Sunday, October 16, 2011

Scorpion Surprise

While cleaning out the cabinets at our camp my wife came across something- a live striped bark scorpion. There it sat in the corner of a baking pan revealing the double row of stripes that run down the center of its back that contribute to its name. It was small, measuring only 1 3/4 inches with its tail extended. When discovered it crawled wildly across the pan with pinchers agape while brandishing its stinger-tipped tail upwards in a threatening manner. Most folks think of scorpions as insects, but actually they’re related to spiders- the family Arachnida. Count the legs- they have eight, insects have six. I think of all the times I got up in the middle of the night, when scorpions are active, and walked barefooted into the kitchen for a drink. Its sting is said to be extremely painful, but fatalities are rare, mostly being due to anaphylactic shock than from the venom itself. Even though it is the most frequently encountered scorpion in the U.S., question is… did it get inside? And better yet, where is the hole at which it entered, and even more importantly, as my wife stated, is it the only one? If it is a female had she given birth while inside the house? They can have as many as 50 in a brood. Eek! They’re known to crawl into clothing that has been laid on the floor only to sting the wearer when those clothes were put back on. They’re also known to crawl into shoes. After reading all of this I’m sure in the future I’ll be keeping my clothes off of the floor and checking my shoes before putting them on.

I took it out and placed it into a jar until I could get to it for photos. Later I checked on it and found that it had died. Rather than let such a beautiful creature go to waste, and to be able to show it to my grand-daughter, I placed it into a small vial of alcohol.


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