Scorpions and Snakes in Phoenix, AZ
Most of you that have lived here in Phoenix or Scottsdale Arizona are at least moderately aware of snakes and scorpions in Arizona that are part of the natural desert wildlife which can cause you harm either from a bite or sting.
I wanted to write a little something that may help explain some of the do’s and don’ts so those that don’t know about snakes and scorpions in Arizona can be better prepared for what they might find if your living in a desert environment such as Phoenix or any of the surrounding Areas.
Remember that there are poisonous insects and critters in every state in the US that can cause you harm so just keep in mind that this info isn’t meant to frighten you, but to make you aware of your surroundings.
I have heard people say they were “bit” by a scorpion. There is no such thing as “bit” by a scorpion. Scorpions “sting” and snakes “bite”. So when you tell someone that you were bit by a scorpion, try and remember that it’s “Sting” not “Bite” and you’ll sound a little less “touristy” and more “local resident”.
Diamond Back Rattlesnakes in Phoenix, AZ
Diamond Back Rattle Snakes in Arizona are the most commonly seen snake in the desert or the mountains. They can be found roaming about looking for food after their hibernation period ends which is generally when the weather starts to warm up in spring sometime between March and April, then they crawl back to sleep when the weather cools down in the fall which is roughly September. Scorpions, kind of do the same thing.
Not All Diamond Back Snakes Will Rattle
Here’s one thing most folks don’t know about rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes don’t always rattle when you come upon them. I remember walking up Pinnacle Peak Park hiking trail in early July one year at about 8 am and as I rounded the corner of the trail there was a very long diamond back rattler all stretched out along the trail catching some nice sunshine to warm up. I stopped abruptly about 15 feet away and slowly stepped back. I saw him first start to coil up but then when I backed away he made himself long again and slithered off the side of the trail. Not once did he make a sound. So the lesson is, LOOK when you are outside. Be aware of your surroundings and places that Snakes can hide like in dark corners or between rocks looking for varmints to eat like rabbits or field mice. They are tricky little devils and can be in the most odd places when you least expect it and I mean that ESPECIALLY in the desert. Rio Verde Foothills homes are built on a hillside desert area and that will be busy with Snakes and Scorpions.
Don’t Let Rattlesnakes Freak You Out
If you are prepared then you’ll be much better than if you are not. There are people you can call that will come out and take the snakes from your yard or area and put them in a desert environment somewhere else. One of those is Phoenix Snake Removal
You should also have a snake bite kit handy. Here’s one I found on Amazon.com
You can probably find these at Walgreens or CVS local Pharmacy’s too.
They are cheap (about 15-20 bucks) and will come in handy if you are out on the trail or in an area where your chances of getting bit are increased. Better to be prepared than not.
If you live in the city the chances of seeing a snake are very small. If you live in or near the desert you will probably see them often enough to get your attention. If your home backs up to natural rocky areas I guaranty you’ll will see them and probably have to deal with Scorpions as well. Some folks will build block walls across the back yard that snakes can’t climb up. That will work fine but the real trick is getting the gate between the wall and the side of your house low enough to the ground to keep them out. And just so you know, Scorpions will climb up those block walls like there is no tomorrow.
A personal story about a Diamondback Snake Encounter
My wife had a horse barn with sliding doors in front of each stall. One morning she went out to take care of the horse and there was a rattlesnake stretched out under the edge of the sliding door. She didn’t see him until after she walked by twice to grab some products and food for the horse. There he was. Interesting thing is that the snake knew exactly when she saw him and he started crawling off then stopped to coil, not until after she had stepped well away from him.
Ok, enough about snakes, let’s talk Scorpions
Bark Scorpions are very common in the valley across the entire phoenix metro. They are resilient little devils and hide in dark places both inside and outside your home. One thing I can tell you that they do is they like to hide in Palm Tree growth leaves (I think you still call those leaves) where they meet the trunk of the tree. It’s dark and the leaves catch moisture and scorpions like that. They also eat crickets too so the rule of many a pest treatment company is “kill the Food and get rid of the Scorpions”.
I would like to say that this works all the time, but it doesn’t. Scorpions will find all kinds of things to scavenge including flies, spiders, centipedes, most anything that is small and crawls or flies. So what I have done that works for our household is “Spray”. I use a once a month spray company that comes out and treats the inside and outside of our home. It’s a good safety net and if you have seen scorpions in your home you’ll start finding them dead on the floor in the open now after spraying. By the way, don’t pick them up with your fingers even when they are dead or appear to be. Same thing with a snake you may have just killed. Hands Off!
You can use ultraviolet light to find scorpions at night, just remember to bring something to strike them with, not your foot1 If they don't die when you steep on them, they could be crawling up your foot from the bottom of your shoe.
Let me leave you with some words of advice in case your stung by a Scorpion. There is anti venom for both. It is expensive and sometimes the side effects from the anti-venom are worse than the sting. So, you have to make a choice. The first time I was stung by a bark scorpion I called the poison center and asked the person there what to do. She asked my age and I told her 49. She said “that’s Great”. I asked Why, She said because “if you’re over 60 we would need you to go to the hospital and get the anti venom shot”. Then I asked her why, and she said “because the older the body is, the harder it is to fight off the poison and filter it out”.
The general rule for scorpion stings is, go get the anti venom if you are under 6 or over 60. Remember that’s the “general” rule according to the poison control center, make your own judgment though because you may have a medical condition that could cause the effect of a sting or bite to be worse than expected.
I hope this information is helpful to you.