Scorpions are scary creatures that can sting you with their large stinger or pinch you with their claws. Some scorpions are poisonous, so it’s always helpful to learn about the different species that might be lurking in your area. We are going to list the species you can find in Colorado. For each entry, we’ll provide you with a picture as well as a short description so you can be better informed.

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The 3 Scorpion Species Found in Colorado:

1. Striped Bark Scorpion

Striped Bark Scorpion on ground
Image Credit by Sari ONeal, Shutterstock
SpeciesCentruroides vittatus
Longevity4 years
Good to own as a pet?No
Legal to own?Yes
Adult size2 – 3 inch

The Striped Bark Scorpion is a pale-yellow color with two dark stripes on its carapace. The color helps provide camouflage, and it spends most of its time on the ground under rocks, hiding in structures and inside fruit. Unlike most other species, this scorpion is social and prefers to live in groups to allow more opportunities to mate. Many people get stung by this scorpion each year by walking barefoot. The sting can be quite painful and will likely cause localized swelling. It produces a neurotoxin that can cause muscle spasms, abdominal cramping, and other symptoms, but it is rarely fatal.

2. Northern Desert Hairy Scorpion

SpeciesHadrurus arizonensis
Longevity15 – 20 years
Good to own as a pet?Yes
Legal to own?Yes
Adult size5 inches

The Northern Desert Hairy Scorpion is a very large species that can often grow to more than 5-inches long. It uses its large size to feed on other scorpions, lizards, and snakes. Its body is usually color with a dark brown top. It prefers the warm desert areas of Colorado, and you will usually find it in a low elevation valley digging an elaborate burrow up to eight feet long. The hairs on its body give it its name and help it detect faint vibrations caused by prey. Despite its menacing appearance, its bite is not very toxic and is similar to a bee sting. However, a person allergic to the venom can suffer from difficulty breathing and excessive swelling to the point of being life-threatening.

3. Northern Scorpion

SpeciesParuroctonus boreus
Longevity3 – 8 years
Good to own as a pet?No
Legal to own?Yes
Adult size1 – 2 inch

The Northern Scorpion is a smaller size species with a wide range that extends as far north as Canada. Its appearance varies considerably based on its habitat, but it is usually a pale brown. In volcanic areas outside Colorado, it can be a deep red or brown color with stripes running across its back. It has large pincers and a slender body that apers toward the tail. It has a venom-packed stinger that can be quite painful, and it will use its claws to hold its prey in place while it continues to sting it. It’s usually the only scorpion species living in a specific area as it actively seeks out places too cold for competition.

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Poisonous Scorpions Found in Colorado

Unfortunately, all of the Scorpions that you might find in Colorado are poisonous and can inflict a painful sting on an unsuspecting victim. Luckily, in most cases, the sting will only cause some minor irritation and swelling, similar to a bee sting. However, if a person is allergic to venom, a sting can result in a serious medical situation. We recommend always wearing shoes when walking by an area that might contain scorpions, like a rock pile or a fallen tree. Removing low-lying shrubbery and other clutter around your home can help keep them off your property and less likely to make a home near your family.

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Final Thoughts

While there are not too many scorpions in Colorado, all of them are poisonous. You will need to exercise extreme caution if you approach them. Though the sting is rarely more painful than a beesting, you risk having an allergic reaction. Of the three types listed here, the Northern Desert Hairy Scorpion makes the best pet. Its impressively large size will get it plenty of attention, and it has the least painful stingers.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and have learned something new. If we have helped answer your questions, please share this guide to the three scorpions found in Colorado on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Hanjo Hellmann, Shutterstock