As members of the class Arachnida Scorpions are closely related to spiders, mites, and ticks. They are usually considered desert dwellers, but live in Brazilian forests, British Columbia, North Carolina, and even the Himalayas. These hardy, adaptable arthropods have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and they are notable survivors.

There are almost 2,000 species of scorpion, but between 30 and 40 species have poison strong enough to kill a person. Their varied venoms are effectively tailored to their users’ species and lifestyles and are highly selected for effectiveness against that species’ prey of choice.

Scorpions usually eat insects, but their diet can vary greatly (key to their survival in so many harsh locations). When food is scarce, the scorpion has a unique ability to slow its metabolism to as little as one-third it’s normal rate. This technique enables some species to use little oxygen and live on as little as a single insect meal per year. Yet even with lowered metabolism, the scorpion keeps the ability to spring quickly for hunting—a trait many hibernating species lack.

These survival skills allow scorpions to thrive among some of Earth’s toughest environments. Researchers have even frozen scorpions overnight, put them in the sun the next day and watch them thaw out and continue to function normally. Scorpions have a difficult time living without one thing though… soil. Scorpions burrow, so in areas of permafrost or heavy grasses, where loose soil is not prevalent, scorpions have a harder time surviving.