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UK: Scorpion found in store bananas

A venomous scorpion has been found in the fruit and veg aisle of a Scottish supermarket. The two-and-a-half inch long creature is believed to have travelled from South America in a box of bananas. It was spotted by staff at the Morrisons supermarket in Fort William, where it had apparently been hiding for two days.

Experts said anyone stung would have faced "hours of agony". The store is investigating the incident. After the scorpion emerged from the fruit display on Monday, staff managed to sweep the creature into a plastic lunch box before calling in the Scottish SPCA. It is believed the scorpion arrived in a box of bananas delivered from Colombia on Saturday.

The supermarket immediately removed all of its bananas as a precaution. Scottish SPCA Highland inspector Dawna Connolly said she knew the scorpion was dangerous as soon as she saw it. She added: "I'm told that if they have small pincers and a large tail they can be very venomous and this one fitted that description exactly.
"I've been called out to rescue lizards and spiders before, but never a poisonous scorpion in a supermarket."

'Isolated incident'
The scorpion is now being fed a daily diet of juvenile crickets in the care of Inverness-based reptile specialist Nick Martin. Mr Martin, of Creatures Great and Small at Inverness Botanical Gardens, said he believed the scorpion was of the lesser thick-tailed variety found in Colombia. He added: "It is very worrying that this scorpion was found among supermarket bananas. "If it had stung anyone it would have caused extreme pain for up to six hours, but it is unlikely anyone would have been killed. "But it is amazing that this scorpion has survived. It will live its life out with me now."

A spokesman for Morrisons said: "Our banana supplier undertakes a thorough inspection process to ensure that the fruit reaches the customers in optimum condition. "We would like to reassure our customers that this is an isolated incident."


Publication date: 1/25/2008


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