A 10-year-old collector of acrylic encased scorpions got a near-deadly surprise when he opened the package. Instead of a preserved scorpion, his "specimen" was still alive.
A 10-year-old German boy who collects preserved scorpions received a deadly poisonous live specimen in the mail, a reptile reception center near Munich reported on Wednesday.
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The scorpion, from the species Androctonus australis, "is one of the most venomous of all species," the center said.
The boy wanted to expand his collection of scorpions preserved in acrylic and asked for his mother's help in ordering it from the internet. However, he accidentally bought from a provider of live creatures and his mother unsuspectingly bought the scorpion.
When unpacking the delivery the boy and his mother reportedly realized the scorpion was alive.
"If they had opened the box, there was a real risk that the child or the mother would have been stung. And, left untreated, that could even have led to death," the center said, noting that the species is one of the most aggressive of the scorpion order.
The mother reportedly contacted the scorpion provider, who told her to drown the deadly creature in alcohol to kill it. Not wanting to take the risk, she ended up calling the reptile center.
This species of scorpion is endemic to North Africa and parts of Asia, where several people die from stings every year.
The center said it will hold the scorpion for a period of time.
Keeping such a venomous creature at home is illegal in Germany.