Scorpions at Charles de Gaulle Airport – level 3
It gives a whole new meaning to the term sting operation… Customs officers at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris have seized 115 live scorpions. They had travelled from Cameroon and were en route to the United States.
The arachnids were hidden in two separate shipments. The first shipment of 69 scorpions was discovered on the 18th of September, hidden underneath plastic boxes of centipedes.
The other 46 were found a few days later hidden in plastic cups.
The large scorpions are of the protected species Pandinus Dictator. Luckily for airport staff, their venom is quite mild and human fatalities are unknown.
They were declared as medical research samples, but did not come with the appropriate paperwork that makes it legal to keep and transport them. Authorities believe the scorpions were to be sold on the Internet as “animal companions”.
This was not an isolated incident. In 2014, French customs seized almost 14,000 live animals considered protected species.
Difficult words: sting operation (an operation designed to catch a criminal; a pun because a scorpion can sting you), customs (the place where your bags are checked when you travel abroad), seize (to take something officially), en route (on the way), arachnid (a type if animal like a spider), centipede (a small creature like a worm with a lot of very small legs), species (a kind of animal), staff (a group of people who work together somewhere), venom (poison), fatality (death), considered (which people consider/think about as).
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