What Do Scorpions Eat?

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Unless you like German metal bands or have a pet scorpion, chances are you don’t want to deal with scorpions in your home.

These arachnids are skilled predators, armed with pinchers and a venomous stinger.

They usually enter your home looking for food, but what do scorpions eat that you might have in stock?

Let’s take a closer look at their diet, hunting behavior, and (as a bonus) the diet of the deadliest species in the US.

Related: How to Get Rid of Black Widow Spiders

What Do Scorpions Eat In the Wild?

lizard on the porch

Scorpions usually feed on small insects like crickets, centipedes, beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, and termites.

They also love to feast on all sorts of spiders and small animals like mice, lizards, and even birds.

In some cases, these critters will even resort to cannibalism.

See Also: What Do Toads Eat?

What Do Scorpions Eat in Captivity?


Some people keep pretty exotic pets, such as tarantulas, giant millipedes, and even the nearly 8-inch long emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator)!

But a captive critter often has a different diet than in the wild.

So what do these arthropods eat when not in their native habitat?

Most commonly, pet owners will feed them live crickets or mealworms.

However, It’s not unheard of to drop larger prey items (such as mice) in a tank with a larger scorpion.

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How do Scorpions Hunt for Food?

These critters prefer live prey and are usually opportunistic hunters.

This means they don’t have a preferred food source and will hunt whatever easy prey comes along.

Like many other arachnids, these gals have rather poor eyesight.

Instead, sensory structures called pectines and fine hairs on their legs allow scorpions to detect even faint vibrations.

Once they discover prey through the vibrations, they’ll capture it in their pincers.

Depending on the species of scorpion, this might be enough to kill the prey.

For the rest, the fatal blow is from its infamous stinger.

So What About Cannibalism?

This most often happens during the mating rituals of certain species.

The male and female will lock claws as the male tries to position her on top of him.

Until recently, it was believed mating often ended in cannibalism in scorpions.

This is because a few months after mating, the female scorpion will give live birth to as many as ten baby scorpions.

She’ll then invest much of her time protecting her babies until their exoskeletons harden.

This includes giving them baby scorpions free rides, much like wolf spiders do.

The argument is that cannibalistic scorpions would have more resources to care for their young.

However, while instances of cannibalism are known to occur, it’s usually due to a scarcity of other food sources.

How Long Can Scorpions Survive Without Food?

Amazingly, a scorpion can go as long as 12 months without food.

But even desert scorpions can die from lack of water.

Thus, as long as you have some water for your pinching pet pal, it won’t suffer if you forget to feed it here or there.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Do Scorpions Eat Spiders?

American house spider

Spiders are a popular prey, despite being fellow arachnids.

The catch often comes down to which is bigger or a better fighter.

Spider venom often isn’t enough to beat a scorpion sting, but sometimes the spider gets lucky.

Do Scorpions Eat Termites?

Scorpions have been caught in the act of eating termites.

They also eat all sorts of other ants and beetles that might infest your home.

Do Scorpions Eat Roaches?

Even the speedy roach is no match for these venomous predators.

It doesn’t matter if it’s one of the Big Three or a little palmetto bug, a cockroach makes for a tasty snack.

Read Also: What Do Earwigs Eat?

Do Scorpions Eat Beetles?

As mentioned earlier, they do indeed eat beetles.

Their pincers are strong enough to grip the beetle’s elytra, even if they can’t pierce it.

Once secured, the meal meets the stinger and dies soon after.

Do Scorpions Eat Lizards?

how to get rid of lizards

Yes. Many scorpions do eat lizards although size difference does play a role.

You’re more likely to see them eating newts or salamanders than trying to tackle a bearded dragon, for example.

Bonus: The Most Dangerous Scorpion in America

Out of more than 2,500 species of scorpions, only 25 are known to be deadly to humans.

In the US, there are 90 species and only one that can kill a human.

Introducing the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus)!

Arizona bark scorpion

This critter’s body measures around 3 inches in length and is a light brown color.

You’ll find it in the Sonoran Desert (SW Arizona, southern California, and parts of NW Mexico).

How Deadly is It?

Deaths from this species are pretty rare, with only two recorded fatalities in Arizona since 1968.

However, the venom could be life-threatening in certain individuals, especially if they have an allergic reaction.

The main symptom of the stink is severe pain for 1 to 3 days.

People often also experience numbness, shortness of breath tingling, vomiting, or even partial paralysis or nerve convulsions in the wounded limb.

The Arizona Bark Scorpion’s Diet

You would think being the deadliest stinger in the west would mean an unlimited menu.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Their diet is very similar to other species, but they also have a lot of predators.

Bats, birds, reptiles, rodents, and even many spiders consider this arachnid to be a tasty treat.

Even more interesting, grasshopper mice have adapted to munch on the Arizona bark scorpion without being affected by its venom.

Considering mice are usually the ones being eaten, this adaptation proves Mother Nature loves irony.