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Stowaway scorpion makes its way from Kenya to Ireland in woman’s bag

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An Irish woman who recently traveled to Kenya discovered an unpleasant surprise nearly two weeks after she returned home — a scorpion had made the journey of over 4,000 miles in her luggage. 

James Hennessey, from Ireland’s National Reptile Zoo, said in a radio appearance on Ireland’s RTÉ Radio One that the woman and her family called the zoo for help once they realized they had the venomous guest. 

“The person came back from Kenya two weeks ago, and they were in their bedroom and they’d done what we all do, they left their bag in the corner, unpacked the stuff and didn’t bother with the bag and decided to go have a look at the bag and move it, lifted it up and something moved on the floor underneath it, and there was this little tiny scorpion sitting there in the bedroom, in the, I think it was the shag pile type rug,” Hennessey explained. 

Hennessey said that the bag had been in the corner for 12 days before the stowaway was spotted. 

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The scorpion in its new home at the National Reptile Zoo of Ireland.

National Reptile Zoo


The family “freaked out at first,” Hennessey said, allowing the scorpion to “do a legger” and get away. It disappeared underneath a bed, Hennessey said. That’s when the family called him. 

“They called us then straight away, said we found a scorpion under the bag and now we don’t know where it is. I think they kind of pulled the house apart, they put on big heavy gloves, the whole family got involved, pulled the house apart and found it I think under the bed and managed to get it into a little Tupperware container,” Hennessey said. 

The zoo has identified the creature as a Fisher’s Fat Tailed Scorpion. Hennessey wrote on social media that the arachnid is now “safe and sound (and very secure!)” in the zoo’s venomous unit. 

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that such a find is “not unusual.”  

“It’s not common, but it’s not unusual,” Hennessey said. “It tends to be mostly geckos and we do get quite a few scorpions. Very occasionally some frogs and sometimes some snakes.” 

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