A tourist from England was shocked when he found a stowaway scorpion in his suitcase after returning from a trip to Africa.
The man, who had just traveled 5,000 miles home to Worcestershire, was unpacking his luggage when the venomous critter fell out.
He trapped the four-inch creepy crawly inside a jar and called the local branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), who collected it.
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Officers identified it as a Babycurus jacksoni, often known as a red bark scorpion, or rusty thick-tail scorpion.
They are classed under the U.K.’s Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976, and can inflict a non-fatal sting which feels like “an electric shock.”
“He was unpacking and this little chap popped out of his bag,” said RSPCA inspector Thea Kerrison. “Apparently to be stung by one would be like receiving a small electric shock but not fatal.”
Kerrison added that “it’s so important to thoroughly check and recheck luggage including clothes, shoes, towels and bags before leaving holiday destinations.”
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To keep this scorpion legally in the U.K., an owner would need a licence. It would also be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release them, or to allow them to escape into the wild.
The animal welfare charity is appealing to people returning from holidays abroad to make sure they check their belongings before they set off home so they don’t unexpectedly return with a stowaway.
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The scorpion is now in the care of an establishment that specializes in exotic animal species.