This “local” scorpion was discovered recently—at Maplewood Veterinary Clinic in Pelican Rapids.

Freaky discovery wasn’t just another day in the neighborhood at Pelican Rapids veterinary clinic 

This global warming stuff has gone a little too far. 

Next thing you know, we’ll have scary, poisonous desert and tropical invaders here in the northern Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

Like rattlesnakes, black widows, tarantulas, Gila monsters—and scorpions. 

Too late. 

They’re here.

“Frightened” is an understatement to describe the reaction of Denise Magnusson, when she discovered a scorpion while cleaning up the cat litter boxes at Maplewood Veterinary clinic in Pelican Rapids. 

“I was scooping up a litter box in the cat room, when what I thought was a piece of poop fell…But it started running!” said Denise. “I’m not squeamish, but this little creature really freaked me out.”

The scorpion “scooted across the litter, but it couldn’t scale the plastic sides of the litter box,” she recalled. 

“We were very careful…we kept our distance,” said Denise, who still has bouts of goosebumps over the incident. How a scorpion found itself at a veterinary clinic in Minnesota is uncertain, but probably the same way cockroaches find new habitat in unlikely locations: By shipping and transport. Denise speculated that it may have come in with an order of cat litter. “We have no other clue as to how it got here.”

Though not considered a deadly critter, a scorpion bite will “ruin your day,” said Denise, who read up on the creatures.

Meanwhile, husband and Maplewood veterinarian Dave Magnusson determined that the “little scorpion didn’t do anything to deserve to die.” So, being the compassionate animal-lover he is by trade, he managed to scoop it up into an ice cream pail. 

 He then taped the container up.


And—promptly brought to the local newspaper office for a photo opportunity. 

Dr. Magnusson politely declined to pose for a picture holding and cuddling the scorpion. 

Based on the photos, it appeared to be an Arizona Bark Scorpion, a small species of venomous scorpion commonly found in the Arizona desert, and unfortunately throughout the Phoenix metro area. Arizona bark scorpions are 1-3 inches in length, and have a distinct pale yellow color. Bark scorpions are usually small, very quick, and can be difficult to spot due to their coloration. However, scorpions glow strongly under black lights, which can be used to spot them at night. Arizona bark scorpions are nocturnal, and are usually found hiding during the day under stones, in cracks and crags, or commonly under and around tree bark – where they get their name, according to an online resource.

Unlike most pests, Arizona bark scorpions are quite venomous – the most venomous scorpion species in North America – and extreme caution should be used if encountered. Although not considered lethal (no deaths have been reported in the past 20+ years), Arizona bark scorpion stings can produce severe pain and swelling at the location of the sting, numbness, frothing/foaming at the mouth, breathing difficulties, muscle twitching and spasms, and even convulsions. 

A final message to Pelican Rapids readers—whether you’re year-round and you find a scorpion in your Norwegian Grove Township pickle pantry; or if you’re a snowbird who finds one at your Arizona winter place: 

If stung, seek immediate emergency medical attention at your nearest hospital.