A member of the arachnid family, one of the oldest and most successful groups of animals on this planet. In fact, some think the first animal to leave the sea was an arachnid. Scorpions have lobster-like claws and a tail which arches forward over their backs, ends in a sting. It's that sting which means they are feared and detested, but in fact only a small minority of scorpions are dangerously venomous. Scorpions live in a variety of environments, from tropical to desert regions. As a rule, species with larger and stronger-looking pincers tend to be safer. For example, scorpions like the Emporer Scorpion, Black Forest Scorpion (a guest on 'Clive Anderson Talks Back') and Egyptian Gold Scorpion are safe to handle and are kept as pets. Meanwhile, the Death Stalker and Fat-tailed Scorpions (which have small, narrow pincers), are dangerously venomous. The earliest known scorpion fossils are something like 400 million years old. Two ancient scorpions, Brontoscorpio and Gigantoscorpio, are thought to have each been a metre in length. Whenever I watch a scorpion, I can't help feeling I'm viewing the events of 400 million years ago.
An Emporer Scorpion called Spike, looked large and dramatic, was harmless to humans. Within in few years she had become a grandmother. RIP Spike, and her family, the last of whom died a couple of years ago
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