PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hikers brave enough to trek the Columbia River Gorge at night or during the early morning hours have a chance of seeing some of the canyon’s rarely seen residents: scorpions.
Community members in the private Facebook group “Oregon Hikers And Climbers” recently shared their scorpion sightings in the gorge, which are said to have occurred as close to Portland as Angel’s Rest in recent weeks.
Oregon Zoo curator Travis Koons told KOIN 6 News that the western forest scorpion can be found in the western and central half of the Columbia River Gorge and on the south side of Mt. St. Helens.
“These are nocturnal animals and sightings are likely quite rare in the grand scheme of things,” Koons said. “I would not recommend flipping rocks or disturbing rotten stumps unless you are prepared to encounter this or other slightly venomous invertebrates.”
The western scorpion can also be found on the west slopes of the Oregon Cascades up to about 3,000 feet of elevation, throughout the Siskiyou and Klamath Mountains, in southwest Oregon and Northwest California, and along the coast from Coos Bay to Santa Cruz, California.
Koons said that the species’ sting is comparable to that of a yellow jacket, and isn’t potentially fatal like those delivered by species in America’s Southwest.
“If individuals know they are prone to extreme reactions to insect or arachnid bites, they should work with a physician to determine if it is appropriate to carry an EpiPen,” he said.
Other species of scorpion found sporadically across Eastern Oregon include the burrowing scorpion, the black-back scorpion, the Northern scorpion. Rarer sightings of various species like the yellow ground scorpion have also been reported in Oregon. However, these sightings are unconfirmed.