My dog, Scooby, dropped a scorpion on our rug one morning. We live on a canyon, so the odds of us having critters is higher than, say, if you live in the Village of La Jolla.

We’ve owned this house for nearly twenty years and have had four in-house scorpions and multiple outdoor encounters (maybe one every other summer). Here’s how they happened.

I was unpacking my suitcase from Mexico and noticed a dead scorpion about three feet away. I assumed he hitched a ride in my bag back to the U.S. However, based on the amount of stuff I had in my suitcase and how I was unpacking, I couldn’t figure out how it got to this part of the house. In hindsight, I think it had just wandered into the house.

A year later, we found one in our living room.

We’ve killed multiple outside on our patio.

One fell out of a vent into my daughter’s bathroom. It had clearly been in the attic.

When Scooby caught one in his mouth and spit it out on the carpet, we weren’t sure if he found it dead or not. Luckily, he wasn’t stung.

My parents had a house in Mexico, so I’m familiar with scorpion protocol. Our scorpions look a lot like the ones we saw there, and they hurt like nobody’s business when they sting (my dad knew first-hand).

The scorpions around our house are small about 2-3 inches long, and light brown, like the one in the photo above. We have a neighborhood chat group, and every once in a while during summer, a neighbor chimes in with a “we found a scorpion, I had no idea we had them in San Diego type message.” We do, and lately I’ve noticed that more local pest control companies have scorpion sections on their pages.

According to the San Diego County website, our resident scorpions aren’t usually deadly. But, a sting is extraordinarily painful, and that you probably should seek medical treatment if stung.

If Your Dog or Cat Gets a Scorpion Sting

Our vet suggests that you take a stung pet directly to the emergency room because scorpions sting with a neurotoxin that can yield side effects that a normal vet office can’t handle.

For us, the closest pet ER is Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley. They are a 24-hour facility, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. We’ve been there multiple times for Scooby’s skin ailments, TPLO surgery, and more.

Some vets suggest applying a cold compress, restricting movement, applying a cone collar, and baking soda paste. They also give dosing instructions for Benadryl. Ask your vet what you should do.

Scorpion Sting Treatment for Humans

According to the Mayo Clinic website, kids are particularly vulnerable and should always receive medical treatment.

They also suggest washing the wound with soap and water, applying a cold compress, an over-the-counter pain reliever, avoiding food as stings can cause throat swelling, and staying calm (obviously). If you can, bring the scorpion to the appointment so they can identify what kind it is.

Scorpions glow under a black light.

Interesting fact: According to the San Diego County website, scorpions glow under a black light.

The point of this post is to let you all know that we have scorpions in La Jolla so that you can have a plan in case you or your pet or child is stung. And, to keep an eye out on hot summer days because they do blend in with outdoor surroundings making them hard to see. We no longer keep our back doors open in the summer between the lizards and scorpions.

*Photo credit: Flickr, JeffreyTurner

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Just found one on our patio at Ridgegate in Lajolla. Scared the heck out of me as we have young children. Ugghh..

    1. I know! As I talk about this with other La Jollans, I’m finding that either people had no idea or have seen one at home.

  2. I had one walk across our kitchen floor last night. La Jolla Woods, canyon side. He has been returned to his habitat. Great advice on what to do if you or your kids get stung. My 15 year old daughter found it, I’m surprised it didn’t just get up and leave at that point.

  3. This is my fourth experience of seeing a scorpion in my house, one, which was dead in my master bath, the other three in my family room area. I believe they all gained entry from boxes delivered, especially from Las Vegas. When opening these boxes, at least four of them, I never see these creatures. I have thought about opening all delivered boxes outside.

  4. Scorpions in San Diego County can be found from bluffs above the beaches, over the mountains, and down in the desert. Stings are painful and vary in effect. I was stung on a finger tip by a small (~2in) scorpion and the fingertip was numb for about one hour. I received another sting more recently from one of the desert hairy scorpions which is our largest. This was on my palm. Had throbbing pain in my hand for the better part of 3 days as well as stiffness in the fingers. Good news is that our scorpions, as scorpions go, are not considered to be dangerous. We don’t have the AZ Bark Scorpion here or anything like that.