Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Scorpions
As if hurricane season isn't bad enough, scorpion season is also here. And while many of us never knew the creepy crawlers even lived here, they can be quite common and their sting can be quite dangerous. Carmel Cafiero tells us what to look for in tonight's Carmel on the case.
WSVN -- You're looking at a Florida Bark scorpion. While the sting isn't enough to kill you - it can be very painful.
And for small pets - it can be even worse.
James Morotti: "And I found Gina on the floor."
James Morotti thought his little Boston terrier was going to die.
James Morotti: "She couldn't walk. Her whole entire left quadrant here was basically paralyzed. She was dragging it."
And then he saw this scorpion heading his way.
James Morotti: "The scorpion was coming towards me in the kitchen."
Carmel Cafiero: "What did you think when you saw that?"
James Morotti: "I didn't know. I've lived in Florida for like 15 years. I didn't think we had scorpions in Florida."
A lot of people aren't aware of the fact scorpions live and flourish right here in South Florida. Each year hundreds of people get stung.
Captain Al Cruz: "If you've been stung by a bee, multiply it about five times and that will be your experience with a scorpion sting."
Captain al cruz manages the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Antivenom Unit.
It maintains the most extensive anti venom bank in the United States. There's medicine here for snake bites and scorpion stings.
Captain Al Cruz: "Unfortunately scorpions are pretty much everywhere throughout South Florida."
While the Florida scorpion's sting is not considered life threatening, others are like this african flat rock scorpion.
Captain Al Cruz: "It can make you sick or even kill you."
Emperor scorpions are popular pets. This guy's name is Darth Vader, and his sting is as nasty as his name.
Captain Al Cruz: "It's not something to play with, I mean it's got quite a punch even though it's not considered lethal."
And with pets of all kinds - scorpions included - sometimes being let go - it can be hard to tell what's dangerous and what's not.
Captain Al Cruz: "See how he's trying to sting. He's going crazy."
Fortunately for Gina, she got stung by a Florida Bark scorpion and recovered quickly.
But dr. Harold Siegel says a scorpion can be big trouble for little dogs.
Veterinarian Dr. Harold Siegel: "We're seeing a lot more these Pocket Poodles and Yorkies. If those got stung by a scorpion it would be much more dangerous for then then say for instance if a German Shepard or a Rottweiler got stung."
And don't think just because a scorpion's tail is curled that it's safe.
Captain Al Cruz: "Because with great speed it can uncurl it and sting you."
You'll find scorpions around dead logs and under plywood. People are often get stung when working in the garden or around debris.
Captain Al Cruz: "Be careful, don't be lifting anything with your bare hands without knowing what's there cause you may get stung unexpectedly."
Gina meanwhile is just fine. She recovered within a day, although her owner is still all shook up by the experience.
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or In Broward at 954-921-CLUE