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News Archive > General > Scorpion found in shop bananas

Scorpion found in shop bananas

By Natasha Swift 30th April 2014

Scorpion found in shop bananas

A SHOCKED shopworker in St Stephen got more than she bargained for while stocking up the fruit shelves after discovering a scorpion hidden in a bunch of bananas.
Angela Parren was unpacking a box of bananas at Phoenix Stores on Easter Monday when she noticed something moving in one of the packs and immediately called for help.
Quickly taking the bag outside, Angela decided to take a closer look at the creature lurking amongst the fruit, only to find to her horror a live scorpion wriggling around inside.
Store owner Les Howell has run the shop on Fore Street for nearly 30 years and said she had never come across anything like this in all her time as a shopkeeper.
She told the Voice: “Angela saw something moving in the bag and panicked. She called us and we put the bag outside. Then we saw what it was. It was quite a big scorpion —  about two or three inches.
“We didn't know what to do with it, so we phoned our wholesaler for advice. They suggested we phone the police who suggested the RSPCA who then suggested DEFRA — who were closed for the Bank Holiday.
“We finally phoned Newquay Zoo who said we had two choices —  either put it in the freezer to kill it or take it to the zoo.
“It didn't seem right to kill it so we took it out to the zoo after putting the whole bag of bananas inside a secure plastic box.”
It is thought the three-inch arthropod hitched a lift from Costa Rica, where the bananas are originally from.
Les said: “The zoo told us that it was a juvenile black-edged scorpion — centruroides limbatus — which is native to Costa Rica where the bananas came from. Although a sting from its tail won't kill humans, it will still pack a punch.”
The black-edged scorpion is a relatively large scorpion and can grow up to 110mm in length.
Although they are not considered dangerous to humans, they are venomous and there is at least one report of a woman being taken to the hospital in America after being stung by a scorpion identified as a member of this species.
Les added: “I have run the shop for 26 years and never had anything like this at all.  Angela will be checking the bananas very gingerly in future. It was quite exciting really.”
John Meek, animal collection manager at Newquay Zoo, told the Voice the scorpion had died shortly after arriving at its new home.
He said: “Unfortunately, it didn’t make it. They don’t usually tend to survive as they have been hot and cold and hot and cold in transit.
“A scorpion is very rare. We usually have spiders, lizards and even frogs brought into us. That’s quite common — but not scorpions.
“Often people will bring things in and say it’s definitely come in with the bananas, but it turns out to be an English spider that’s just crept in there.”

By Natasha Swift 30th April 2014

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