Scorpions in North Dakota? Yes, there are | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Scorpions in North Dakota? Yes, there are

Jun 5, 2017

Credit Image courtesy State Geologist Ed Murphy

When you think of scorpions, you may think of those poisonous desert-dwelling creatures from the southwestern part of the US.

Chances are, scorpions don’t come to mind when you think of North Dakota.

But they’re here – in areas with lignite coal.

"They live primarily in the cracks of coal," said State Geologist Ed Murphy. "We found out very early, working on coal in the 1980s, it wasn't unusual to have a scorpion hanging upside down on the bottom of the chunk of coal."

Murphy said he learned very quickly to wear leather gloves. He says they're smaller than their desert-dwelling cousins -- about the size of a quarter.

"They have a pretty good sized stinger on them," Murphy said. "If you're one of those unlucky people who have an adverse reaction to that kind of venom, it could be a problem. But you would not get as much venom injected as you would down in Arizona, because they're smaller."

And they're nocturnal creatures.

"You can go out in the evening with a blacklight, shine it around, and you can find them" Murphy said.