Sunday, January 07, 2007

Radishes, Scorpions and Hats

"It's been calculated that a scorpion has a metabolism equivalent to a growing radish root,"
Dr. Polis

Scientists have learned that scorpions possess such a sluggish metabolism to allow them to survive in extremely harsh conditions of heat and cold on virtually no food or water. They can live for more than a year without eating, and they are covered with a slick of wax that seals in water. Even in urinating or defecating, they conserve water, releasing nothing but a powder of waste products.

Everything about the scorpion turns out to be extended in time. They take up to seven years to mature, and they gestate their young for up to a year and a half, a pregnancy rivaled only by the elephant. More surprising still, scorpion mothers have something like a mammalian placenta, which nourishes their young internally, another feature unique among invertebrates. The offspring are born live, and then crawl onto their mother's back for another two to six weeks of external development.
By Natalie Anger, New York Times

When my father was supervising the oil pipeline in Kirkuk, Iraq his driver would pick him up when it was still dark and cool, returning about 11am for lunch and siesta and returning in the evening when it was cool again.

He would always leave his hat on the chair by the front door to grab as he left. One morning he was rushing out and grabbed his hat and it was almost on his head before he saw a scorpion in it. Thankfully he shook it out and killed it before it killed him. He was completely bald I doubt he could have survived a sting. It was customary to shake everything, shoes, clothes etc before putting them on because of creepy crawlies but sometimes one forgot.

3 comments:

crpitt said...

Another fascinating insight into the world of nature! and the scary bit about your dads near death scorpion incident, first your dad with a scorpion and then you with a bear! whats next?
Claire

COLORADO BOB said...

RE :

"How About You"

Here's something else that chokes me up every time I hear it ....

California Dreamin'

Jeni said...

ooooh! Just the thought of a scorpion crawling around any where even remotely close to me - like a thousand miles - makes me shudder. ICKY! Would hate to think of putting clothes on and find one in there with me and the same theory applies in my book with spiders and snakes and stuff like that.