They've been living in the walls of Sheerness Docks for hundreds of years and now with this year's hot weather Kent's yellow-tailed scorpions are soaring in numbers.
It's believed the yellow-tailed scorpions first arrived on our shores in the 18th Century, during the days George III was on the throne. It's thought they made their way over from other lands on merchant ships carrying cargoes of Italian masonry. They are now an established and recognised colony, residing in Sheerness Dockyard. It's the largest and most well known wild scorpion colony in the UK.
With the warmer, sunnier weather the colony is thriving - it's thought there are over 10,000 now living in the crevices of the walls at Sheerness Docks.
The European yellow-tailed scorpions, or Euscorpus flavicaudis, are arachnids not insects - they have eight legs not six. They grow up to two inches long and are dark chocolate brown with a yellow-tipped tail. They thrive in a hot, dry climate and like to be based in isolated areas away from human disturbance. They do sting but it is less powerful than that from a bee.
The scorpions like to keep still under cover most of the time - until a woodlouse or spider scuttles past. Then they pounce, and devour the hapless prey. Thanks to an incredibly low metabolic rate, yellowtail scorpions can live on only four or five such catches a year.
last updated: 09/07/2009 at 16:11