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Where there’s jungle, there’s nasty creepy crawly creatures lurking to sting, bite, or paralyze you.
Or at least that’s what we’re led to believe when listening to local guides with a macabre sense of humour.
During my travels, I’ve survived encounters with deadly Fijian sea snakes, tarantulas in Australia’s Outback, and even a face-to-face stare down with some local Vancouver deer.
So I suppose it was only the universe balancing itself out when it decided to hide a wayward scorpion in my T-shirt on my Costa Rica honeymoon.
The setting: lush, thick jungle miles away from the nearest city. The accommodation: Pacuare Lodge, a stunning eco-location offering beautiful bungalows and no electricity.
A Unknown Assailant
On our first morning at the lodge, Karen and I decided to go for a hike with our guide. My shirt had gotten wet from the previous day of rafting, so I’d left it to dry on the outside patio, where I retrieved it when dressing for our hike. I threw the shirt on and began walking down the stone path.
Suddenly: a painful jab in my shoulder. I spun around. Had something landed on me? Perhaps a rabid humming-bird or giant mosquito? Again, a jab. No, a sting! Multiple stings!
I spun around like a man possessed, ripping off my T-shirt and throwing it to the ground in a single motion. The stinging immediately stopped, revealing the assailant must have been between the shirt and my skin.
I cautiously used a stick to push aside the fabric, showing a particularly smug scorpion nestled in my clothing. “It’s a scorpion!” I exclaimed to Karen.
She immediately flew into a frenzy, fearing if the variety in Costa Rica were as poisonous as their Mexican and Australian cousins.
We ran to find our guide, Pascal. Breathless, I mouthed “Scorpion! Stung me! Am I dead?” He checked my scars, asked if I was allergic to scorpion stings. “I dunno,” replied. “I’ve never been stung by a scorpion before.”
“Okay,” he said. “I think you’ll be okay. But just so you know, the pain will get worse for a few hours before it gets better.” He made a upward incline with his hand to illustrate. Comforting, I thought.
A Lesson Learned
Was it as painful as he described? Yes. Did that stop me from asking Karen to take a few photos after I knew my life would be spared? Of course not. These are the experiences that make good stories later.
And on top of that, the attack had put “the fear” into us for the rest of the trip, compelling us to be extra cautious to avoid the snakes, bullet ants, and other crawlies that made their homes in the jungle.
What about you? Sparing anything too grisly, what’s the worst insect/animal attack you’ve been privileged to experience?
Share your stories in the comments!