Something’s crawling up my arm! Scorpions in Panama!

I’m very happy that I didn’t have to be taken to the hospital last night. I have a little story to tell you…….

It was dark, very dark, before our neighbor, Ama, returned to her home across the street from our house. Kris and I were waiting to give her three boxes of clothing, books and other items that had been on our porch for a month or more.  I had washed some blankets that were musty smelling and had rummaged around in the boxes during the daylight hours and had seen nothing unusual. We just wanted to get the boxes to Ama and out of the weather.

“Hello, Kris?” Ama called out. Kris got up and greeted her. We proceeded to get the boxes, Ama taking the first one, Kris the next, leaving the one the bottom for me. It was heavy and Kris offered to take it to spare my back, I said thanks, but that I was ok with it.

Lucky for her I didn’t take her up on switching boxes!

In less than a minute we were at Ama’s  gate. Ama’s son unlocked it and soon we were putting down the boxes on her porch. Ama in front of me and was first to put her box down on the porch. Kris was directly behind me waiting when I felt something on my left wrist, something big, crawling up the outside of my arm.

“SOMETHING IS CRAWLING ON MY ARM, A BIG BUG!’, I shouted out without looking to see what it was.  It was very dark outside Ama’s porch but in the dim light coming through the dining room window I saw a shape I was not prepared to see, the distinct image of a scorpion, slowly crawling up my forearm. Somehow I was able to get my right hand over and flicked off what originally had felt like a large beetle or Palmetto bug. After much shouting the outside porch light came on and in the bright light we saw the creature lying motionless in between two large rocks.

Ama took off her shoe and whacked it a few times, and not thinking the shoe was enough, her son got a very large rock and brought it down twice then lifted it to see what was left of the critter. I must say that I ready to see a smooshed mess but the scorpion was quite intact but not moving, and apparently lifeless. Realizing that it could resurrect itself I got a postcard from one of the boxes and slid it under the body and lifted it up and took it home to photograph. Here are the photos I took. M1290013 M1290014 M1290016 M1290012

I left one photo for last-this is where the scorpion was when I flicked it off. I have somewhat hairy arms and maybe that helped me from getting stung, I don’t know. I’m just REALLY happy NOT to have felt this bad boy’s sting!!!!


Are there scorpions in Panama? Apparently at least one (now one less).

Uh, YES,  I WILL be more careful when picking up things outside and inside too.

Safe travels.




19 thoughts on “Something’s crawling up my arm! Scorpions in Panama!

  1. Joel

    When leaving in natural surrounding as yours you should be aware of those type of creatures coming into the warm environment of a house running from the rain and humidity.

    Never put on your shoes immediately. Always check them for spiders or scorpions. The species of scorpions in Panama are not known because being poisonous but their poison could cause you some fever and pain.

    • Hi Roger,
      It’s good to hear that I would have only had a fever or pain- and I’m glad that I didn’t get to experience either one from this guy’s sting! We all should give more thought to picking things up from the ground IN or OUT of the house. I’m lucky that it just wanted to crawl on me!!!

  2. Oooh, that’s a biggie! Yes, we always look under stuff outside before we pick it up. We’ve had too many of those critters surprise us! 🙂


    Sent from my iPad

  4. I’ve never encountered a scorpion here in Boqueron yet, though I’m sure they’re around. I just haven’t seen them. When I was house sitting in Potrerillos Arriba I came across several. Fortunately never got nailed by one. I did find, though, that spraying them with Raid or some other insect killer is very effective in killing them, too. Even though I haven’t seen any here I ALWAYS turn my shoes over and thump them and shake out my clothes before putting them on.

    On the other hand, I HAVE seen something that WILL kill you here in Boqueron. A few months ago two guys were clearing out the adjoining field of its overgrowth and in the process they killed two fer de lance vipers!

    • I haven’t had the pleasure to meet up with the fer de lance fellow and
      hope we pass like ships in the night, so to speak.

      I like your idea about shaking out your clothes, I don’t now but will!

  5. that was one HUGE scorpion!

    spiders, snakes, scorpions, bats – yes, life in latin america presents us with some interesting creatures! i have been popped by scorpions many times – sometimes when working outside on the property, sometimes when taking clothes from the line, once when putting on a shoe – thought my body finally said, ‘enough,’ and i had one bad reaction that required a trip to the doctor and an injection. several minutes later i was almost ‘well’ again.. now i am much more careful!

    now if i can figure out why bats pick on me!….

  6. I came across this site while looking for info on Panamanian scorpions. My dad was a US Army Ranger stationed in panama in the early 80’s, and he told me a similar story once. He wasn’t quite as lucky as you though. They had just arrived in Panama, and everyone had been told that their were scorpions around that like crawling in boots, rucksacks, and even open canteens sometimes. So as the squad leader, it was my dad’s job to warn the rest of the squad. He was demonstrating to them how to properly grab your ruck and shake it out away from you to make sure there were no creepy-crawlies hiding inside. So he called the squad over to him and explained the situation. But just before he picked up his bag to dump it out, he saw his pack of cigarettes sitting in there. Well, he decided he didn’t them want to get smashed by the rest of the bag’s contents, so he reached in, grabbed them, and immediately felt a sharp burning sensation in his hand. He jerked away and still stuck in by the stinger, was a 3-4 inch black scorpion that was apparently already in his ruck. Well his squad members thought that was the funniest thing they had seen in a while. Ironically, when they dumped their bags out, there was nothing.

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