( Latin: Scorpiones )

Scorpions are animals of the tropics and subtropics and some species, such as Euscorpius italicus, occur in Southern Europe. They shun the light and hide during the day under rocks or loose bark; some species hide in crevices in houses.

Scorpions produce live young which are at first tended by the mother, and in fact they are carried round on her back for the first couple of weeks. Scorpions feed on insects and spiders which they seize with their claws (known technically as palps).

In some cases they kill the prey with venom injected by the sting, although this organ is primarily defensive.

The scorpions found in Europe are normally not dangerous to man, the action of their venom being roughly the same as that of a hornet.
Medical help should, however, be sought if a child is stung.

Many stories associated with scorpions are pure fantasy, as for example the idea that they will cooperate with each other by hanging from the ceiling in a long chain in order to reach and sting a human being. They played an important part in the religion of the ancient Egyptians, and are mentioned in several places in the Bible.