A woman who was unpacking returning home from holiday was horrified when a SCORPION jumped from her suircase.
Student Megan Royle had visited South Africa for her mum's wedding on Sunday, March 24
While pulling clothes from her case after arriving home in Gillingham, Kent, the creature hopped onto the bed and scuttled away.
Megan said: "I was rushing to unpack as I was going out to meet friends.
"Then this tiny scorpion hopped out of the suitcase and scuttled across the bed.
“I didn’t clock straight away what it was. I thought to myself: ‘That can’t be a scorpion!’”
Megan had no idea what to do so she rang her mum, still in South Africa, for advice.
“Mum told me not to worry, it’s only the little ones that are dangerous,” she said. “And this one was tiny! So then I was freaking out even more!”
She also called her friends for help and they contacted the RSPCA. Animal collection officer (ACO) Brian Milligan went to collect the scorpion.
He said: “The scorpion was small and sandy-coloured. It seemed to be well so I took it straight to our specialist exotics centre in Brighton.”
Experts at Brighton Reptile Rescue believe the scorpion is an olive thick tail, native to South Africa.
The tiny creature – which is the size of a fingernail – can only be kept in the UK with a Dangerous Wild Animal license as they are highly venomous and can be potentially dangerous.
Megan was surprised the creature had survived the 11-hour, 9,00km journey from South Africa.
“I was just shocked that this little scorpion had made it all of that way,” she added. “I guess I thought airport security would have picked up on it!”
While the RSPCA is called to collect dozens of stowaways every year, Brighton Reptile Rescue said they’d never seen this species of scorpion before.
ACO Milligan added: “This is actually much more common than people realise and we’re often being asked for help with lizards, snakes, frogs, spiders and even scorpions who have stowed away in unsuspecting holidaymakers’ suitcases or in shipments of fruit.
“As we approach the Easter and summer holidays, we’d urge families to shake out clothes and check suitcases before and during packing to ensure they don’t bring home a surprise souvenir with them!"
The scorpion is being cared for by experts at Brighton Reptile Rescue and will then be moved to a permanent, specialist home elsewhere.
The RSPCA would always advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately and not to try to handle an accidentally imported animal that has been discovered.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.
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