Nature is amazing and can surprise anyone who looks at it carefully. Animals are varied and have different characteristics. There are several types and styles. And of course just as there are those that most people love and find cute, there are animals that people fear.
Scorpions and spiders fall into this second category. These ancient arachnids have walked the Earth for hundreds of millions of years, even before the dinosaurs. But have you ever wondered if they were put in a fight against each other who would win?
This question has been a hot topic in numerous YouTube videos, online forums, and even research articles. The answer to that question depends on who is fighting. That’s because there are more than 900 species of tarantulas and 2,500 species of scorpions in the world. But the issue can be summed up in three things: size, speed and venom.
In the wild, scorpions and tarantulas rarely interbreed. But they will fight to protect their territory or themselves. Looking at first level it seems to be balanced. Both scorpions and tarantulas are typically ambush predators, meaning they sit and wait for their prey. And both are highly armed.
The two animals also have a weapon in their arsenal, the poison. Scorpions inject their venom through the sting of their tail. Tarantulas inject the venom through their fangs.
Their venom is complex cocktails of thousands of different molecules whose main target is the nervous system. For hundreds of millions of years, this poison has been evolving and adjusting to have a fast, potent and selective action. All this to give these arachnids the possibility of capturing their prey and defending themselves from predators.
As scary as spiders can be, the venom to worry about is the scorpion. It is estimated that annually there are more than one million scorpion poisonings with more than three thousand deaths.
In comparison, tarantula poisons are not normally considered dangerous to humans. And there are no records of fatal cases with this poison.
Size and speed
Poisons are typically fast-acting, so whoever is quick enough to land the first blow has a big advantage. Scientists used high-speed video and found that a species of scorpion called the death hunter can whip its tail at 128 centimeters per second in an attack to defend itself.
Another study found that brown Texas tarantulas can run at similar speeds.
As powerful as poisons are chemical weapons, there is no doubt that the size of arachnids plays an important role in this fight. Also because, the bigger the animal, the more doses of poison will be needed to affect it.
Several studies have recorded scorpions attacking smaller spiders. But when the spiders get bigger the situation changes. So much so that some tarantulas are known scorpion predators.
Overall, there is no definitive answer because each case is different. As stated before, it depends a lot on the size, speed and venom of the competitors.