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A SCORPION surprised a supermarket customer when it crawled out of a bunch of bananas bought at a branch of Tesco.
Eddie Collins purchased the bananas at Tesco in Royston and immediately checked the scorpion, which was identified as one of the euscorpius flavicaudis breed, was not deadly.
He took the creature, which measures about three centimetres long, to Shepreth Wildlife Park, where a keeper decided to house it in their private collection.
Mr Collins said: "It was a shock when I looked at the floor where the shopping was and spotted the scorpion.
"The bananas came from the Dominican Republic, so it must have come from there. I checked it wasn't going to hurt me, but it wasn't a dangerous species, so I scooped it up and put it in a box."
The 63-year-old, of Smiths End, Barley, handed it over to Grace Dickinson at the wildlife park. He said: "It's not the cup of tea for a lot of ladies, but she loved it."
The keeper, who lives above the bug enclosure at the park and has a huge personal collection of animals, said: "I was very excited and could tell straight away she was not deadly.
"I thought it was pretty cool and the new scorpion, who we have called Lucy, will be the 56th head to join my collection so far, the second animal we've had from a banana this year.
"There's also a possibility that the scorpion is pregnant as well, as it's huge, but it's very difficult to tell the sex exactly at the moment."
Animal park staff have had a number of animals handed to them by residents in the past, including a camel, huntsman and dwarf gecko spider.
A spokesman for Tesco said: "We want to reassure customers this was a very unusual and rare occurrence and we are really sorry for what must have been a real scare.
"Even with all this expertise and checks, it is not always possible to completely legislate for the natural world."
This happened twice before recently in the UK; once stinging a customer! In an amusing case of globalisation one was wholey African/American (the most recent one has apparantly occupied southern dockyards for some decades anyway).

A woman was stung by a scorpion when she went to pick up a bunch of bananas at her local supermarket.
Sally Smith was shopping with her grandson, mother and daughter at Gateway in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, when she thought a wasp had stung her finger.
After Mrs Smith bent down to pick up the bananas, her daughter saw a 6in scorpion on her chest and flicked it off.
The 45-year-old grandmother, of Holme Crescent, Biggleswade, was taken to Bedford Hospital, where doctors had to ring specialists at Guy's Hospital in London for advice on treatment. She did not have to be kept in overnight.
Mrs Smith said: "I was extremely distraught about the whole incident. I had a surge of pain in my finger and arm and felt violently sick.
"The fact is I should never have been subjected to that kind of incident in the first place. I could've died if the scorpion had been poisonous."
A spokesman for Somerfield, which has taken over Gateway, said tests were being carried out by the company's own trading standards officers to find out what type of scorpion the creature was and where it had come from.
The spokesman said: "We know it was not a highly poisonous scorpion because Mrs Smith was released from hospital the same day.
"We have been in touch with her to make sure she is well and we are pleased the scorpion was not more dangerous than it was.
"We cannot say any more until we receive the results from our own tests."

The Uroplectes, or lesser thick-tailed scorpion, is generally found in the warm climate of Africa and South America. But one found its way to the Highlands, it is thought, in a consignment of bananas.
It was spotted at the Morrisons store in Fort William by staff who initially thought it was a stick insect. But when they realised it was a scorpion they put it for safe-keeping in a lunch box and alerted the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) which has passed on the creature to Nick Martin, otherwise known as Inverness's "Mr Creepy Crawly".
Mr Martin (39) takes in rescued exotic insects and reptiles at his home in Miers Avenue, Drakies, and also has a permanent display at the city's Floral Hall. The scorpion is now settling in with an array of animals including snakes plus two terrapins.
"It is only a tiny little thing. It is about five centimetres long," Mr Martin said. "I'm not an expert on scorpions. I have contacted the Natural History Museum in London to help me identify it."
However, he had narrowed it down to being a member of the Uroplectes family. "It is amazing it has survived, especially as goods are mostly transported in refrigerated containers," he said.
Despite its size, the scorpion has the potential to deliver a nasty sting, according to Mr Martin. "The dangerous scorpions are the smaller ones, particularly if they have narrow pincers," he said. "If this one stung, you would get localised extreme pain for about four to five hours."
Nick Martin with the scorpion which turned up at a Morrisons supermarket. Alasdair Allen
SSPCA inspector Dawna Connolly, who collected the scorpion from the supermarket, admitted she was more used to dealing with cats and dogs, sheep, and wildlife. "They had managed to contain it in a lunchbox," she said. "They thought it was a stick insect at first. But someone realised it was dangerous."
She described the scorpion as quite cute. "It was quite inactive and cold so I put it next to the heater for a little bit," Miss Connolly said. "It was not running madly about but it looked okay."
After keeping it overnight, she delivered it to Mr Martin.
A Morrisons spokeswoman said an investigation was being carried. "We would like to reassure our customers that this is an isolated incident," she said.

221 Posts
I used to work produce at the supermarket and the scariest/most interesting part of the job was unpacking the bananas. The strangest things would crawl/jump/fly out of those boxes. Things I have never seen before or since. Half dead bats coming to life, weirdo rat-like mammals, spiders that make clickey noises, orange-and-blue bugs, spitting insects, SNAKES! Just crazy stuff. I always wondered why no one seemed to care that these animals were jumping out of the boxes and presumably into the northeastern US ecosystem.
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