Poison Information Helpline is provided by the Tygerberg Hospital. You can get professional free medical advice on any kind of animal bite or sting as well as poisons. If you need advice regarding a spider bite, scorpion sting or snake bite phone (021) 931-6129 24hours a day, 7 days a week.
Page 1 of 6With over 160 species of scorpion, South Africa is truly a cool place to live! I know that many people would not agree with me but let me share a few secrets with you that may change your mind.
Out of all our scorpions, only 3 have even caused human fatalities. On average 8 to 12 people die from scorpion stings annually. Their strong neurotoxic venom affects the nervous system and causes heart palpitations, respiratory problems and slurred speech, intense pain and hyper sensitivity. We also have the world least venomous scorpion and coincidently the world longest. These giants attain lengths of over 21cm but their venom causes no more than a pin prick. South Africa’s good medical facilities ensure effective and prompt medical attention. Antivenom is available at most major centers especially where highly venomous scorpion abound.
Not only found in deserts and arid environments, they can be found in just about every terrestrial habitat in southern Africa. The only place you will not find scorpions is the high mountain peaks in Lesotho. Many species live in very specific habitats, so specific that there distributions can be mapped back to substrate, sand systems and mountain ranges. These amazing creatures can be found sheltering under rocks, logs, they make burrows and even live in trees. Their secretive nature and behaviours means that you probably do not know that there are scorpions around you, but they are there.
Scorpions are so cool! because there are so many wild stories surrounding their behaviour and habits. Some species can live without food or water for more than a year. During harsh times they simply wait it out. When the good times return, they emerge and make the most of it.
Beyond their seemingly venomous tendencies, scorpions live a far more exuberant and interesting life. It’s only when start looking at an animal in the right way do we realize the wonders of nature that are all around us.
Southern African scorpion can be divided into the following families and genera.