The scorpion is an animal that belongs to the arachnids, just like the spiders and daddy longlegs. In some groups of animal species it is not always clear to which group an animal belongs. With scorpions this is always very clear because all scorpion species have a number of clearly distintinctive characteristics: they have a flattened body, two scissors at the front, and a tail at the back with a spiky end. Scorpions have been on earth for a long time. They were here over 200 million years before the dinosaurs. Scorpions live in a large part of the world, but not in too cold areas. In Europe you can find them in the south of France and further south. In some countries, scorpions did not live there originally, but they were introduced by human action. In parts of Britain, for example, there are scorpions that entered with imported fruit.
Scorpions have a bit of a bad name because of their poison. Many people believe scorpions are very dangerous. However, there are only about 50 species of the nearly 2000 whereby the poison is dangerous for humans. The effect of a stitch of some species is the same as with a sting of a bee or wasp. However, some of the dangerous species occur in countries such as Mexico. That's why some people die every year from a sting of a scorpion. In these countries it is important that people do not just put their feet in their shoes without checking whether there is a scorpion in it. And if you pick up a stone, you have to be aware that there may be a scorpion underneath.
Scorpions eat spiders and insects. They also eat other scorpions of a different kind, but sometimes also of their own species. You would expect that they themselves have few enemies because of their poison, but some animals such as hedgehogs and meerkats are immune to the poison. In addition, some birds and snakes eat them. Scorpions can survive without food for a long time because they store food in their body. Thus they are a nutritious meal for other animals. People also sometimes eat fried scorpions.
Striking in the reproduction of scorpions is that they are usually ovoviviparous. This means that the eggs develop in the mother's body and that they are hatched in it. This differs from mammals: the young in the womb receives food from the mother through the placenta. When animals are ovoviviparous the egg contains the necessary nutrients. After birth a scorpion is very vulnerable because the armor is not yet hard. After birth the little scorpions climb on the mother's back and live on the mother's back for a while until they are big enough to hunt for themselves. A scorpion moults a number of times before it reaches maturity. The armor does not grow with it. After a moult, a scorpion is very vulnerable because the new armor is not yet hard. How old scorpions become, varies per species: from a number of years up to 25 years.