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OK When you've stopped laughing at me will you answer this question?

OK When you've stopped laughing at me will you answer this question?

May 18th, 2001, 12:48 AM
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OK When you've stopped laughing at me will you answer this question?

I was recently reading a holiday advertisment about a house in Menerbes, Provence, South of France. We will be staying there near Carpentras in July?August. In this advertisement the property owners warn their guests to be careful of a pit in the garden where 'scorpions tend to collect'. Until now I had no idea that scorpions would be in the South Of France. I have 3 children and we will be staying in a rural gite. Is this something I need to worry about?
May 18th, 2001, 01:12 AM
Bjorn Alvik
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Interesting question. I did not laugh, but bursted out "joss!", which is something like "gee!" in Norwegian.
Anyway, it made me commense a short internet study on scorpions. Here are some findings:
Scorpions - how many can kill humans?
There are about 1400 scorpion species described but there are only about 25 species whose venom is capable of causing human death, in some cases within several hours (Polis, 1990).
Some of the scorpions might be armed with a highly toxic poison, however, their sting can be too small that it can hit through our skin.

Where do they poisonous ones occure?
Most of the seriously toxic scorpions occure in North Africa, Central America and South America. They belong almost exclusively to the family Buthidae.

Are the European scorpions highly toxic?
Members of the family Chactidae (Euscorpius , Belisarius) are not dangerous for us. The sting was compared with a sting of a wasp or a bee. However, people with alergeic reactions to insect toxins should avoid any sting of a 'harmless' species.
Buthus occitanus and Mesobuthus gibbosus (Buthidae) were described as potentially dangerous scorpions from Europe.

This stuff was found on

On that page you also can click a "distribution" button, showing a map. Parts of Provence certainly is covered, but i assume that these scorpions are not among the very dangerous.

The page was a link from the so-called "Scorpions file", which you'll find on

Being a systems engineer, and in respect of professional insect and bug competences, I now leave further research to the Fodoriets.

I wish you a nice vacation. Provence is great!!

Bjorn, Oslo
May 18th, 2001, 01:17 AM
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Menerbes isn't near Carpentras...but it's only about 17 kms. from Cavaillon.

We do have scorpions here, but they are quite small and not poisonous. They're happiest under rocks and in damp warm places, so they shouldn't be a problem - although kids do love to put them in jars and watch them. They do sting, so I would avoid caution, but it's similar to a wasp sting. If anyone is allergic to wasps or bees, I would tell them to be careful.

May 18th, 2001, 01:39 AM
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if they are old enough, have your children read "My family and other animals" by Gerald Durrell, for ideas of how to study and what to do with scorpions and other bugs. If they're still too young, this charming (I really mean it - it has triggered my interest in wildlife, Corfu, and learning English) book will make you aware of what they'll do later with bugs ...

As Bjorn and PBProvence have said, French scorpions are not too dangerous, except to small children and people allergic to toxins found in bees and wasps. Teach them to poke in holes with a long stick, not their hands, and they'll be fine. Contrary to bees and wasps, scorpions (and snakes) will never attack unprovocked.
May 18th, 2001, 05:35 AM
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actually we found two in our rented house in Provence. Were told they would just give a nasty sting but I sure wouldn't want to find one in my bed - I checked it every nite before I got under the sheets! I would also recommned shaking out your clothing and shoes in the morning!
May 18th, 2001, 06:06 AM
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We rented a house in the hills outside of Florence a few years back and got the same warning from our landlady upon our arrival. We found several around the grounds which helped to keep our 8 year old son from running around outside barefoot and wandering out of our garden to the open fields beyond. Seems the scorpions (which were actually very interesting to watch from a distance) gave a nasty sting but wouldnt kill you.
May 18th, 2001, 08:39 AM
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Nope. We have seen just one (about one half inch long!) in all our years of living on and/or visiting the Riviera.
May 18th, 2001, 08:58 AM
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The American Southwest has scorpions, not deadly, but can cause nasty reactions. 210lb ex-football player got stung on his toe, out of work three days with swollen foot, another week of hobbling.

Desert kids stay away from scorpions (the curiosity factor is gone) but I'd be concerned about young'uns who might find the creatures too fascinating to pay attention to parental warnings.
May 18th, 2001, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for all your replies and advice. I am a little scared now I must admit. I never thought of the South Of France as having anything remotely harmful. I can see myself shaking everything out and looking under everything. God knows when I'll relax. I'm bad enough with wasps and bees let alone scorpions.
May 18th, 2001, 02:50 PM
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Lots of scorpions in the dorms at ASU. Only a danger if you're allergic though.
May 18th, 2001, 04:05 PM
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<<They do sting, so I would avoid caution, but it's similar to a wasp sting.>>

PB, is the sting of a scorpion anything like the sting of a self appointed Francophile expert when he is disagreed with on a message board?
May 18th, 2001, 04:36 PM
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My Lord Lauren:
Get a life will you?
You are the most disagreeable person I have come across on this board.
You seem to want to pick a fight with everyone who has a different thought than you.
Grow up!
May 18th, 2001, 08:16 PM
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One of my first friends in Arizona gave the best advice,don't walk around w/barefeet especially after dark and always have some Benadryl capsules and lotion handy.
PS The smaller the scorpion,the worse the sting!The bigger ones look scarier but have very little power left in them
May 18th, 2001, 09:44 PM
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Only scorpions I know of in Europe are some Scorpions from Deutchland. They play some crank it up loud rock and roll. ;-)

I never knew that France had Scorpions. My only experience with a real life scorpion was when one of the people I worked with brought back a scorpion from a National Guard weekend excersise from New Mexico or Arizona.

Then he proceeded to lose the darn thing. It got loose from him. Several months later, I saw the thing go running into a supply room in the building I worked at.

We all debated as to who was going to go into the room and kill it.

You go kill it. I'mmmmmmmmm not gonna kill it. You kill it.

I wanted to catch it and donate it to some University display or something. We never saw it again. Maybe the thing died in our humid climate

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