Are there scorpions in Ontario? Well, kind of…

Many people wonder if any scorpion species live in Ontario.

I know when I think about scorpions, dry and arid habitats typically come to mind. And nobody I know would use the term “dry and arid” to describe Ontario, so it seems unlikely there are any scorpions crawling around.

But surprisingly, there is a creature that lives in Ontario that is ALMOST a scorpion.

Let me introduce you to the Pseudoscorpion.

Have you ever seen a bug that looked like a tiny scorpion but didn’t have a tail?

Types of Pseudoscorpions that live in Ontario

If so, then you were probably looking at a Pseudoscorpion!

These tiny arachnids are not considered true scorpions, although they are closely related. They lack a tail with a venom-filled stinger and are incredibly small, like tinier than a grain of rice.

Even their name suggests they are not a true scorpion. “Pseudo” typically means something that is false or a sham.

But luckily, since there is no stinger, this arachnid is completely harmless to humans in Ontario!

Common Ontario Pseudoscorpions

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Tiny and normally reddish-brown, but can vary in color depending on the specific species.
  • A segmented body shaped like a teardrop.
  • Eight legs and large pincers when compared in proportion to their body.
  • Also known as False Scorpion or Book Scorpion.

The Pseudoscorpion is a harmless predator in Ontario that will help keep your home free of small unwanted creatures. Pseudoscorpions seem to have adapted quite well to living with humans because they are often found in the dark spots in your closet eating unwanted moth larva, ants, mites, booklice, and small flies.

Pseudoscorpions have venom in their pincers that they use to kill their prey. Luckily, they cannot harm a human, so there is no need to be afraid of this 1/8 inch-sized (3mm) species. Just look at how small they are!

pseudoscorpion on finger

This arachnid is sort of like a spider too because it can make silk! However, it doesn’t make a web to catch prey. Instead, they use the silk to create a cocoon to use as shelter from the cold winter.

Pseudoscorpions are widespread across Ontario!

Pseudoscorpion Range Map

pseudoscorpion range map

These scorpion look-a-likes are common, but they are small and often overlooked. Interestingly, some species are known to hitch a ride on a flying insect to move to a different location. Pretty clever for how tiny they are!

Pseudoscorpions use hairs on their pedipalps (front legs with pincers) to help them find prey because they have terrible vision. Check out this video of how they hunt!

YouTube video


There are dozens of individual Pseudoscorpion species in Ontario.

They are all unique and hunt their prey in different ways; many of them will aggressively stalk, but others hide and ambush their prey.

For example, if an insect brushes up against the hairs, it triggers them to attack. Their pincers have poison glands, so when they clamp down, the prey is instantly paralyzed. The scorpion injects saliva into the prey and feeds on the liquefied contents, similar to how a spider eats.

But luckily, the poison glands are not harmful to pets or humans.

Before you go, check out this informational video on the Pseudoscorpion!

YouTube video

Have you seen a Pseudoscorpion before in Ontario?

Leave a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Comment

  1. I just caught one on my bathroom and had only just learned about them last week from a random Facebook post! I remember seeing one as a kid and thought it was a tick and freaked out. This time, I’m going to take some pictures and release it back into my bathroom where I found it.