Category Archives: Facts

Scorpions Are Amazing

  • Scorpions are arthropods and arachnids – most closely related to harvestmen
  • Scorpions live 2-10 years in the wild – one of the longest lifespans of arthropods
  • Scorpions are amazing at surviving – they can live a year without food, stay submerged under water for up to 2 days, live in very harsh dry environments getting moisture only from food, and use only a tenth of oxygen of most insects
  • There are scorpions on all of the continents except Antarctica – although not native to United Kingdom, the European Yellow Tailed Scorpion became established after being accidentally introduced, however they are small and harmless to humans
  • Ancient scorpions likely started in the seas and may have had gills – before moving to land 420 million years ago, early scorpions may have had compound eyes
  • Fossils show that for the last 300 million years scorpions remain largely unchanged
  • All scorpions are venomous – they inject venom from the end of their tail, and can produce it whenever and however strong they want
  • A scorpion sting is not that dangerous to humans – it may hurt, but only 25 out of the almost 2000 known species produce venom strong enough to be dangerous to humans
  • Scorpions have 2 eyes on the top of their head and 2-5 pairs of eyes along the front corners – despite lots of eyes they have poor vision, but they can tell light from dark and have excellent low light sensitivity. They rely mostly on touch and scent, using sensory hairs and slit organs all over their body
  • Scorpions breath through 4 pairs of book lungs
  • Scorpions hunt at night and most eat whatever they can get – most will eat insects, spiders, other arthropods, grubs, earthworms, and even small rodents and lizards, although some specialise in particular prey
  • Mother scorpions will eat their babies if food is scarce
  • Scorpions glow in the dark under UV light – except when they have recently molted their skin
  • Scorpion mothers give birth to live baby scorplings – they then ride on her back for protection until they molt their first skin
  • Scorpions dance to mate – the male walks the female back and forth until he finds a good place on the ground to put his sperm, he then positions her over it for her to take it up
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Amazing Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi) Facts

  • The World’s largest spider by mass, and one of the largest in leg span
  • It can grow up to 12cm, with a leg span of 28cm and weight of 175g
  • Injects venom into its prey through its 2cm long fangs which paralyses it
  • It’s fangs are strong enough to pierce a mouse’s skull
  • They will generally only bite humans in self defense and often the bite won’t be venomous (known as a dry bite)
  • To humans its bite is not very toxic but can cause pain, nausea and sweating for a few hours (pain similar to that of a wasp sting)
  • As a warning they can produce a loud hissing noise by rubbing the bristles on their legs together that can be heard up to 5 meters away
  • They can also flick barbed body hairs from their abdomen with their legs which are so severely irritating it would kill a small mammal such as a mouse
  • To humans these hairs can cause swelling for a few hours and are especially irritating to the eyes and mouth
  • These hairs are the most harmful hairs of the tarantula species
  • Goliaths when threatened will rise up on their hind legs exposing their fangs ready to bite
  • Even with 8 eyes they have weak vision and can only see differences in the level of light
  • Their body is covered in a thick layer of hairs that are very sensitive to movement and vibrations that enable ground and air vibrations to be felt to detect movement
  • Despite being called a bird-eater they rarely eat birds, except young birds
  • They usually feed on invertebrates such as earthworms, insects such as crickets and beetles, and small reptiles such as frogs, lizards and snakes
  • Females live on average 15-25 years, males only 3-6 years
  • Like other tarantulas they shed their skin and so can regenerate limbs
  • They live in rainforests of South America
  • Goliaths are nocturnal and hunt by sneaking up on their prey, pouncing and biting with their fangs, then dragging it back to their dens to eat
  • They don’t have teeth so they eat their prey by regurgitating digestive juices onto it until it is a liquid they can suck it up

 

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