

The sting of this scorpion is as thick as the rest of the tail. It contains enough poison to kill a person. A bite is especially dangerous for allergy sufferers – in their case, it can result in a fatal anaphylactic shock.

7th place: Androctonus australis (up to 11 cm)

Rating: 4.4

Androctonus australis

This scorpion, reaching a length of 9-11 cm, inhabits the Indian rainforests and deserts of North Africa. Individuals can be found among rocks, on mountain slopes, and even sand dunes. Its specific epithet is not associated with Australia and means “southern”. The body is entirely colored in light yellow, it differs from other scorpions of a similar color in dark spots.

Unlike other desert animals, Androctonus australis does not burrow into the ground to survive sandstorms. Thanks to the special granular structure of the exoskeleton, it is able to survive bad weather without damage, even when flying sand strips paint from steel. A similar surface was “borrowed” in the aircraft industry, when creating airplanes and helicopters.

The generic name – Androctonus – translated from Greek means “murderer”. This is one of the most dangerous scorpions, each year there are several victims killed by its bite. The danger is aggravated by the fact that this species often appears in populated areas, can hide in cracks in the walls of buildings. In addition, individuals live on cacti, which in some countries are used as hedges.

The poison contains neurotoxins, as well as immunostimulants that cause damage to the tissues of the heart and lungs. Heart failure can remain even after the cessation of intoxication, throughout a person's life.

8th place: Androctonus crassicauda (up to 11 cm)

Rating: 4.3

Androctonus crassicauda

This representative of the genus Androctonus – a black fat-tailed scorpion – lives in the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and Central Asian countries, as well as in North Africa. Like A. australis, it loves arid places – deserts and dry foothills. It is usually colored black, sometimes dark brown or reddish.

The scorpion feeds on insects and small vertebrates. Like many other desert animals, they do not need sources for drinking, being content with metabolic water. Can hide in areas where people live, in the crevices of fences and houses.

Androctonus crassicauda poison is very dangerous, for children and people with heart disease it is often lethal. Therefore, non-professionals are not recommended to keep it at home. In captivity, thick-tailed scorpions are settled in terrariums, where the humidity is kept low (20-35%) and the temperature is slightly above room temperature (22-29 ° C). They are fed 1-2 times a week with insects, mice and lizards. Sometimes individuals refuse to eat for several weeks or months.

9th place: Leiurus quinquestriatus (up to 11 cm)

Rating: 4.2

Leiurus quinquestriatus

Leiurus quinquestriatus, or yellow scorpion, inhabits the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, in desert areas. It lives in holes, which it pulls out on its own, crevices among stones and voids under them, climbs the dunes. It has a straw yellow color and a body length of 9-11 cm.

With the onset of dusk, the yellow scorpion goes out hunting for insects, which it kills with its sting. Usually individuals with strong pincers capable of holding prey are weakly poisonous, and vice versa. In humans, the bite causes pulmonary edema, often leading to death. However, there are also components of the poison that have a therapeutic effect – they are used to treat brain tumors and diabetes.

Despite the danger, this species is quite available in the exotic animal market. In some countries, a special license is required to keep a yellow scorpion, sometimes it is required to exclude the possibility of the animal escaping from the terrarium. The terrarium should be protected from the sun, heated to 30 ° C during the daytime, the air is moderately humidified (50-60%). This species, unlike Androctonus crassicauda, ​​needs a fresh water bowl.

10th place: Androctonus bicolor (up to 8 cm)

Rating: 4.1

Androctonus bicolor

This species is outwardly similar to A. crassicauda. The body is colored brown and black, which is why the scorpion received the specific epithet meaning “two-color”. The length is smaller than that of other members of the genus – only 8 cm. It moves very quickly and has an aggressive character.

Androctonus bicolor likes warm and dry places. Distributed in North and West Africa, in the Middle East. It can hunt animals similar in size to it, such as mice and lizards, which it immobilizes with poison and then tears apart the prey with the help of sharp chelicera and sucks out the liquid contents.

The venom of a two-color scorpion is rapidly absorbed and paralytic on the human nervous system. The victim of the bite feels pain in the abdomen, impaired coordination of movements, paralysis of the cervical muscles. Quite often, respiratory arrest and death occurs within a few hours. This species is more dangerous than larger scorpions, which are able to cope with prey without using poison.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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