Although the media portrays all scorpions as highly venomous animals, this is very far from the truth. Out of more than 130 species of scorpion in southern Africa, only 2 have caused deaths. More people are killed by dogs, run over by cars or die of lung cancer than from scorpion stings.
Venom is created by two venom glands in the scorpion’s sting. Venom is stored in the venom reservoir in the sting until needed. As muscles contract around the venom reservoir, venom is squeezed out through a tiny hole which is situated almost at the end of the sting. In some species, these muscles are so strong that they force the venom out as a spray.
Scorpion venom is a complex mixture of as many as 60 different compounds. Each compound is responsible for a specific action of the venom. Not all scorpion venom is exactly the same, which is the reason why antivenom from one part of the world is not particluarly effective when treating a sting from another part of the world.
In southern Africa antivenom is easily available. This antivenom is vital in the treatment of serious scorpion stings.
[box][googlefont font=”Oswald” size=”20px” margin=”0px 0 10px 0″]In an amazing demonstration of adaptation, 2 species of southern Africa scorpions can spray venom![/googlefont][/box]
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