Nova Scotia

Halifax family finds live scorpion in bag of bananas from Costco

A live scorpion was found in a bag of bananas bought at a Costco in Halifax on Friday.

Family's 11-year-old daughter finds scorpion after groceries brought home

The live scorpion was found shortly after Nathan Coleman's wife came home with the groceries on Friday. (Nathan Coleman/The Weather Network)

Please note this story was published Aug. 14, 2017.

A live scorpion was found in a bag of bananas bought at a Costco in Halifax on Friday.

Nathan Coleman, a reporter at the Weather Network, said the discovery was made after he, his wife and two daughters brought the groceries home from the Bayers Lake Costco.

"My 11-year old daughter.… had unloaded the groceries. She came out with the empty bag and it looked like there was something squirming around in it. She was saying, 'There's something in the bag," said Coleman.

Standing from a distance, Coleman said, he first thought it might be a worm. But his mother, who was visiting at the time, quickly realized it was a scorpion.

"I jumped up and looked at it and it turned out it was a little scorpion. I had never seen one before," said Coleman.

Nathan Coleman is a reporter for The Weather Network. On Friday, his family discovered a live scorpion in a bag of bananas they purchased at Costco. (CBC)

Coleman said he took the empty banana bag and put it into a Ziploc bag. He then took a video of the scorpion moving around inside.

"It was actually quite frightening, because it was my daughter who had it and I know they can be venomous," said Coleman.

What made the situation more unsettling, he said, was that his baby daughter had been in the back seat.

"If it had crawled out on its own, who knows what could have happened. So I was angry, but just at the same time worried and happy that nothing came of it."

Coleman said he called the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History to see if someone could tell him more about the scorpion, and he was asked to bring it in. 

The scorpion was placed in a jar, but was subsequently killed for safety reasons. On Monday, the museum tweeted the scorpion is now part of its collection.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Andrew Hebda, the museum's zoologist, said the scorpion from Guatemala belongs to the general class of Buthids, a large family of scorpions which have a fat tail.

While it's unlikely the average fruit buyer in Nova Scotia will encounter a scorpion, Hebda suggests people take a moment to wash their tropical produce. 

Hebda said the scorpion delivered to the museum was capable of delivering a fairly nasty sting, though he doesn't think it would be lethal.

He said the good news is that the arrival of the occasional scorpion with fruit is a sign fewer pesticides are being used.

Coleman also called Costco to inform the company about the scorpion, and he said the store's warehouse manager called Saturday afternoon to apologize.

"He said they would refund the bananas, and I told him, 'I'm not looking for anything. I just want you to ensure this doesn't happen again.' And I told him, 'I have a baby and if the scorpion stung the baby, that would have been just terrifying.'"

'I'll take a look before my kids do'

Coleman said he was told by the warehouse manager that the store is working with the banana suppliers to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Ron Damiani, a spokesperson for Costco, told CBC News in an email Monday the company is aware of the incident and is investigating.

Coleman said he'll continue to shop at Costco, but said he'll be looking at the produce he buys more closely.

"I'll take a look before my kids do," Coleman said. "I've been buying fruits and vegetables my whole life and this is the only scorpion I've ever found."




Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

With files from The Canadian Press