Beware where you place your feet ...





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  1. #1
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    Default Beware where you place your feet ...

    Most people only worry about lions and other big predators, especially when contemplating to take young children camping in unfenced sites. We were camping in Polentswa 2 and met this little fellow ... now I have a lot of experience camping, and visiting wild areas around the world and barely bat an eyelid when once I had a tarantula on my foot in South America - but I have never seen anything like this scorpion. It was extremely aggressive. The first time I encountered it it was suddenly running straight towards me and I avoided the sting my milliseconds. It then kept chasing and lunging at me despite trying to stay out of its way. At some point I needed to get something from the car - flashed the torch everywhere and thought the coast was clear. Once I was not moving it again came at me from under the car tire. Even less milliseconds from contact with the sting.

    Anyway, just wanted to remind people to always be vigilant, especially those with little children - and those who have weak immune systems etc - if you get stung at night in a place like Polentswa by something like this there's not much that can be done! Wear closed shoes, preferably boots, and watch where you step and be aware even when stationary. I had only sneakers with me and I regret that decision! I don't want to scare any people - in all my travels this is the first time I met such a crazy creature. But sometimes you meet creatures that don't behave like the norm - I would guess most scorpions are usually shy and mind their own business

    I would be interested to hear anyone else's experience with aggressive scorpions, and what is the best course of action to take if stung at night in a remote location.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Scorpion Polentswa.jpg 
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    I'm no expert but I've always known the rule-of-thumb around the pincers and stinger. Smaller pincers with a larger stinger is typically highly venomous, and generally tend to more aggressive. That photo looks like a prime example.

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Scorpion rabies?? Your story sounds like something out of a movie! (not being sarcastic, you should have filmed it!) I've heard about spiders doing this at day, but they are only trying to hide in your shade, but it looks like they are after you...
    Last edited by MrTolbos; 2016/11/10 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cheetah80 View Post
    Wear closed shoes, preferably boots, and watch where you step and be aware even when stationary.
    I must say, on our last trip through Botswana and Namibia I was stunned at the number of people (mostly Germans) that let their kids (some as young as 2) walk around barefoot or with sandals. And this was not just during the day, also during night time.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by MrTolbos View Post
    I hope for some more stories like this, my wife never wears closed shoes, maybe this can change her mind
    Well, I'll tell you the thing that will make that mind change the quickest...one sting... just one, and not even from the one pictured above.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    @Papsak - this is exactly why I posted this. Small children might not have the sense, coordination and awareness to move away quickly enough in such a case - so it's imperative to keep their feet well protected. And of course they are the most vulnerable to bad effects of a sting, especially when medical help is hard to come by in time.

    I am also guilty of running around in sandals during the night sometimes, and without a light - but never again! Thankfully the nights were cold in the KTP and I wore the shoes for warmth

    I also never knew scorpions could behave like this - thought only bees and wasps could get this aggressive. I was more thinking about the usual precautions of not stepping on them by mistake, and always being careful when lifting logs or anything else left on the ground.

    Nature is always surprising! And deserves utmost respect.
    Last edited by cheetah80; 2016/09/27 at 12:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Bugger scorpions, I went out the the brewery a couple of months ago and nearly stood on one of these:



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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cheetah80 View Post
    Most people only worry about lions and other big predators, especially when contemplating to take young children camping in unfenced sites. We were camping in Polentswa 2 and met this little fellow ... now I have a lot of experience camping, and visiting wild areas around the world and barely bat an eyelid when once I had a tarantula on my foot in South America - but I have never seen anything like this scorpion. It was extremely aggressive. The first time I encountered it it was suddenly running straight towards me and I avoided the sting my milliseconds. It then kept chasing and lunging at me despite trying to stay out of its way. At some point I needed to get something from the car - flashed the torch everywhere and thought the coast was clear. Once I was not moving it again came at me from under the car tire. Even less milliseconds from contact with the sting.

    Anyway, just wanted to remind people to always be vigilant, especially those with little children - and those who have weak immune systems etc - if you get stung at night in a place like Polentswa by something like this there's not much that can be done! Wear closed shoes, preferably boots, and watch where you step and be aware even when stationary. I had only sneakers with me and I regret that decision! I don't want to scare any people - in all my travels this is the first time I met such a crazy creature. But sometimes you meet creatures that don't behave like the norm - I would guess most scorpions are usually shy and mind their own business

    I would be interested to hear anyone else's experience with aggressive scorpions, and what is the best course of action to take if stung at night in a remote location.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Scorpion Polentswa.jpg 
Views:	1155 
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ID:	419511
    If that is a Black Thick-tailed scorpion it could have caused you allot of problems.

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    I assume we all know that it's a Parabuthus vilossus, one of the most dangerous scorpions also capable of flicking their venom into your eyes. I don't know why this one was so aggressive, even though they are known to be quick to anger. I also believe in the 'let live' policy, but if this one continuously came at me or a loved one; sorry bro, *SQUIIIISH* under my ###trapper...
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens78 View Post
    I assume we all know that it's a Parabuthus vilossus, one of the most dangerous scorpions also capable of flicking their venom into your eyes. I don't know why this one was so aggressive, even though they are known to be quick to anger. I also believe in the 'let live' policy, but if this one continuously came at me or a loved one; sorry bro, *SQUIIIISH* under my ###trapper...

    Not perhaps a Parabuthus transvaalicus (Southern African Spitting Scorpion)

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    I don't think transvaalicus is found that far west? In know vilossus and granulatus are the typical ones to look out for in the Kalahari. Then again, isn't the legs of vilossus ​more red? Or is that more of a Namib colouration?
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Here by us I have found that the venomous ones are that aggressive.
    Even chasing me around the Landy in my driveway.
    The other ones makes a sound with their mouth parts and tend to avoid people.
    But the venomous ones I usually first identity by their aggressiveness.
    If it's not afraid of you you must be afraid of it.
    Last edited by jfh; 2016/09/27 at 01:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JJP View Post
    Not perhaps a Parabuthus transvaalicus (Southern African Spitting Scorpion)
    I'd like to hear Jonathan Leeming's take on this, but I would say this is the dark brown to blackish northern Cape colour variation of Parabuthus granulatus (wrong distribution area for Transvaalicus). Granulati are very aggressive and they actively hunt prey, including other scorpions. Leeming says it is the most venomous scorpion in southern Africa.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    I'd like to hear Jonathan Leeming's take on this, but I would say this is the dark brown to blackish northern Cape colour variation of Parabuthus granulatus (wrong distribution area for Transvaalicus). Granulati are very aggressive and they actively hunt prey, including other scorpions. Leeming says it is the most venomous scorpion in southern Africa.
    I got so interested that I had a quick chat with our Arachnology Department! It would seem to be a dark form (typical for the Kgalagadi) of Parabuthus granulatus or granulated thick-tailed scorpion. They don't flick their venom but are very aggressive and are indeed very dangerous.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Am I right in expecting that the sting would penetrate a "normal" closed shoe anyway?
    If so, what added protection is there in wearing closed shoes?
    Or do you need to go to heavy duty type boots or shoes?
    Just asking.
    We are off to CKGR in April next year if all goes to plan (first time there, believe it or not!) and would like to know the answer.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1949 View Post
    Am I right in expecting that the sting would penetrate a "normal" closed shoe anyway?
    If so, what added protection is there in wearing closed shoes?
    Or do you need to go to heavy duty type boots or shoes?
    Just asking.
    We are off to CKGR in April next year if all goes to plan (first time there, believe it or not!) and would like to know the answer.
    An ordinary high-cut hiking boot's padding should be thick enough to stop the sting before it can reach the skin, obviously the tougher the leather on the outside, the better.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Why take chances, we have also encountered the thick tailed variety in Mabua. We witnessed a German guy stand on one in Skukusa and he needed medical treatment by the Doc on site (my son caught this one in a bucket).

    3 years ago up Barberton mountain, we got tick bite fever. Swambo had two bites behind her bra strap and one on her knicker line. I had one between my toes (tackies).

    At the GTG at Iguana a tick latched onto my pants. Took a biltong knife to get it off.

    LIONS Pah not scared of Lions.

    It's these little things that take more thought for prevention. Good boots and smelly stuff, every trip.

    Tick bite fever sucks and I am sue a scorpion sting would not be pleasant.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1949 View Post
    Am I right in expecting that the sting would penetrate a "normal" closed shoe anyway?
    It would have a tough time getting through - normal running shoes are fine, although I prefer slightly higher cut hiking boots. And always empty out your shoes before putting them on in the morning, and make sure that you have thoroughly shaken out any clothing that has been on the ground.
    A UV scorpion torch is an essential part of our kit - when we were in the Naukluft, camping at Tsauchab River, our daughter did a routine scorpion check in our tent and found a scorpion on my pillow! That could have been nasty.
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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Do read this account of a scorpion bite in Kenya. The patient only survived because they were able to find a pilot who was willing to land on an unlit airstrip at night (presumably with vehicles lighting up the strip), and a doctor who was willing to fly with him. The Flying Doctor cannot do evacuations after dark. I always wear boots or closed shoes - not just because of snakes or scorpions, but because of malarial mosquitos.

    SCORPION STING.pdf

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    Default Re: Beware where you place your feet ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Do read this account of a scorpion bite in Kenya.

    SCORPION STING.pdf
    A scorpion bite is nothing; it's the sting you need to avoid! Anyway; like you said, high-cut boots in the bush are important for many reasons.
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