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Bites and Stings Basics

Basic information on critters found in Utah.

Call the Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 any time 24/7 for medical advice and recommendations.

Utah Poison Control Center Bites & Stings Brochure


black widow spider hanging from silk threads in front of green leaves

Species: Black Widow

Range: Throughout Utah. Often found in garages, sheds, woodpiles.

Toxicity: Ranges from mild pain at the bite site to severe whole-body pain, sweating, high blood pressure.

First Aid: No specific first aid required.

Treatment: Patients with severe pain should go to the ER. May receive strong medication for pain and spasms. An antivenom is sometimes used in severe cases.






Photo Credit: National Park Service

Species: Tarantula

Range: Desert areas of Utah

Toxicity: Painful bite that is no worse than any other spider bite. May flick irritating hairs.

First Aid: Remove irritating hairs.

Treatment: Irritating hairs in the eye should be removed in the ER.



Musides, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Species: Arizona Bark Scorpion

Range: Southwest Utah, Kane County

Toxicity: Ranges from a painful sting to abnormal muscle movements and life-threatening problems with breathing. Worse in children.

First Aid: No specific first aid required.

Treatment: Those with severe pain or abnormal muscle or facial movements should go to the ER. An antivenom (Anascorp®) is available.


Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion

Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion | National Park Service

Species: Other scorpion species

Range: Southwest Utah, Washington County

Toxicity: Painful sting

First Aid: No specific first aid required.

Treatment: Ice, Tylenol® (acetaminophen), Advil® (ibuprofen).


Western Diamondback Rattlesnake



Western Diamondback Rattlesnake © Steve Byland |

Species: Rattlesnakes (all Utah species)

Range: Throughout Utah, generally rocky foothill areas, can be found up to 9000 ft elevation.

Toxicity: Bite causes pain, swelling, and tissue damage. Abnormal bleeding may occur. Effects may be delayed 8-12 hours.

First Aid: Remove jewelry and tight fighting clothing. Do not apply a tourniquet. Do not try to “suck out” the venom.

Treatment: All patients should go to the ER. Antivenom is routinely available and given for bites with more than minor symptoms (CroFab®, Anavip®).


Gila Monster

Species: Gila Monster

Range: Southwest Utah

Toxicity: May hang on, chew, and be difficult to remove. Swelling may extend up the hand/arm.

First Aid: Attempt to remove the lizard, look for teeth broken off in the wound.

Treatment: No antivenom available. Patients with swelling, dizziness, or teeth stuck in the wound should go to the ER.


Author: Michael Moss, MD, Medical Director, Utah Poison Control Center