“It Only Stings When it Really Wants”

Did you know that scorpions perform some kind of dance when they mate? Well, to be precise, the male arthropod places his sperm somewhere safe on the ground and then guides the female over it by grasping her at her claws and then tugging her in the desired direction. Since they don’t go in a straight line during this process, it’s called a dance.

I’m happy to learn about this and many other details from the life of a scorpion while our guide Lek places a non-dancing but nonetheless very living blackish green specimen on my hand. I finally made it to Khao Yai National Park and we are having a bit of an educative trip through the jungle.

There is four different species of scorpions in Thailand, Lek elaborates. The big black one would really not be particularly poisonous. There is ants in the forest, says he, that will send you to hospital much more quickly. Am I glad to hear that!

And by the way the smaller black ones you’ll get to buy in a roasted version as evening snack on the night-markets would come from scorpion farms in Cambodia. No home-grown, local scorpion munch in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand. Pity that.

Being a good jungle-guide he knows how to perform all kinds of tricks with the little creature: We learn how to pick up a scorpion from the ground without getting in touch with the stinger at the end of his curved tail, we study how to destress it (while it is sitting on my hand!) and how to touch the tail gently without getting any of the venom.

After the mating ritual the male usually makes a runner. “Most likely to avoid being cannibalized by the female, although sexual cannibalism is infrequent with scorpions.” I looked that bit up in Wikipedia. Meanwhile the female is carrying the eggs inside of her tummy. The little ones are only born after hatching. So no scorpion eggs lying around anywhere.

Mama Scorpion then carries the whole load of scorplings (an average of eight) on her back, until they are old enough to give it a try on their own. If one falls off, Lek knows, Mama will not look back. Natural selection on the forest floor.

I take mental notes. You never know. Might need knowledge or inspiration at some point during my jungle excursions and upcoming tour-guiding gigs.

Learn more about the “predatory arachnid” here:


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