Student shocked to find poisonous stowaway in luggage after South Africa trip

Will Metcalfe
·Contributor
Megan Royle had returned to her home in Gillingham, Kent, after flying back from her mother’s wedding when she discovered the olive thick tail scorpion. (PA)
Megan Royle had returned to her home in Gillingham, Kent, after flying back from her mother’s wedding when she discovered the olive thick tail scorpion. (PA)

A student has spoken of her shock after she found a surprise stowaway in her suitcase following a trip to South Africa.

Megan Royle had returned to her home in Gillingham, Kent, after flying back from her mother’s wedding when she discovered the olive thick tail scorpion, a highly venomous insect the size of her fingernail.

The 20-year-old said: “I was rushing to unpack as I was going out to meet friends then this tiny scorpion hopped out of the suitcase and scuttled across the bed.

“I didn’t clock straight away what it was. I thought to myself: ‘That can’t be a scorpion’.”

Megan Royle (right), with her mother Lindsey Mallon (centre), and step father Paul Kratovil, whose wedding Megan was attending in South Africa. Student Megan returned from the wedding to find a scorpion had stowed away in her suitcase. (PA)
Megan Royle (right), with her mother Lindsey Mallon (centre), and step father Paul Kratovil, whose wedding Megan was attending in South Africa. Student Megan returned from the wedding to find a scorpion had stowed away in her suitcase. (PA)
Megan Royle had returned to her home in Gillingham, Kent, after flying back from her mother’s wedding when she discovered the olive thick tail scorpion. (PA)
Megan Royle had returned to her home in Gillingham, Kent, after flying back from her mother’s wedding when she discovered the olive thick tail scorpion. (PA)

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Ms Royle said she called her mother for advice, and added: “Mum told me not to worry, it’s only the little ones that are dangerous – and this one was tiny so then I was freaking out even more.”

Ms Royle said she then contacted the RSPCA which collected the scorpion and identified it as a species that requires a Dangerous Wild Animal licence to be kept in the UK.

Animal collection officer Brian Milligan went to collect the scorpion. He said: “The scorpion was small and sandy-coloured. It seemed to be well so I took it straight to our specialist exotics centre in Brighton.”

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