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Black Thick-tailed Scorpion / Southern African Spitting Scorpion

Parabuthus transvaalicus


Large black scorpion which can grow to 5 " or 25cm although this one is only half that size. It clearly demonstrates the combination of thick substantial tail and small thin pincers which is a feature of the a more venomous species, in fact, Parbuthus transvaalicus is the most venomous scorpion in southern Africa. The family Buthidae contains 9 out the top 10 venomous scorpion species world wide. This species is identified by its large, robust size. It is black in colour, often shiny and the tail is covered in short bristle hairs. This species is also referred to as the Southern African Spitting Scorpion in the literature and it is purported to be an accurate spitter of venom into the eyes. Locally, however, this side of its character is not alluded to.


The Black Thick-tailed Scorpion is a common and widespread species through the drier desert and scrubland areas of southern Africa. Like many scorpions it is most active after dark, particularly in the summer and more especially after rain storms. Scorpions spend the hot days hidden under stones or under the bark of dead branches where it can pose a threat to people gathering wood for domestic fires. Unfortunately they also find tempting resting places within rural dwellings.


This particular individual managed to get itself trapped in the wash basin in my bathroom. After the photo shoot (and I appologise for the quality of the pics; the camera was new to me at that juncture), I relocated the irate little fellow a couple of kilometers away in the bush

No species ID suggestions


C.Sydes 4 years ago

thanks for the warning oliver02517.

I always try Tiz, especially with things which could be dangerous for my cats & dogs but some of them make that a pretty hard goal to accomplish.

My mother-in-law was once bitten by a nasty scorpian and she said later that she'd rather go through child birth again than another bite !

oliver02517 4 years ago

bloody red tape! so many stupid laws and things getting in the way!
anyway, if you ever come across them and if you do have to collect them, please make sure u wear sunglasses/goggles as they can spray their venom over a meter... C. Sydes, that sounds good, i might just do that, if i ever get any money!

Tiz 4 years ago

Thanks for the info! Very nice. Since I rarely see any scorpions, I have become a bit ignorante regarding the risk... A reminder was in place :)
Nice to read that you released him instead of the normal African way - kill the "dangerous" thing right away....

C.Sydes 4 years ago

no problem in Botswana to come and see but collecting is something else requiring research permits and red tape, red tape, red tape etc

oliver02517 4 years ago

wow! incredible animals!
i'd quite like to come over to botswana and document/collect some animals with you guys, i'm really interested in scorpions/arachnids, most insects and reptiles, quite interested in all animals and would really like to get some more experience

South-East District, Botswana

Lat: -24.57, Long: 25.93

Spotted on Dec 6, 2010
Submitted on Feb 6, 2012

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