Lazy eyes listen
According to Stars and Stripes, some members of the US military have taken up a new hobby: hunting one of the world’s most dangerous scorpions. And the hobby has grown so popular that there is now a waiting list to participate in scorpion hunts.
Androctonus crassicauda, also known as the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion, is the scorpion they are after. Although the scorpion’s venom is extremely dangerous, it is generally regarded as not aggressive towards humans; rather, members of the military hunt these creatures because they pose a threat to the military’s service dogs.
In fact, one of the reasons the hunts began was to persuade the military to provide anti-venom at bases in Kuwait, which the military has been hesitant to do due to the rarity of human attacks and the military’s belief that the population of Arabian fat-tailed scorpions in the area is dwindling.
“At first, we went out to estimate the population, and then we discovered that there is a significant number,” Army veterinary technician Spc. Joseph Neitz told Stars and Stripes. Since May, Neitz has been organizing the hunts.
Since the hunts began, Neitz and his colleagues have captured at least 300 Arabian fat-tail scorpions. The hunts are held at night because scorpions are more active and can be seen with ultraviolet lights.
When word got out that scorpion hunts were on the menu, troops stationed in Kuwait rushed to sign up. “Not many people can say, ‘I went to catch some of the world’s deadliest scorpions in my spare time while on deployment,'” said Staff Sgt. Brendan Guerra, who has participated in many of the hunts. “When I see people catch one for the first time, they’re either super-excited or scared half to death.”
Neitz hopes that the number of scorpions he has caught will prompt the military to take action, and that when he returns from his deployment, someone else will take over organizing the hunts.
Whenever a soldier captures a scorpion, Neitz and his team cast it in resin so the soldier can have a unique souvenir to take home.