The scorpion is a pretty popular tattoo design among both men and women, but often for vastly different reasons. In some corners of the world, the scorpion is seen as a threat and a sign of death and danger, a stigma it has earned because of its killer instincts and its body built for predation.
It is an extremely territorial and aggressive animal when threatened. It uses its sharp, strong pincers to subdue its prey, then strikes with its venomous tail stinger to paralyze and finish it off. Because of this, men who identify themselves as dangerous or powerful often get scorpion tattoos.
Women are also fans of the scorpion for its fierce and protective nature. In Western Astrology, those born under the zodiac sign of Scorpio have intense personalities and a commanding presence. They are often stubborn and dominant, which reflects the scorpion’s behavior in the wild as well.
In this article, you’ll see 45 amazing scorpion tattoos that you can get for your next tattoo session. We’ll also talk about what the scorpion symbolizes, how it is portrayed in different cultures, and how you can choose a design that best reflects your personality and style.
Because of their extraordinary nature, strange, alien-like anatomy, and unique behavior, scorpions have been the subject of both the human race’s admiration and dissent since ancient times.
A minimalist black scorpion tattoo drawn on the back of the upper arm in traditional style, by Adin. (@aoadin on Instagram).
Their contributions to ancient medicinal practices has solidified their place as protectors, but their capabilities as predators and threats to life have earned them our fear and distrust.
A minimalist outline scorpion tattoo on the butt cheek, by ALEKSANDRA. (@aleksandra_tts on Instagram).
Today, they are known to symbolize many things both good and bad. In some corners of the world, they are murderers and monsters, but in others, they are protectors.
A creative black scorpion tattoo with yellow and red markings drawn in traditional style, by Ionno Trad Tattooing. (@ionno_tattooing on Instagram).
The symbolisms associated with this creature have made it an extremely popular motif not just for tattoos, but also in ornamental and decorative items such as pottery or even things like armor or weaponry.
A scorpion tattoo with its stinger held up next to a butterfly tattoo on the thigh, by Oda Romero. (@odaromero_tattoo on Instagram).
Here are the strongest symbolisms associated with the scorpion.
In nature, the scorpion is a fierce but silent predator. Using its sharp pincers, strong as vice grips, it can quickly capture and crush its prey. After apprehending its prey, it then strikes with its venomous tail in order to paralyze its victim, going in for an easy kill and a well-deserved supper.
A detailed scorpion stencil created with a deboss effect, by Anh Thợ Xăm. (@1992xamer on Instagram).
In some cases, the scorpion won’t even have to inject any venom into its prey. It’s strong enough to kill its prey while reserving its venom for the next meal.
A tribal style blackwork scorpion tattoo on the upper arm, by QuinnTattooz. (@quinntattooz on Instagram).
Shaped like a curled fist, the partially coiled scorpion is the mark of a fighter. It symbolizes someone’s strength and resilience in the face of adversity.
A beautiful scorpion tattoo surrounded wth flowers and bees drawn on the upper arm in traditional style, by renca tattoo. (@tattoo.renca on Instagram).
If you’re someone who practices combat sports like Muay Thai or MMA, it’s a great tattoo that shows your strength and will to never back down. In the wild, scorpions can take on even foes twice as large as them, refusing to back down and instead using their intimidating nature to fight back their opponent.
An orange scorpion with its stinger up crawls on a cactus in traditional tattoo style, by Enzo Bello. (@bellotheinfluence on Instagram).
It’s even portrayed beautifully in martial arts. In Kung Fu, the scorpion style is one of the most hypnotizing animal forms there are. It’s a demonstration of control, speed, and power, which is unique in itself.
An angry black scorpion with orange and red markings, by Adrian Evans LTD. (@adrianevans528 on Instagram).
Because of its courage and resilience, it’s also a meaningful symbol for people who have been through hell and back, those who have fought for their lives, like army veterans or cancer survivors.
A black scorpion tattoo with a red stinger on the shoulder in traditional style, by Gage Desk. (@blacklanterntattoostudio on Instagram).
Its raw courage and strength make it a perfect symbol for people who are strong and resilient.
A black and grey scorpion tattoo with tribal influences, by DANIELRC. (@danielrc.tattoo on Instagram).
In various cultures all over the world, a scorpion tattoo is a sign of danger. There is a pretty high correlation between these types of tattoos and people involved with acts of criminality, so it’s usually a good idea to think about your design and the message it expresses before finally going with this type of tattoo.
A black scorpion with red markings surrounded by various predacious animal tattoos, by tonycaiafa. (@tonycaiafa_7 on Instagram).
In places like Cuba or Mexico, members of the cartel often get scorpion tattoos in order to show how dangerous they are.
A simple traditional scorpion thigh tattoo, by Ina Aaltonen. (@tattoosbyina on Instagram).
In prison, scorpion tattoos are used as a sign to mark someone’s power. Often, high-ranking convicts are seen sporting this tattoo. It’s usually a symbol of someone’s connection to the cartel, so anyone that sees it knows well that the person is to be respected.
A black and gold scorpion tattoo with an eye on its cephalothorax, by Mikal Buanes Ryland. (@mikalbuanes on Instagram).
If a gang member wears a scorpion tattoo, they’re probably an enforcer or a killer. The number of metasomal segments their tail has directly corresponds to the number of people that person has killed, so seeing a scorpion tattoo on someone in that area is enough to let locals know that they mean business and are not to be messed with.
A detailed black and grey scorpion tattoo with its stinger held back, by Francesco Orlandi. (@frens_inks on Instagram).
Even in pop culture, the scorpion is portrayed as a powerful creature. In The Scorpion King, the villain is an ancient evil scorpion bent on decimating the Earth.
A simple scorpion tattoo alongside a tattoo of the Scorpius constellation, by Black Ink Tattoo. (@black_ink_tattoo_venaria on Instagram).
Surprisingly, despite their intimidating appearance and killer instincts, scorpions are good mothers. From the time their offspring hatch, they keep the hatchlings on their backs until their first molting cycle, carrying them until they are ready to face the world and protecting them from danger.
A small scorpion tattoo with a rose for a tail, by Divianna Vargas. (@divianna_vargas on Instagram).
Even in Egyptian mythology, scorpions are seen as protectors. In fact, the Egyptian goddess Isis had seven giant scorpion deities at her command which guarded her in her travels. Another Egyptian goddess associated with the scorpion is Serket who was the goddess of healing, magic, and protection.
A vintage style scorpion tattoo, by Casey Anderson. (@caseyanderson_pfc on Instagram).
Traditionally, scorpion tattoos were also used like talismans, meant to guard the person wearing the tattoo from evil spirits and the stings of scorpions. Having a scorpion tattoo would bring the wearer good luck and protection.
A black scorpion with yellow fangs piercing a heart with its stinger crawls out of a skull, by Andrew Shelton. (@andrewksheltontx on Instagram).
It’s certainly fascinating how varied the meanings associated with the scorpion are. On one side of the spectrum, the scorpion is viewed as a protector, while on the other, it is a dangerous monster representing danger and criminality.
Geometric scorpion tattoo in watercolor style, by Valérie. (@v_inkz on Instagram).
In this section, I’ll talk about the some interesting portrayals and the significance that the scorpion has within different cultures.
A very minimalist scorpion tattoo using only 4 brush strokes, by Hamna Tariq. (@bintetariq5 on Instagram).
South American Gang Culture
In Mexico, the mere sight of a scorpion tattoo strikes fear into the hearts of locals. Seeing a scorpion tattoo in Mexico is a well-known sign that someone is an enforcer or a mercenary. And the number of segments the scorpion’s tail has indicates the number of people that person has killed.
A realistic scorpion tattoo with red eyes and its stinger held back, by Tatuointistudio Luova. (@tatuointistudioluova on Instagram).
It’s a design that people often get in order to show others that they’re a threat and establish their dominance and experience. That’s why people are so intimidated by anyone with a tattoo like this.
A vintage black scorpion tattoo with pink markings and a flame and crescent moon on either ends, by Rachael Ellzey Black. (@ellzeyart on Instagram).
Even in Russian culture, people also associate scorpion tattoos with danger and criminality. It’s often a sign that someone has spent a significant amount of time behind bars.
A black and grey waist tattoo of a scorpion’s tail, by SailorDave. (@sailordavetattoos on Instagram).
It is also linked to substance abuse. If the stinger on a person’s scorpion tattoo is raised, it could mean that person is still wearing, while a lowered stinger would mean the person had sobered up.
A minimalist scorpion ankle tattoo, by Viktorija Ja. (@victoriajaa on Instagram).
But it isn’t always related to criminality. Members of the Special Forces get tattoos of scorpions with pincers wide open. It’s a sign of experience, indicating that they’ve seen combat in the field of war.
A purple scorpion tattoo on the shin a watercolor painted rainbow, by Jenny B’s Paderborn. (@jennybs_tattoo_paderborn on Instagram).
It can mean a number of things depending on who’s wearing it and how the scorpion is depicted, but it’s a design that isn’t taken loosely in Russian culture.
An emperor scorpion hugs a rose with its tail, by Top Hat Art Collective. (@thac_tattoosandpiercings on Instagram).
Western Astrology (Zodiac)
The scorpion is also associated with Scorpio, a zodiac sign. The scorpion is the eighth sign of the Western zodiac. Those who are born from October 23 through November 21 are Scorpios. The Scorpio represents struggle and resistance. It also represents victory in life as well.
A creative scorpion tattoo with geometric elements, by Tallinn Tattoo Studio. (@madmetattoo on Instagram).
On the brighter side of things, the scorpion isn’t only meant to be a sign of danger and criminality. In Western astrology, the scorpion represents Scorpio, the eighth sign of the Western zodiac.
A black scorpion holds a heart in its claws, by Diego Nerv. (@xnervx on Instagram).
People under the sign of Scorpio are born from the 22nd of October through the 21st of November and are linked to various personality traits that conveniently tie in to the behavior of a typical scorpion.
A scorpion tattoo with roses on its claws in red ink, by Randy Alika Jaramillo. (@randyswift on Instagram).
People under the sign of Scorpio are believed by some to be courageous, passionate, territorial, and somewhat violent—traits which are also seen in scorpions.
A detailed metallic scorpion tattoo, by Seven Doors Tattoo. (@sevendoorstattoo on Instagram).
In Mayan culture, scorpion venom was used for its medicinal properties. They believed the scorpion to be a mystery keeper of supernatural powers which connected the physical and spiritual planes.
A black and grey piece of a manticore-like creature with scorpion claws, legs, and tail, by Stephanie Streeter. (@streetertattoo on Instagram).
And even though it seems counterintuitive to use venom for healing purposes, modern scientists have actually proven that scorpion venom contains amino acids that can heal bacterial infections in mice.
An emperor scorpion drips blood into the center of a rose, by Tattoo Tatuaggi Trucco Brescia. (@respecttattooarts on Instagram).
It’s also featured in Mayan astronomy. Both the Aztecs and the Lowland Mayans are known to have had scorpion constellations. Some people think these scorpion constellations are synonymous with the zodiac’s Scorpio, but this has yet to be proven.
A black and grey scorpion with an eye on its cephalothorax, by Marwin M. (@mxm.ink on Instagram).
Its constellation was depicted as a scorpion stinging a symbol of an eclipse, so it seems the Mayans viewed the celestial scorpion as one that caused eclipses.
Black and grey scorpion is surrounded by lotus flowers, by Patrick Nastarowicz. (@pnttattoo on Instagram).
Getting Your Scorpion Tattoo
When you’re choosing a design for your scorpion tattoo, make sure it reflects your identity and how you feel. Are you calm and calculated or stubborn and intense? Are you edgy or down-to-earth? Are you dangerous or protective?
A black scorpion pierces the skin of its owner with its claws, by Tattoo Berlin. (@2020_tattoo_berlin on Instagram).
Other than the general feel of your design, the species of the scorpion also plays a role in reflecting your personality and individual characteristics.
A pink scorpion with wings on the outer forearm, by Ksenia. (@zumzumdraws on Instagram).
If you’re a risk-taker and enjoy the more dangerous things in life, perhaps you’ll like the Bark Scorpion. It’s the deadliest, most venomous scorpion in North America. Survivors have described the sensation of its sting as “severe electric jolts”, with a survival rate as low as 1% if left untreated.
A scorpion with a massive eye on its abdomen drips blood from its stinger, by Andy Estevez. (@demakrada_tattoo on Instagram).
If you admire the scorpion more for its protective, territorial nature, you might like the Javanese Jungle Scorpion. It’s an aggressive and very territorial scorpion species native to Indonesia. Its venom is milder than most others, but its claws are powerful, hard, and heavy, like two obsidian shields which it lugs around as it scurries on the jungle floor.
A scorpion tattoo with a skull for a head drawn in traditional style, by Nate Burrow. (@nate.burrow.tattoo on Instagram).
If you are undecided about the placement of your tattoo, the most popular places to get a scorpion tattoo are the arm, forearm, and back. If you identify as someone who’s dangerous, you can place it on your neck for an intimidating effect. Just make sure you can cover it up when you need to.
A blackwork style scorpion with tribal elements, by Rose & Dagger Tattoo Parlour. (@rose_n_dagger on Instagram).
Consider these things as you plan your design. If you need some more help, consult your artist as they will likely have some valuable artistic insight.
A skull replaces this scorpion’s tail, by Paulina De Ávila. (@paudeavilatattoo on Instagram).
Geometric style scorpion with dotwork shading, by Ruth Bautista. (@ruthbautistatattoos on Instagram).
Intimidating black and grey scorpion calf tattoo, by matteo masetti. (@_black_moon_tattoo on Instagram).
The blackness of this scorpion is contrasted by rainbow colored watercolor elements, by Ashleigh Green. (@ashes_to_lashes on Instagram).
Black and grey geometric shoulder tattoo, by irish. (@grinderchris_tattoos on Instagram).
Did you enjoy those scorpion tattoo designs or are you looking for more inspiration? Check out the following links to see more designs from talented artists.