scorpionScorpions are closely related to spiders, mites, and ticks. There are almost 2,000 scorpion species, but only 30 or 40 have strong enough poison to kill a person.

Scorpions typically eat insects, but their diet can be extremely variable.  When food is scarce, the scorpion has an amazing ability to slow its metabolism to as little as one-third the typical rate for arthropods.  Some species use little oxygen and live on as little as a single insect per year. Yet even with lowered metabolism, the scorpion has the ability to spring quickly to the hunt when the opportunity presents itself.

Such survival skills allow scorpions to live in some of the planet’s toughest environments. Researchers have even frozen scorpions overnight; only to put them in the sun the next day and watch them thaw out and walk away. But there is one thing scorpions have a difficult time living without—soil. They are burrowing animals, so in areas of permafrost or heavy grasses, where loose soil is not available, scorpions may not be able to survive.