Which Scorpion STING is Worse?! (2023)


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On this episode of Breaking Trail, Coyote Peterson puts himself up against another “pain-sting index” challenge as he compares the sting from the Southwest’s largest scorpion, the Giant Desert Hairy, to the sting of Arizona’s smallest scorpion, the Stripe-Tailed.

Being that the Desert Hairy is nearly 4 times the size of the Stripe-Tailed, most people assume it also carries the more painful sting. However in scorpions, size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to their venom’s potency.

So which sting is ultimately the more painful of the two?

Get ready to find out, because Coyote is about to get stung by both!

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Two stings one night, I'm ready if you're ready.

This is crazy, but if you're up for it here we go one two from a bird's-eye view.

The Sonoran desert looks like nothing more than a scattering of rocks and sparse plants, but we all know by now that it is alive with animals during the daylight hours.

These creatures stay hidden, doing their best to avoid the scorching Sun.

Yet, when this glowing orb disappears behind the mountains and darkness sets in a menagerie of creepy, crawly nightmares emerge from the shadows in past episodes.

We have shown you many of these animals, almost all of which are venomous and that we, as a team considered to be biological landmines, break it down a bit further and you have what I call the triple mess: snakes, spiders and scorpions.

Just the word scorpion makes my skin crawl and the Sonoran Desert is home to three distinct species, the notorious bark scorpion, the stripe tailed and the giant desert hairy.

We have featured these arachnids before and I even free handle the bark scorpion which possesses the most painful scorpion sting in the United States.

And for me this is also different and extremely nerve-racking, but the reason that I'm doing this is to prove that these scorpions aren't just out there to sting you.

However, this brought about one very interesting question: if the bark scorpion is considered to be the worst and what is the sting pain, difference between the giant desert hairy and the stripe tail so tonight, I'm going to be stung by both to bring us the answer to that question.

Warning scorpion stings can be incredibly painful and potentially lethal.

Never attempt to replicate this experiment.

Yes, alright, let's go there.

They are guys on my left, the giant desert, hairy scorpion and on the right, the striped tailed scorpion two of the most common species here in the Sonoran Desert scorpions, absolutely creeped me out I'm, just gonna turn this giant desert hairy scorpion toward you.

There look at that thing.

Pincers stingers for strike tail scorpion was actually kind of cute.

You just curled up in the corner there pretty cool to see the difference between the two of them.

Up close like that.

Look at that size difference that is pretty intimidating.

You may be wondering to yourselves: coyote: are you nervous? Oh yeah I'm, definitely nervous because I'm gonna be stung on one hand by one species of scorpion and the other hand by the other species of scorpion.

Now the reason that I'm being stung is to prove that it's not all about size, size doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to the pain and potency of a sting.

So we're gonna find out whether the giant desert, hairy scorpion is more painful than the striped tail scorpion, or vice versa.

I mean you, look at the giant desert hairy scorpion, that's a big arachnid, definitely intimidating, and then you look at the stripe.

Tail you're like oh, it's tiny, he's almost cute.

That sting can't hurt that bad oftentimes.

What you want to look at are the pincers or as they're, properly known in the scientific community as peda palps.

Now those are the front arms that have these little claw.

Looking appendages right, the peda pout is oftentimes signify.

Whether or not a scorpion has potent venom.

That's because the smaller the peda palps, often the more potent the sting you notice, giant, desert, hairy scorpion pedipalps are enormous right.

It can grab on to its prey, squeeze and crush it and then inflict the sting when it comes to the strike.

Tail scorpion, the pet up, helps, are actually pretty small, so I'm thinking this venom may be more potent but I think ultimately we're gonna test it on my hands and see exactly which one is more painful.

In the realm of human experience, it's definitely more intimidating to look at the larger scorpion.

Getting well and what's cool about the giant desert, hairy scorpion and where they get their name is.

I can actually see this really well through the light beams.

There are all of the hairs that are growing on the tail and you may not have known this, but the little bulb at the end of the tail.

There that's called the telson and the telson is what connects to the stinger, and that is where all of the venom is stored, looks like it once this thing you're in yeah.

It's it's coming right for me to think into it.

So let me get a wall up at your hand, coyote I'll, send you packing a little stripe tail you just curled up in the ball.

There saying alright I'm in the bright lights.

Maybe if I don't move I'll be camouflaged, and nobody will see me well I.

Think, since the desert Harry appears to be volunteering, it should go first.

It does look like it's volunteering.

Doesn't it yeah? Okay, now the way that I'm gonna do? This is I'm gonna use forceps to pick up the scorpion by its tail, then I'm going to actually get a hold of the back knuckle of the tail and the telson and I'm going to gently place.

The scorpion in the crux of my hand, I will loosely position it in place.

Let go of the tail weapon and I'm gonna get stung somewhere in that general area.

Now, in case, you guys are wondering, as always, we have an epinephrine pen right here, just in case my body has some sort of negative allergic reaction to the venom, but keep this in mind.

There is no reported case of anyone ever dying from either of these two scorpion species.

The only real danger that these scorpions possess is that their sting is painful.

It's not going to kill you well I think it is time to compare the giant desert hairy scorpion sting to the striped tail scorpion sting.

Are you guys ready, I'm ready if you're ready, I? This is crazy, but if you're up for it, it's not easy.

Well, and it's not even one sting, it's gonna be two different stings I've never done two stings before so this one is a little bit different, but I think I am ready.

Okay, so I'm gonna put the striped tail down here out of the shot I'm.

Also gonna move the epinephrine pen down here onto my pack and bring in this GoPro rolling just became real bit too risky a little balancing game there.

Isn't it now I'm going to keep the plastic container right here, because I have a feeling that, as soon as I am stung, I'm gonna drop, the scorpion and I'm gonna have to put the container back on top of it, or at least I'm gonna.

Try just like I have with some of the insects in the past.

This arachnid, though, may scurry off the table.

If it does don't worry about it, guys, don't try to get the scorpion I'll try to compose myself and get back under control if it gets away.

He's just gonna run off into the desert, I'm coyote, Peterson and I'm about to enter the sting zone with the giant desert hairy scorpion.

Are you ready here we go to just a little nick on the finger like a bee sting actually for the infant yeah.

It's pretty.

It's indeed worth like the stinger I could feel ago right up underneath my skin see if it drew blood, no didn't draw blood.


It hurts, though, definitely hurts tingling.

It's kind of like a UH like a bunch of little pins and needles, going into my finger shake it off round.

One well, it's not that bad as compared to a bullet in it or a tarantula hawk.

That was honestly, nothing that did feel almost just like a bee.

Sting honestly, maybe not even as bad as a bee.


Okay, okay, all right round two respect, mr.

giant desert hairy scorpion respect is what you get so now that you remember what it feels like you've been through.

The bullet ant you've been through the velvet and all these things.

What's that, like now, um scorpion not nearly as bad as some of the other things that I've been stung by but again, remember oftentimes with larger, petty palps, it means less venom, potency the striped el scorpion small peda, palps, powerful sting.

Are you ready? I'm gonna go ahead and get striped tail out of the container here.

This is one frisky little arachnid.

It's so tiny got you look.

It is just shopping on to you for sense of those petals and you've never been stuck by one of these.

So this is.

This is a first.

This is going to be a first.

Yes, two stings one night, it's hard to hold the forceps.

Now with my finger.

My finger hurts right, I'm, coyote, Peterson, now about to enter the sting zone.


This time we just tried tail scorpion.

Are you ready one two three Oh hold on he's right there.

Let me get John ya got me wow.

Did you see that right there on the side of my finger, fair red a little bit? Oh yeah, that one hurts more like a Burnie burns, a little bit worse, the giant desert hairy scorpion, ah yep right.

There see right there inside my finger.

You see that just barely that little red spot.

Ah, that's a slightly softer part of the finger too wowser, not the GoPro I did that night.

Ouch yeah I, like jolts at the table that one actually gave me more of a jolt than the giant desert hairy scorpion ooh wow that like Shawn me backwards, you see that yeah.

That was uh.

That was a sharp little wing Wow.

It didn't look like he was gonna sting you at first.

This is stinger, stayed out and then all of a sudden at the very last second weapon, it was delayed.

That's for sure me and my fingers.

Vernon, okay, yeah, okay, always worried about okay, no I'm, okay, I'm! Definitely, okay! It's funny is that my my finger that was stung by the giant desert hairy scorpion does not hurt anymore all the pains in this hand.

Now this definitely hurts worse strive.

Tail scorpion without question is a more painful sting than the giant desert, hairy, scorpion Wow, but honestly nowhere close to the velvet ant, the tarantula hawk or the bullet ants.

Nowhere clips all right: let's bring Harry back up into the scene here.

All right, you guys did awesome.

You both successfully stung my hands exactly what we wanted to happen, and actually it's only my hand that was stung by the strike tail scorpion that still hurts at this point.

So what we have learned is that oftentimes, it is the smaller pet up helps and the smaller scorpion that has the more potent and more painful venom.

I'm coyote Peterson be brave, stay wild, we'll see on the next adventure.

My fingers being stung by these two scorpion species has hopefully answered the question as to which is worse and I.

Think we can now complete the hierarchy and saying that size doesn't always matter because, while it may be the largest, the least painful sting actually comes from the giant desert hairy, followed by the striped tailed, leaving the reigning king of sting in the southwest as the bark scorpion.

So now, when I say the word scorpion I bet for many of you, but she'll still runs down your spine.

However, despite their creepy alien, looking appearance, an intimidating Stinger, these animals have no interest in stinging humans and oftentimes do their absolute best to avoid having a close encounter of the human kind.

If you thought getting stung by two scorpions seemed intense, make sure to go back and see what happened to my face after getting stung 32 times by honeybees whoa.

That one was painful and don't forget subscribe, so you can join me in the crew on this season of breaking trail.


Which Scorpion STING is Worse?!? ›

Only the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpuratus) can produce severe toxic symptoms to your nervous system – though most people stung by one can be safely managed and observed at home.

Which scorpion sting is worse? ›

“When we look at the most potent, and dangerous, scorpion venoms we find they tend to be associated with species such as the Deathstalker which are relatively small. In contrast, the biggest species such as Rock Scorpions have venoms that are likely to only cause slight pain” says Healy.

Is it better to be stung by a big or small scorpion? ›

Venom researchers have determined that larger scorpions are indeed less deadly, setting the stage for better treatments for scorpion stings.

Is it true the smaller the scorpion the more poisonous? ›

Smaller Scorpions aren't more deadly than larger ones but they are more likely to sting and inject their venom. While this rumor has some truth to it, the only good way to see a Scorpion is while backing away, it's just not worth the risk to disturb them.

What happens when you get stung by a Deathstalker scorpion? ›

Deathstalker Scorpion

Its venom contains excitatory neurotoxins that amplify nervous system action, resulting in muscle convulsions, high blood pressure, and eventually organ failure. Victims of a deathstalker scorpion sting will experience extreme pain at the injection site and swelling.

Why drink milk after scorpion sting? ›

There is a myth that if you drink milk, the pain from your sting should go away. In Mexico, qualified help can be hours away. "If you're concerned at all, talk to your local poison center. Among what you should know about scorpion stings are what symptoms you could experience.

What is the survival rate of a scorpion bite? ›

The neurotoxin-bearing and potentially lethal scorpion species in the United States is the Arizona bark scorpion in the genus Centruroides. Less than 1% of stings from Centruroides are lethal to adults; however, 25% of children younger than 5 years who are stung die if not treated.

How long does it take for a scorpion sting to kick in? ›

Pain starts right away. The pain can be severe for the first 2 hours. Symptoms around the site start to go away over the next 24 hours. There is often no swelling or redness of the sting.

How poisonous are black scorpions? ›

Black scorpions are not considered to be medically important scorpions; the venom is normally not considered lethal. However, compared to the Pandinus species, black scorpions are distinct for their stronger stings that equal that of a hornet.

Are there any benefits to being stung by a scorpion? ›

Many studies have shown scorpion venom to be effective as a pain reliever and as a treatment for illnesses such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

How do you neutralize a scorpion sting? ›

Management and Treatment
  1. Clean the site of the sting with soap and water.
  2. Apply ice or a cold compress to the area.
  3. Elevate the area so it's at the same level as your heart.
  4. Use an antihistamine or corticosteroid on the affected area.
  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen to reduce the pain.
Jun 19, 2022

How do I keep scorpions out of my bed? ›

How to Prevent Scorpions from Getting in Your Bed
  1. Place Glass Jars Under Your Bed. Because scorpions can easily climb rough or textured surfaces, they can scale the legs of your bed frame and climb underneath your covers. ...
  2. Keep Your Room Tidy. Go clean your room! ...
  3. Seal Up all Entry Points. ...
  4. Use Scorpion Repel!
Nov 23, 2022

Is a scorpion sting worse than a bee sting? ›

There are thousands of scorpion species, all of them equipped with stings. Many species' stings aren't much worse than a bee or hornet; but a select few can be a serious source of suffering. "There are scorpions in the Old World that have extremely painful stings," said Don Boyer. "It gets worse and worse and worse."

When should you go to the hospital for a scorpion sting? ›

If you get stung, wash the affected area and place ice on it to reduce the pain and swelling. If you're not familiar with scorpions, call your local poison control center to go over your symptoms. If you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for treatment.

What's the least deadliest scorpion? ›

The emperor scorpion fluoresces greenish-blue under ultra-violet light. They are known for their docile behavior and almost harmless sting; they do not use their sting to defend themselves when they are adults, however, they may use it in their adolescent stages.

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