Stingers, Quills, and Spikes

A stinger is a sharp organ that is often connected to a venom gland that delivers venom when piercing the skin of another animal. Stingers are usually located at the rear of the animal and are often used as defense. Many animals have stingers

  • Bees have stingers that are barbed, meaning that the stinger become stuck in the body of the stung animal. Bees will tear free from their stinger and die within minutes after stinging.
  • Wasps stingers are not barbed, which allows the wasp to sting over and over again.
  • Scorpions have a stinger called a telson at the end of their tail. The venom in a scorpion’s stringer can be used as defense, or to kill prey.
  • Stingrays have barbs that can break off into the wound once they have pierced the skin and can even require surgery to remove
  • Jellyfish have stingers in their tentacles

While all stings from stingers can be painful, the levels of venom in the stinger can have all sorts of effects from mild to deadly including

  • Redness or swelling
  • Mild pain
  • Extreme Pain
  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Muscle Convulsions

Some of the most deadly venom in the world comes from animals with stingers such as


Many animals have spikes or spines and use them for a variety of reasons. Some animals use their spikes as a defense, and some are just for show.

Bearded Dragons

  • Named for the beard of spikes on their throat. These lizards also have spikes along the sides of their bodies
  • These spikes are not sharp and are made out of keratin (the same thing our finger nails are made out of)
  • When threatened, the bearded dragon puffs up, to make his spikes look sharp and scary

Sea Urchins

  • A marine animal that lives in the ocean
  • Have an endoskeleton that’s covered in spines
  • Spines act as protection from predators
  • Can inflict a painful wound when the spines piece the skin of a predator


  • Are covered in spines except for their face and stomach
  • Spines are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin
  • When threatened, the hedgehog can roll into a ball
  • Much like how humans lose their baby teeth, juvenile hedgehogs actually lose their baby spines!


  • Are in the rodent family and are not related to hedgehogs or echidnas
  • Are covered in quills that are barbed, making them harder to remove
  • Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not shoot their quills, but will run into a potential predator.

Keep Exploring Defenders!