Unwelcome summer guests: Fighting off snakes and scorpions

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Life in the desert means sharing the area with some dangerous wildlife, and during the summer months, you’re more likely to run across one of these critters. Yes, we’re talking scorpions and snakes. If you live here or are thinking of moving, there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe from these critters.

Imagine sitting at home, streaming a favorite from Netflix, when you see a little bark scorpion crawling across the wall. Maybe it’s creeping along the floor straight towards your toddler, who is quietly playing with a toy. 

Or, what about going out to the garage to hop in the car for your morning commute to work? There, coiled up, relaxing on the concrete, you see a snake. Do you know what to do in either of these situations? 

According to the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, the bark scorpion is the most dangerous and is likely to cause medical issues if stung.

Each year, the Center receives thousands of calls regarding scorpions and snakes, particularly in the summer months, so they would be a great resource to keep in mind.

What to do about it

Keep scorpions out of your home by sealing your windows and using pesticides. If you worry about using chemicals around the house, you could consider hiring a pest removal service that catches the scorpions and takes them off your property. Just remember you’re probably better off being safe than stung.

5 tips from Banner Poison and Drug Information Center to avoid scorpions in the home:

  • Baby’s crib – Keep the crib away from the walls. Do not use crib skirts that touch the floor. Place the legs in glass jars because scorpions can’t climb them. Consider building a scorpion shield, a rectangle of plastic or foam core cut bigger than the crib or bed and hung from the ceiling.
  • Beds – Check in your bed for scorpions before getting into bed and keep your bed away from the walls.
  • Clothes – Shake or check all clothing before putting them on—especially your shoes.
  • Life outdoors – Make sure you wear shoes when outdoors, especially at night around swimming pools
  • Damp towels and pools – Be careful of wet or damp towels in the bathroom and pool area.

Don’t forget to make sure your batteries are fresh in your black-light flashlight, too. Shine the light on a scorpion, and they light up in a fluorescent green color. This makes it much easier to find scorpions in and around your home. (Side note: Thank you to whoever discovered that scorpions glow under a black light).

As for snakes, the Center gets the most calls about rattlesnakes, an incredibly dangerous species common to the desert. Make sure you save their handy tips, so you’ll know what to do in the event a rattlesnake or other desert critter finds its way into your home.

5 things the Center wants you to know about rattlesnakes:

  • Arizona is home to 13 identified species of rattlesnakes that can be encountered any time except March and April. During the summer months, they are more active at night, and they are most active after the August monsoons.
  • Rattlesnakes don’t always warn you by shaking their rattles before they strike.
  • Their strike can have good range: They can strike 1/4 to 1/2 of their body length.
  • Baby rattlesnakes are usually born at the end of July and can bite right from birth.

Also, make sure you have the Poison and Drug Information Center’s number - 800-222-1222 – somewhere easy to find. Maybe even put it in your phone, so it’s always handy.

This post was originally published on July 19, 2014. It has been updated with additional information.

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