KEIZER, Ore. — Firefighters with the Keizer Fire District seemed a bit giddy following the discovery of four live scorpions at a city park, per a lengthy narrative on the station's Facebook page.
"On duty personnel at Keizer Fire District Headquarters were surprised by a member of the public who brought four live scorpions to the fire station today at 661 Chemawa Road N.E. in Keizer," the agency began.
According to Keizer Fire, several people at Keizer Rapids Park found the four arachnids in a container and decided to bring them in to the fire station "as leaving them in the park near a play area was obviously dangerous to children."
The Fire Chief and other station personnel took the responsibility seriously, weighing their options on what to do with the scorpions, which could be an invasive species. Eventually, they brought the issue to an expert with the Oregon Department of Agriculture — an entomologist.
The expert determined that the four creatures were members of a native species, the Pacific Northwest forest scorpion, Uroctonus mordax. The nocturnal creatures often reside in the Willamette Valley, but prefer to remain hidden under rocks or logs, "preferring moister situations."
"These are not found in desert conditions. The species mordax is not aggressive. Although they can sting (and do sting their prey when hunting), they 'play dead' rather than trying to sting when disturbed," entomologist Tom Valente told Keizer Fire.
All of this appeared to be welcome news to the firefighters, who seem to have grown fond of the arachnids.
"Fire Station personnel had a heyday with their new found 'friends' who were now fondly named . . . Timmy, Lynn, Ted, and Jeramiah," Keizer Fire said.
The agency said that they'll be taking some "good portraits" of their new scorpion companions, then they'll be bringing them to outreach events like the Oregon State Fair.
"As soon as they arrived, people began to have ideas about groups that would be interested as they go on to live the life of a celebrity and good will ambassador," Keizer Fire said.