Yes, there are scorpions in Costa Rica. It’s a good practice to shake out your shoes before blindly sticking your tender toes into your sneakers. I know somebody who forgot to shake, shake, shake out her shorts that were crumpled in a heap on the floor. She stepped into them, zipped them up and the stinging began. The shorts were too tight for the poor scorpion to drop out. By the time she could unzip and wiggle out of the shorts, she had been stung six times. SIX! One is bad enough. Six put her in a bad state requiring immediate medical attention. Fortunately, she was within range of a clinic or the outcome might have been disastrous.
I am no expert. I have never been stung by a scorpion, knock on wood! Living in Atenas, I have been concerned with snakes, especially the infamous Fer De Lance, which translates to “iron of the lance”. These venomous vipers with triangular heads are aggressive, prevalent in moist conditions, hide out in the grasses during the day and start their nocturnal hunting at dusk. The good news is they eat rats. Now, if we could train them to eat robbers, then we’d have something to write home about.
So, the other day, I bent down to pick up a heap of towels that were left on the floor. Gasp! A scorpion scurried out. I jumped back in time, threw the towels back over him so he would stay put while I went to the kitchen for Baygon. Realizing we didn’t have any, I grabbed the spray bottle of Lysol for banos and a kitchen knife. I figured if I could get him wetted down enough I could stab him. The bathroom cleaner didn’t kill him. Stabbing him didn’t stop his pinchers from frantically waving in the air looking to make a stinging connection. It’s not exactly “slaying the jabberwocky” (Alice in Wonderland) but it’s better than letting him scurry off to a new hiding place where he could linger until his next striking opportunity. I didn’t take pleasure in chopping him into pieces, but his parts kept moving. Even after being completely severed, his stinger continued to undulate as though looking for something, anything into which to deposit his venom. I was beginning to think it was a mutation and new parts would be springing from his tail and he would grow to giant proportions and start chasing me around the house. The fer-de-lance would. Chase you down, that is.
Finally, movement ceased. I tossed my weapon down, scooped up my adversary with a pancake turner, put his parts back in what may or may not be the correct order, and took his picture. I tell you, a boomer-woman’s work is never done. At least I didn’t have to pull out the machete. I’ll save that for the snake.