scorpion
Photo: London Scientific Films/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images
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Scorpion

How it kills: These guys aren't just desert dwellers—they're scattered throughout the southern half of the country, mainly west of the Mississippi River. If their territory is disrupted, they'll make themselves right at home in a folded pile of fresh laundry or, worse, inside your shoes or between your sheets. Scream at the top of your lungs, and these expert danger-sensing predators will sting, causing intense pain, tenderness, and tingling at the wound site. Though few species are dangerously toxic to humans, small children are particularly susceptible to the scorpion's venom, and untreated stings can lead to death by heart or respiratory failure.

How to get it before it gets you: Scorpions glow under a black-light bulb, but if you don't have one handy to find them, reduce infestation with these suggestions: Only bring firewood inside the house when you're ready to burn it, and keep grass mowed and branches cut back from your roofline. Also, install weatherstripping and sturdy screens around any loose-fitting windows or doors, plug foundation cracks, and caulk around pipes and roof eaves.
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