Sep
14

Monster in the Bathroom

Constellation

Scorpius Constellation

A couple of nights ago Sandra was taking a shower and was stung by a scorpion.  As serious as this is, the way in which it played out was quite humorous.  She was almost finished and all of a sudden felt a strong stinging sensation in the ball of her foot.  Having had some foot problems in the past she thought that she had just put her foot down the wrong way and revived an old injury.  She turned the water off and calmly reached down, picked up a squeegee we keep in the shower, and calmly used it to remove the water droplets from the glass door.

This situation came to my attention when Sandra kept talking about how bad her foot was stinging and burning.  She very rarely complains about things like this.  I asked Sandra if she might have been stung by something and she said “No, I think I injured my foot”. I went into the shower and looked and saw nothing.  I looked closer at the drain and there it was.  Aligned with the drain so that it was barely detectable there was the stunned scorpion which was about 2-1/2″ long.  It looked like it had been squashed but it was still moving its tail in a menacing way.  We immediately went to the kitchen and made a mixture of baking soda and water and put it on the affected area.  Sandra said she immediately felt some relief.  She also used ice which seemed to help with the burning sensation.  I went back into the bathroom and killed the scorpion and got rid of the body after examining the stinger.

Throughout the whole episode, although it must have hurt very badly, Sandra was calm.  The funny thing is that if she had seen the scorpion while she was still in the shower, for instance when she was reaching down to pick up the squeegee, there is no telling what would have happened.  She might have gone right through the glass door, or slipped and fell.  If it would have been me, I know I would have hurt myself trying to get out of that enclosure containing the beast!

Scorpion

Typical scorpion found in Texas.

Scorpions are native to this area and we have found at least ten of them in the house in the four years we have lived here.  These are not the run-of-the-mill insects or bugs that you find in the house from time to time.  When you find one of these critters, it gets your attention.  It makes the adrenaline flow and the heart race.  The way they aggressively arch their tail up over their body ready to attack by injecting their venom invokes a primal fear even in those of us who are not scared of bugs.  After finding one, you become instantly disciplined in always wearing shoes or slippers.  You start a new ritual of shaking out your shoes and clothes before putting them on.  You keep a close eye on the floor, especially in the bathroom area and shower where you are likely to be barefoot.

 After this episode, Aaron suggested that we get a black light and do a search at night to expose any of these creatures that may still be lurking in the house (they supposedly glow when exposed to ultraviolet light).  Normally, after finding one, we would be vigilant for a month or two and then slowly forget about it.  Now that Sandra has been stung, I think we will stay aware and to keep a watchful eye out for these monsters for a much longer time.

 Interesting Facts About Scorpions

 Is a scorpion a spider or an insect?

Scorpions are Arachnids which is the same class of invertebrate animals to which spiders and ticks belong.

 How many types of scorpions are there in Texas and in the US?

There are approximately 20 types of scorpions that are native to Texas.  This website gives a list of the types of scorpion species found in each state. Scorpions in the United States

 How dangerous is a scorpion sting?

Stings from scorpions found in the United States are painful but generally not life threatening.  The sting from most species in the United States can be compared to a bee sting.  The Arizona Bark Scorpion is the most poisonous of any found in the US and it is rarely lethal except to possibly young infants, those who are very ill, or frail older people.  In the United States only 4 deaths in 11 years can be attributed to scorpions.  Scorpions in Mexico, on the other hand, are responsible for 1000 to 2000 deaths a year.  

Do scorpions really glow when put under an ultraviolet light?

 

Scorpion glowing under ultraviolet light. Photo is courtesyFurryScaly on Flickr

Yes.  According to Wikipedia, scorpions are known to glow when exposed to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light such as that produced by a black light. This is due to the presence of fluorescent chemicals in the exoskeleton. One fluorescent component is now known to be beta-CarbolineA hand-held UV lamp has long been a standard tool for nocturnal field surveys of scorpions.

 Scorpions – History

Scorpions have occupied the imagination of mankind ever since our predecessors started looking to the night sky with wonder and imagination. Scorpius was one of the constellations introduced by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Scorpius represents the scorpion that stung Orion in Greek mythology. It is said that Orion flees under the horizon whenever Scorpius rises in the sky. According to this legend, the two constellations are opposite each other in the sky such that Orion is as far away from Scorpius as possible. http://www.topastronomer.com/StarCharts/Constellations/Scorpius.php

 Scorpions – Art/Literature

Scorpions have evoked fear in people throughout history.  Not only do they have a nasty venomous sting.  They have four pairs of legs, two large claws and a tail ending with a pair of small stingers that connect to a gland in which the venom is stored, giving them appearance of a monster. The Monsters of Mythology blog page shows a great example which is a relief engraving of the scorpion man referred to in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This is a Mesopotamian legend and one of the earliest works of literature.

 Scorpions in Popular Art

Scorpion Tatoo

Scorpion shaped tattoo. Picture is courtesy of “echelonAng3L” from Flickr.

Scorpions still occupy a significant place in todays art, literature and media.  There is a rock band called the Scorpions.  Scorpions are the subject of many tattoos and other types of pop art. Giant scorpions show up as monsters in science fiction and fantasy movies and books. The Scorpion King movie (2002) was a spinoff from The Mummy series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Other Links of Interest

 http://www.earthlife.net/chelicerata/scorpionidae.html – A good web page that documents what we know scientifically about scorpions.

http://scorpio-sign.blogspot.com/- The Scorpio Sign blog. This is a very good blog about the Scorpio sign, the appearances of Scorpio in art, in archaeology, and in fact in any interesting place. It shows a lot of artwork dealing with scorpions.

http://www.khandro.net/animal_scorpion.htm#Nubchen – This is a good link that discusses the scorpion’s role in various cultures throughout history:

http://www.howtogetridofit.com/how-to-get-rid-of-scorpions/ – A handy guide on how to get rid of scorpions in and around your home.

http://www.arizonensis.org/scorpion_myths.html – Debunking myths about scorpions.

http://blogpestcontrol.com/2010/07/scorpion-myths/ – Another site which debunks common myths about scorpions.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416133816.htm – Article about how scorpion venom is being studied in the fight against brain cancer.

Comments

  1. cindy says:

    Great info! I think i will have black lights in all my fixyures lol.:) Love the blog:)

    • Danny Ringo says:

      It is very interesting that these things glow under a black light! Had this been common knowledge back in the seventies, more people might have had scorpions for pets as part of the decor of the day. Thanks for the feedback Cindy. I appreciate it!

  2. Isidro Fickert says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

    • Danny Ringo says:

      Thanks so much Isidro! I really appreciate the feedback. I am currently working on an article on the use of Chladni patterns in making hand crafted classical guitars. I should have it posted in the next day or to.
      Danny

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