10 Venomous Creatures in Your Backyard


Death Stalking Scorpion

Scary enough name?

This venomous scorpion, found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East is 4 to 5 inches (10.2 to 12.7 centimeters) long, and is usually found hiding under rocks or inside small burrows in dry and desert areas.

During the night, this arachnid can usually grab its prey, like crickets and mealworms, using just its claws. But if it needs more firepower, it can use its tail to deliver extraordinarily toxic venom.

This scorpion kills several people each year, primarily children [source: Rein]. Its neurotoxin moves through the body quickly, causing extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis and sometimes coma and death. An antivenom does exist.

The provocative name makes this animal tempting to adventurous but poorly trained animal collectors. Kansas State University entomologists warn that pet stores import many species of scorpions from around the globe, often with little knowledge about how dangerous they might be. Anyone stung by this scorpion should get immediate medical attention.

When left to the professionals, this scorpion's highly toxic and complex venom could be a possible treatment for brain cancer. Clinical trials are underway on patients with malignant glioma, the cancer that killed Sen. Edward Kennedy [source: Conova].

Read on to find out how less threatening names don't always mean harmless stings.