'The List' debunks myths surrounding Arizona scorpions' stings

PHOENIX - Scorpions are back in the Phoenix area!  Well, they didn't actually go anywhere, but with the warm weather comes the infamous land shrimp of our nightmares.

PHOTOS: Scorpions in Arizona

Do they really live in your shoes? Yes, they love your smelly, dark foot caves. Can they crawl up walls? Yes, they can. This is one of their favorite tricks.  Why do they even exist? We don't have answer for this one. We're not sure either. The truth is, we know there are a few scorpion myths out there, so we talked with a toxicologist from Banner Health to set the record straight.

Myth number one: Scorpions bite

Scorpions do not bite. Instead, they use a barb on the tip of their tails to inject a neurotoxin  into their prey; or you for that matter.

Myth number two: scorpion stings will leave a mark

Injection sites are not identifiable by marks and typically do not swell. This is often a problem when babies are stung during the night. They are inconsolable as anxious parents check them for marks or swelling. The only sign they may have been a victim of a scorpion is if you find the culprit trying to crawl away. Yuck!

Myth number three: bigger scorpions pack a bigger sting

In Arizona, the smallest of the native scorpions, the bark scorpion, may only be the size of a nickel, but is capable of sending you to the emergency room. Its neurotoxin can disrupt the communication between nerves, causing your eyes to dart uncontrollably back and forth, your limbs might flail, or your head will twitch. Talk about monsters under the bed! Of course, those symptoms manifest only in extreme circumstances

Just so you know, the other scorpion species in our state is the Arizona desert hairy scorpion. He sounds scary, but his venom is much less powerful than his size might imply.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, a trip to the emergency room is in order. But most can recover in 24-48 hours without ever seeing a doctor. Need help after a sting? Call a poison control center.

Here is the number to Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Hotline: 1-800-222-1222.

Watch "The List" on ABC15 weekdays at 4:30 p.m.

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