Scorpions and Friends

You may not realize how many caring friends you have until you have a problem!

We went shopping on Tuesday, and my “going out clothes” were hanging on a hook in the bedroom. When I put on my pants I felt a sharp burning sensation in my leg, so I ripped the pants off. I thought it was a wasp or ant or some biting insect, but I never though I’d see all the baby scorpions that fell out of my pant leg! Yes, I know the picture is bad but under the circumstances….

Image may contain: shoes and indoor

Those little devils were running everywhere! Where was mom??? We never saw an adult. Usually the mother carries the babies on her back, which I have seen, but maybe these were bigger and didn’t need mom any more? (here’s a mom we saw in the past)

It took me a moment to realize this was a mother scorpion covered with babies!

So anyway, pants off, leg burning like fire, 4 bites that I could see…. the Panamanian remedy is to squash the scorpion and rub the insides on the sting. If that’s not possible, I have dead squashed scorpions in alcohol, which is to be used to treat a sting. But, unfortunately, I didn’t even think of it until hours later. The leg burned all day and another effect of the neurotoxin, your lips and fingers get numb and tingly, very weird.

The shopping at least distracted me from my hurting leg and other effects. We got lucky at Pricesmart, a very short line that moved quickly, and not too much waiting to check out. They only let in one person per family though so I was on my own. When we left the line extended the length of the building and around the corner! We got lucky. Then, we went to Super Baru for a few more things. There was no line or one person only restriction, but the store was uncomfortably crowded and there were lines at the checkouts. Everyone wears masks and follows social distancing but it’s still uncomfortable to be in a store with too many people so you can’t help but get too close to some of them. But, we got the shopping done and shouldn’t have to go out for a few more weeks.

But, back to the point of this post… I shared the story and picture of the scorpions on Facebook, and got dozens and dozens of caring comments! People I hadn’t talked to in weeks or months came forward to wish me well. We all complain about social media and the negativity, with good reason, but it also connects us with friends and lets us know that there are people out there who care about us. That’s important for our mental and even physical health, and it just feels good to know you have good friends. I really appreciated everyone who took the time to respond to my post.

And, by evening I was all good again! The symptoms went away, and you can’t even see where the bites were. And, we haven’t seen any more scorpions, big or small, since that morning.

I know the drill…. shake out everything before you put it on! Don’t put your hands where you can’t see in case something is lurking. Be aware that we share the world with wildlife, which may not be friendly. My clothes were hanging on a hook in the open so I didn’t think to shake them out. I won’t make that mistake again.

But we really don’t have much dangerous wildlife here. You would think, living in the tropics, right next to a woods and a river, that we would have problems but we really don’t. There are few mosquitoes here, way less than anywhere I’ve been in the US. We have a bad snake, the fer-de-lance pit viper, and I’ve seen a few but they don’t want to see you any more than you want to see them. There are dozens of varieties of ants and bees, some of which will sting if you bother them, but if you leave them alone there is no problem. I’ve heard about and seen a few furry caterpillars which are said to be very bad if you touch them. In 8+ years though, this is the first serious problem I’ve had.

The banner photo is a typical scorpion for this area. We saw this one in the past living in the wood pile out back. Like everything, if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you. They don’t know that hanging out in your clothes is a bad idea for both of you!

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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14 Responses to Scorpions and Friends

  1. Judy says:

    Hi Chris,

    So glad they were babies or it could have been much worse! Good to hear you are doing well. We enjoy your news letters and find them very useful and informative.

    My husband and I are moving from Hawaii into a condo on the beach in Nueva Gorgona. Will we need to watch for scorpions and snakes there? We do not have either here but we do have centipedes whose bites are very painful. They come int homes at times but not condos.



    • Hi Judy! I would think you’d have less chance of wildlife in a condo, but it would be best to ask your neighbors there. Thanks, glad you enjoy the blog and best wishes in your next adventure here in Panama.


  2. Garlon says:

    Just Curious…..what would the Dr office or hospital do to treat a scorpion bite? Never heard of rubbing squished scorpion guts on a sting….very cool remedy! Glad to hear the effects only lasted a few hours.


    • I think all the doctors can do is treat symptoms, pain medicine, antihistamines, etc. Thankfully the scorpions here aren’t deadly, just painful. (deadly ones need antivenom. Thankfully those don’t live here)


  3. Wow so glad you’re okay! We have scorpions here too but I’ve never heard to rub the guts on it. I’m going to have to look into that. We’ve started vaccinations here and I received mine today. I’m curious if Panama will be able to obtain vaccinations. Right now only the elderly and medically compromised people can receive it. I work in healthcare and we’ve had it available for a few weeks already. Thanks for sharing!


    • That’s awesome that you got the vaccine! Yes, they are coming to Panama too, maybe even within the week but they are also going to healthcare and at risk people first, and then in phases through the rest of the population. It’s a terribly tough time, glad you are ok, and so happy to hear you are getting protection.
      I hadn’t heard about the guts treatment either, but these people have a lot of traditional remedies that are often quite useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow…im glad you didn’t suffer too much with the bite. I was bitten in Mexico yrs ago and had terrible flu like symptoms for 3 days…the pain ran up my arm like hot pokers stabbing me, i was stung on the hand when I used an electrical post as leverage in the dark so never saw it coming.
    We both will never make the same mistakes again!!


  5. catfriend99 says:

    Scorpions are my worst fear in moving to Panama. Not worried about the snakes. Like you say, snakes generally don’t want anything to do with you. In all the many times I have been in the wild, the only time I have personally seen a venomous snake was a coral snake in the jungle in Nicaragua, and it took off so fast I couldn’t even get a decent picture. But scorpions get inside your house and your things. Ick.


    • From what I understand, coral snakes don’t have mouths big enough to bite you unless it’s maybe a finger or toe. But yes, they will get out of your way if at all possible. These scorpions aren’t deadly, just painful. I’ve seen people on line say they have an exterminator treat the house or they get some kind of pesticide remedy to do it themselves and that seems to keep them out. That sounds like something good for you to consider. Or, get a pet chicken. ha! They love to eat scorpions.


  6. Thomas says:

    Oh Kris! You are a most awesome, gentle person to the rest of the world! There’s hope for humanity, as long as there are people like you! To have had to endure the shock, and pain, and stress – and still find kind words for these poor creatures is very admirable!

    I find, most people see themselves at the center of the universe, and humanity as the only reason for existence of this planet. Everything else can be destroyed, killed, abused – no problem. I do not share this attitude. And I am so happy to hear, that you, too, have a soft spot in your heart for other living (and not living) beings in this world! Thank you!!!

    I am glad you’re doing well again! And I hope you’ll never have such an accident again!

    I am thankful for the information about the scorpions that are local to Panama. Having grown up high up in a valley in the Alps, all I knew (thought to know) about scorpions is that they are deadly. Now I know better. And I am not so worried about them anymore – although, I am still very concerned and (hopefully!) careful not to have to repeat your experience!
    You know, it’s always better to learn from somebody else’s bloody nose, and not have to get your own nose hurt… 😝


    • Wow, my goodness, thanks. I’m not entirely gentle though, and every one of those scorpions that were in my clothes are now dead. There are deadly scorpions but thank goodness, they do not live here. It’s true though, I try not to disturb or kill anything in our environment. I figure they all serve their purpose.


  7. Thomas says:

    Darn! You just lost that nice, golden halo around your head! Now it’s a rusty brown one… 😝


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