The Bark Scorpion is the most toxic scorpion in the United States and a common sight in Arizona. They can grow up to three inches long and have long, thin, crablike claws, a flat belly, and a segmented tail with a stinger. These pests typically live in dark, cool places such as woodpiles, plant debris, or cracks in masonry as well as sinks, cabinets, or floor drains. The stings from this scorpion require immediate medical attention.
Hairy Scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis
The Hairy Scorpion, the largest in the Untied States, grows up to six inches long and can be identified by its yellow color with a dark top and lobster like pinchers. They typically burrow underground or hide in crevices. This scorpion is mildly venomous to humans and a string can be compared to that of a bee or wasp and should be treated as such. The sting can be fatal if an allergic reaction occurs.
Black Widow Spider Latrodectus
The female black widow spider bite can be fatal to humans. They are identified by a black, bulbous body with redish to yellowish hourglass marking underneath and are found in dark spaces such as garages, electrical boxes, wood piles, and outdoor faucets. Their venom causes severe pain, nausea, dizziness, respiratory distress, cramps, and if untreated death.
Arizona Brown Spider Loxosceles arizonica
The Arizona Brown Spiders are closely related to the brown recluse and have a light brown body less than a half inch long with long thin legs. They can be found in cool, dark places. Bites can be identified by an inflamed and itchy sore resembling a bulls eye that lingers. Medical attention should be sought immediately, as antibiotics should be administered.
Brown Recluse Spider Loxosceles reclusa
The Brown Recluse spiders are very small and pack a deadly punch. They can be identified by a light brown coloring and a small, violin shaped marking behind the eyes and can be found in covered, dark places. These spiders are of particular danger to humans and bites can cause necrosis, take months to heal, and even turn gangrenous. Rarely more serious side effects and even death may occur.
Bed Bug Cimex lectularius
Bedbugs are quite small and hard to see. They are reddish brown in color and a bit smaller than an apple seed. Their name refers to the common habitat which is beds or areas where people sleep. They are active at night and feed on human blood, usually without being noticed. Bites can cause red, blotchy, itching skin rashes and could require antibiotic treatment.
Assassin Beetle aka Kissing Bug Triatoma
The Assassian Beetle is ½ to 1 inch long, flat, with orange spots on the abdomen. These blood sucking insects feed on animals or humans primarily at night. They make their home in the nest of rodents and are attracted to lights at night. They feed by inserting a proboscis beneath the skin to suck out their food, blood. Bites are identified by red, itchy patches of skin and can be painful. An allergic reaction could cause severe anaphylactic symptoms as well.
Sun Spider (Windscorpion) Solpugids
These strange looking creatures are less than two inches in length with a yellow to brown body color. The most notable feature is the two large pincers located on the head. Sun Spiders are nocturnal and prefer to stay in the shade during the day. These are not venomous despite their appearance but their rare bites can be painful.
Southern Fire Ant Solenopsis xyloni
Fire ants are distinguished from other ants by their reddish-brown color. They make their homes in sunny, dry areas in the ground or rotting wood. They reproduce quickly and over 75,000 ants can live in one colony. Ants are able to sting and bite and do so when threatened. While a few bites can be uncomfortable, some people experience allergic reactions and severe swelling when bitten several times.
Desert Centipede Scolopendra heros
These larger centipedes can grow up to 8 inches in length and have alternating orange and black stripes on a semi-flat body. They can be found underneath stones and logs and enjoy warm, dark places and are fast moving. Large pincers are able to puncture skin and inject venom. Bites feel like a wasp sting and can remain sensitive to touch for quite a while although more serious symptoms such as tissue damage and allergic reactions can occur.
Desert Millipede Orthoporus ornatus
These multi-legged creatures have a cylindrical, dark in color, and are slow moving. In contrast to the centipede, millipedes prefer cool, moist environments. When threatened, they excrete a poisonous liquid that can cause an itching, burning sensation on the skin and irritate eyes.
Tarantula Aphonopelma chalcodes
Tarantulas are 4 to 10 inches in length, including leg span, and vary in color from male to females. Males are darker and thinner while females are lighter in color. They have tiny hairs on the abdomen that can cause irritation if handled or brushed into eyes. Tarantulas are typically found in burrows in the ground and typically do not attack unless provoked. These spiders are venomous and have a painful bite but pose little danger to humans if bitten.
Desert Subterranean Termite Heterotermes aureus
Although small, these termites can cause major structural damage if left untreated. They can be identified as small yellow to brown colored flying insects. These termites live in desert plants as well as in any wooden structure and are most active at night. Some signs of termite infestations include honeycomb like patterns in wood, appearances of sawdust, and mud tubes on outside walls. Although more of a danger to the home, termites can bite humans with minimal adverse effects except in the event of an allergic reaction.
Packrat Neotoma albigula
These mammals are grey to brown in color and a foot long from nose to tail tip. Their big ears and eyes are a distinct giveaway. Their dens (called middens) look like smaller versions of a beaver dam, made of twigs and scrap materials and can be found in dark crevices such as attics and rafters. Although they do not commonly attack humans, bites (and also feces) can deliver hanta virus, plague, and rabies.
Rattlesnake Crotalus atrox
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) is the largest and most common rattlesnake, growing 3-5 feet in length and grey-brown in color with diamond like patterns on the back. The Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) is brown to pale green in color with a dark diamond pattern on the back. If encountered, do not attempt to move or get a closer look as they are able to attack up to 2/3 of their body length. They will emit a rattling sound with their tale as a warning before attacking. Most attacks occur when these snakes are provoked, as they are not typically aggressive creatures. When attacked, the snake’s hollow fangs deliver venom swiftly into tissue. Bites are painful, cause severe swelling, and require antivenom as well as immediate medical care.
Corral Snake Micruroides euryxanthus
These colorful snakes are less than 2 feet in length and characterized by bands of red and black separated by a band of yellow along with a black head. Coloring is similar to many other nonvenomous snakes, so the line “Red to Black is a friend of Jack, Red to Yellow will kill a fellow” is often referred to. These are located in rocky, sandy areas as well as scrubland and grassland. Venom is similar to that of a cobra and bites from these snakes require medical treatment.
Gila Monster Heloderma suspectum
The largest lizard species in Arizona, these grow up to 2 feet in length. Gila Monsters live in dark, moist areas and can be found under rocks and in scrubland. They have large jaws that clamp onto prey or an arm or leg when threatened. It is best to leave them alone if encountered, as they typically do not attack unless provoked. Neurotoxic venom is released during a bite causing severe pain. Bites require immediate care and hospitalization.