Apparently Scorpions Can Get People High

First scorpion of 2013

A article titled “Getting High on Scorpions: The Afghan Drug War” notes from David Macdonald, Drugs in Afghanistan, book:

As an example, Macdonald notes that in Afghanistan even the ubiquitous scorpions can be used for intoxication. Tartars in Bamiyan province prepare scorpions by smashing them between stones and letting them dry. The main part of the tail, with the sting, is then crushed into a powder and smoked with tobacco and/or hashish (marijuana).

A friend of Macdonald’s who witnessed a man smoke scorpion in the Afghan town of Peshawar described the reaction:

The effect was instantaneous with the man’s face and eyes becoming very red, “much more than a hashish smoker” …. He also seemed very intoxicated but awake and alert, although he stumbled and fell over when he tried to rise from a sitting position …. the smoke tasted “sweeter” than that of hashish, although … it smelled foul, and the intoxicating effect lasted much longer. (1, p. 247)

As with most drugs, anecdotal reports of scorpion’s effects vary widely. It is likely that the numerous Afghan scorpion species have divergent psychoactive properties. Scorpion has been reported to keep one awake, cause severe headaches, and rival the effects of a “strong mescaline trip.” (1, p. 248) One Kabul man who had smoked between 20 and 30 times reported the effects to last three days. During these periods he had difficulty opening his eyes, his head spun, and he had constant visual hallucinations.

First Scorpion Of 2011

I woke up this morning about 4am (don’t ask why, I was awake and I got up). Saturn the Cat was laying next to me. I expected her to get up with me and run into the kitchen and meow to be fed, instead she went to the front door and sat there.

I know something is up when she doesn’t want food right away so I got the flashlight and found a scorpion in a space between the floor and the front door. I got a pair of needle-nosed pliers and put the scorpion in a glass, while trying to keep Saturn away from it.

First scorpion of 2011

My cat is part bloodhound.

part bloodhound cat

It is possible to train a cat. For the last several years I have been using positive reinforcement whenever she finds a bug, but specifically a scorpion. She wants me to know about them if she doesn’t manage to kill them first.

That she plays with them then kills them is probably not something that I could have trained her to do. I have seen the scorpions sting Saturn, usually on the nose while she is trying to sniff them. This results in her getting pissed off and smashing the scorpion with her giant 6-toed polydactyl paw.

I’m pretty sure this scorpion came in from the garage since I forgot and left the door to the garage propped open overnight. I open the door so that Saturn can go into the garage and hunt (or whatever it is she does in there). Since big garage door to the outside is warped and I have seen scorpions go into the garage, finding them in the house will probably continue to be an issue until I have the garage door replaced.

Scorpion With A McDonald's Egg McMuffin

A high school teacher in my hometown of Chandler, Arizona claims to have found a scorpion in his bag when he bought an egg McMuffin from McDonalds. The story on Channel 15’s website describes the scorpion as a baby and more venoumus than an adult.

It wasn’t just any scorpion — it was a baby scorpion, which is even more venomous than it’s adult counterpart.

Both of these statements are false. The scorpion appears to be a Vaejovis spinigerus, that looks like the same kind of scorpion I find in New Mexico. This is probably an adult as they don’t get much bigger than this. Had Channel 15 bothered to just use google, they would have found the ASU’s “Ask A Biologist” website where Christopher Putnam states

Other people say the sting of a baby scorpion is more dangerous than the sting of an adult, but again, this is false. The venom in a scorpion’s stinger is the same all through a scorpion’s life.

I suppose it is possible for the scorpion to find it’s way into the bag. I would hope it didn’t get into the bag at the restaurant but maybe in at the manufacturer or during transport. I wasn’t able to find where the bags are made. Scorpions are found in Chandler, but since the city has become more developed they are not nearly as common as they used to be. I find the whole story suspicious.