FOOD & COOKING

Eating Scorpions: Mind-Blowing Food When You’re Hungry in the Wilderness

Black scorpion on the ground
Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

Have you ever considered trying a fried scorpion? When you are out in the wilderness and you’re hungry, you probably won’t be picky. What is a delicacy to some, to others is something they would never try in their life. Take a moment and think about how your gut is reacting to eating scorpions? Are you thinking “Sounds interesting” or “Not a chance”? There aren’t many people who will leave their comfort zone to have a try a variety of unknowns.

It is well-known that scorpions have become a well-known delicacy in the Beijing market. You’re questioning yourself “people are eating scorpions?” Yes. People really enjoy eating scorpions, and snakes and sea horses amongst many other “weird” food. Most people will probably get the “Ick” reaction to this, but when in nature, alone, with no food be true to yourself and confess that you’ll eat anything to survive and scorpions are the most popular protein snack in the wilderness.

giant-scorpion on the sand

We are not trying to scare you by writing this article. Our purpose is to teach you the basic things about scorpions and how to properly eat them in order to survive. If you want to learn something new and be prepared for such situation continue reading.

Basic things you need to know about scorpions

Scorpions can be found in dry areas such as deserts and mountainous regions. You’ll usually find them under stony soils, sand dunes and cactus hedges. The animal itself doesn’t dig large holes to crawl inside, but hide under dry stones in nature. There are different species that can be found in the wilderness and even places where human live (they love the cracks in the walls). Androctonus Australis is one of the most dangerous scorpion in the world and its venom is very poisonous. It is also used in medicine, but on the other hand, it causes quite a big number of deaths over each year.

Types of scorpions that live in the wilderness

There are over 30 types of scorpions only in the southwest of USA. The most popular scorpion is the Arizona bark scorpion, which is the only scorpion specie that is considered life-threatening to humans. This type lives mostly in Arizona, but can be also seen in the southeast of California and Utah. The Arizona bark scorpion looks fragile with its pincers, tail and small body which is only half inches long, so keep in mind not to be fooled by its delicate looks, it is simply how you can distinguish this type from its beefier and larger cousins that are harmless to humans.

Arizona Bark Scorpion

This is the only scorpion that likes to climb on things (tree branches, rocky faces, underside of stones, you!) Therefore, hikers are often stung by this scorpion not knowing it’s there when they want to pick up a stone or any other object, so be careful.

How to catch them

If you have a flashlight you can use it, but we recommend a small light to attract them at night. If you’re trying to find one in daylight, you can simply lift the stones. You’ll find lots of insects that you can actually eat (even if it is not a scorpion you can eat a bug). Be careful when lifting the stones and looking underneath them as there are centipedes that are also dangerous.

Emperor Scorpion, Pandinus imperator (Scorpionidae), from Africa.

If you see one running around you, can throw rocks to kill them. They are best when cooked alive, but if you are not too certain that you’ll catch them safely don’t risk it. Just be careful while lifting the stones in general as you never know what you can find underneath.

Symptoms of a scorpion sting

The Amazon bark scorpion’s sting is mostly described as a feel like they’re being stabbed with a hot poker and then the tingling sensation and numbness follow. If you softly touch the spot where you’re bitten, you will feel an excruciating pain.

A scorpion sitting on a man's hand

Some of the symptoms you can have if you find yourself stung by a scorpion:

Common symptoms and reactionsSevere symptoms and reactions
Breathing difficultiesUnconsciousness
SalivatingBlurring
Burning, tingling or pain at the spot where scorpion stung youShock
Muscle twitchingConvulsions
NumbnessDeath
Heart palpitations
High feel of head, eye and neck twitching

How to treat a wound

If the scorpion stung you first thing, you should do is clean your wound with antiseptic. Cool the sting spot with ice water or dry ice, which will relieve pain and give your body more time to metabolize the venom. Considering the fact that the activity and panic can speed up the spread of the venom, it is crucial to keep calm and reassured.

Scorpions can quickly grab an insect with their pincers and whip their telson, the poisonous tip of their segmented tail forward and sting their prey.

If any of the symptoms above show up, go to the first medical institution as soon as possible as it is probably available in most medical institution areas inhabited by scorpions. Make sure you have a hiking first aid kit to be prepared for any medical emergencies.

How to thermally prepare scorpions for eating

Scorpions can be prepared in so many different ways – fried, roasted, grilled and even eaten alive. If you’re not into eating something that’s moving then we suggest fried scorpion on a stick, a well-known delicacy in Beijing that we already mentioned.  They have stingers and, although it’s not harmful if you don’t remove them, as the poison disappears when you expose them to heat, we suggest that you remove the stinger with any scorpion.

When outdoors you can use a long knife as this way you will have your hands safe out of the scorpion’s striking range (both the stinger and the claws). If you are on hiking or camping you probably have a fisherman’s knife which is perfect for this. Dab the scorpion by stabbing it between its back and the head. Most hikers and people in general who love eating them put several scorpions on a long stick.

Prepared scorpions to be eaten

Their legs move even when you spike them on a stick (who knew that?) so be prepared that it will move not once but twice before you eat it. Roast it like a marshmallow and eat them as you’re eating a kebab. It tastes like a potato chip, so you can put it in a bowl and have a nutritious snack. Just keep in mind to cook them well. You can boil them in a pot by digging a hole in the ground – just line it with fresh leaves and fill it with water. You can also drop the hot coals (taken out of the fire) and throw a couple of them into the pot to start it boiling. Or you can roast them over hot coals.

So, how willing are you try something new in general? If you’re the person who likes to try new food, unfamiliar spice or a fruit than you’ll probably won’t have a problem eating a scorpion (even when alive), but if you’re not the person who’s not into trying a new food than you will probably think once or twice before you eat it, even when you’re hungry. Some people are so afraid of the scorpions that they won’t even touch it no matter how hungry they are. They would rather starve to death than have to eat a scorpion, but then again, there’s always someone who is afraid of something. Just remember how many people are afraid of the hens and they still eat fried chicken.

Nutrition

Scientists did test in order to prove that scorpions are nutritious and edible. In their testing they used a 100 grams heavy scorpion that was 45 millimeters long. They washed it in water that was previously distilled, then dried it in an oven at 105 Celsius degrees for around 3 hours. After that, they stored the sample in an airtight container box before they chemically analyzed it.

Wangfujing Snack Street

They used an AOAC method to determine its weight of protein, fiber and fat and this is the result:

ParameterMean
Ash from the dry matter6,86
Moisture13,97
Fat10,83
Protein52,91
Fiber9,84
Carbohydrate5,61
Energy (Kcal)331,55

As you can see from the table above, scorpions are full of nutritional content and a great source of fat, protein, minerals and energy. It is full of phosphorus and calcium, which plays important roles in coordination and blood clotting. It’s advisable to eat scorpions after processing it first and it is scientifically proven that eating scorpions effect therapeutically when it comes to some diseases in humans and animals.

Tips to try scorpions mindfully

If eating a scorpion is something you always wanted to try but wasn’t sure about it, here are some tips that can be useful, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to eat it, so it is better to be prepared, right?

Try to be open-minded

When someone says that you try eating a scorpion, the first reaction would be thinking you won’t like it. Why? You have made your judgment before you tried it and this is something your brain remembers. The same thing probably happened to someone with broccoli. If you didn’t like broccoli when you were a child, the possibilities to try it now is close to zero.

Many of us have a cognitive bias toward eating scorpions

We know it’s hard, but try to make a deal with yourself and decide whether you like it or not after you tried it. Even if you didn’t like it the first time, try it the second time. At least you will be 100% sure that eating scorpions is something you like or not.

Be open for enjoyment in eating scorpions

Before you try it, think about the fact that you may actually like eating scorpions. By intentionally reminding yourself that you’ll like eating a scorpion can make some effect. Even if you don’t like the scorpion’s taste at least you will enjoy it as you will feel a little bit of excitement that you are finally doing something new and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Scorpions on plate ready to be eaten

In most cases, things that we don’t “like” are the things we are not familiar with. Check out our piece on how to  prepare edible bugs to give you more options.

Close your eyes

When you’re scared of something, your eyes will close naturally. The action of closing your eyes will heighten the sensation and experience. If you decided to try a scorpion, but still not sure how you will react when you see it try to close your eyes. This way you will get the full experience without thinking about its looks and mixing visual things that might take you in an opposite direction from your goal.

guacamole food on a plate

Think of it as guacamole. Its brownish-green color doesn’t look that appealing to anyone but most people think its taste is fantastic. When we’re speaking of blind eating, this is becoming a huge trend in a restaurant industry, which helps people experience food they wouldn’t even try if they see it.

Linger the experience

If you think of eating scorpions as something disgusting swallow it immediately. People, when they have to eat or drink something that they don’t like, often pop food into their mouth and swallow it immediately.

street Market selling Scorpions and Starfish, China, Beijing

If you’re a person who loves enjoying new things, then you are free to try keeping it in your mouth as long as you want to get a complete feel and sensation.

Make a comparison

It is natural to compare something that we don’t know to something we do. Compare scorpion to the food you know and like, like chicken or popcorn. This will help you define it whether it is worth eating it.

delicious fried chicken fries highdefinition picture

But when it comes to hunger, we are sure you will think of it as something worth eating again. Why not read our important piece on edible insects to help you make a comparison between the two?

What have we learned?

If you want to know how to survive without food in the wilderness, then you need to know which desert animals you can eat and how to eat it. This is a necessary skill you need to have if you ever find yourself in a situation that you lose your way on hiking and run out of food. Just remember that all animals that can be found in the desert are edible.

We hope you find our post eating scorpions useful. In case, you have been in this situation or you have eaten scorpions before feel free to share your story with us.  If you have any other ideas on how to catch or prepare a scorpion we would also love to hear you out as there is almost any information on the internet on that topic.

For more options on how to find food in the wilds, check out our past articles on the topic before you take off on your next expedition.

Scorpions ready to be eaten

Feel free to leave a comment below and share it on your social media profiles. We also want to see pics of you eating or preparing scorpions on Instagram (don’t forget to tag us). We are excited to see them! Good luck with eating scorpions, stay safe and happy hiking / surviving!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

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