Scorpions of Tuscany, Italy, Europe
The scorpions found in Italy and Tuscany are not venomous. They are black and small, rarely growing beyond 30mm in length, and if they do sting, the result is similar to that of a bee or wasp sting. Only people with allergies to insect stings need to take further precautions. If a scorpion is found inside a building, it simply needs to be trapped and removed.
A holiday in Italy wouldn't be complete without meeting some of the local residents; however, perhaps the native scorpion population wasn't what you had in mind! Before you start jumping on the sofa, it's worth mentioning that the variety you'll find in Tuscany are pretty harmless. While a Tuscan scorpion can give you a nasty sting, it's been likened to the strength of a bee or wasp, so although this isn't pleasant, you won't find yourself in hospital.
In actual fact there are about 1,400 species of scorpion in the world, and surprisingly, only 25 of these are fatal to humans, giving the rest a bad name. Thankfully, the species of scorpion you'll find in Europe aren't dangerous, although allergic reactions have been observed in some unlucky victims.
As scorpions are nocturnal, you'll be lucky to see one during the day, although if you leave the door to your villa open overnight, they could venture inside. It's best to take sensible precautions by ensuring you eliminate their food sources, so make sure you buy a household pest spray to keep flies and spiders at bay. Shake out any clothes or bedding before getting inside, and don't walk around the villa barefoot.
Scorpion attacks are relatively rare in Tuscany, but if the worst does happen, then it's important to know how to treat the sting. First of all, be sure to clean the affected area with soap and water to rid the site of any dirt and bacteria. Elevate the affected limb and apply a cold compress to soothe the swelling. Finally, take some simple pain relief tablets, and within 30 minutes you should notice the pain beginning to subside. If you experience any further symptoms or a child is stung, it's best to be seen by a doctor to be on the safe side.
Here is some further information about Scorpions
Euscorpius alpha Caporiacco, 1950.
This species was formerly known as a subspecies of E. germanus. Molecular and genetic analysis of the different populations of E. germanus in southern Switzerland, northern Italy and southern Austria revealed the presence of two different forms, separated by the river Adige (Etsch) in the northern Italy. The genetic difference between the two forms was large enough to justify an elevation of the western form to a new species, E. alpha in the end of 2000.
It is almost impossible to separate E. alpha and E. germanus by using morphological characteristics, but collection site will tell which species you have. E. alpha (western distribution) and E. germanus (eastern distribution) do not overlap in distribution. E. alpha is a small, black scorpion, which rarely reach more than 30 mm in length. It is usually found in mountain areas with a reasonable high humidity, often under stones, logs etc. A. alpha is so far reported from Italy and southern Switzerland.
Venom: Few medical data available, but data from Italy suggest local effects only. Mildly venomous. Harmless scorpion, which rarely will use its stinger.