Ah, honey, that doesn’t look like a cockroach
EL JEBEL – Leapin’ lizards, a scorpion in El Jebel?
A midvalley couple say they found a scorpion in their house in Summit Vista two weeks ago. Stanley Coriat said people doubt his story, until he shows them the proof. He’s just as perplexed as they are about how it showed up at this high of elevation – apparently hundreds of miles from its regular habitat – and how it got in his house.
Coriat said his wife was exiting the laundry room one day about two weeks ago when she spotted the foreign being trying to dash out with her. “She was screaming,” he said.
She grabbed the closet weapon she could find, which happened to be the top of a liquid laundry detergent bottle. She trapped the scorpion, took a picture with her cell phone, e-mailed it to her husband, who was working, and asked for help. He returned home and shooed the scorpion into a zip-lock bag. The defiant little bugger held his hind end up, ready to sting.
Coriat added a couple of drops of water to the baggy in an effort to sustain the scorpion, but something went awry. He soon found it dead.
Nevertheless, the couple wasn’t crazy about the idea of a scorpion living in his house since they have two kids, ages three and five. Their bedroom is adjacent to the laundry room. Coriat fears there could be more than one scorpion in the house.
He told various folks about the find, including Eagle County health and human services in El Jebel. “I had to bring the scorpion to the community center before anybody would believe me,” he said.
County officials advised him to contact the U.S. Forest Service. Coriat eventually connected with Phil Nyland, the wildlife biologist for the Aspen and Sopris Ranger Districts. It was a new encounter for him, at least in this neck of the woods. He is aware of scorpions down in the southwest part of the state, but he believes it is extremely rare for scorpions to be at this elevation, especially during winter.
“I had heard they were seen in western Colorado but I didn’t know El Jebel had them,” Nyland said. “At first we thought it was a hitchhiker from a trip to Utah.”
But Coriat assured him that was impossible. The closest he gets to the desert is shopping in Grand Junction, he said. They have lived in their house for two years, so it’s not like a recent renter before them brought the critter home. Coriat also said there is nothing about their yard that makes it any more inviting than the neighbors’ yards to a scorpion, as far as he knows.
Coriat, a native of France, had never encountered a scorpion before.
Nyland consulted the Internet and with a friend in Arizona and established that the Coriats’ flesh-colored catch was probably a common striped bark scorpion, which is venomous.
Coriat said they haven’t seen any other scorpions, but they’re aren’t exactly resting easy. Nyland advised him to consult with an exterminator, though few if any probably have experience with scorpions. Coriat said he and his wife are considering looking for another place to live.
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Just in time for Halloween, the Pitkin County Board of Health voted 4-2 to reduce the size of informal gatherings from 10 to five for at least the next two weeks starting Friday. According to the public health director, officials are currently investigating 11 outbreaks in Pitkin County.