Are there scorpions in Italy? In Tuscany? Yes, there are. But those "gli scorpioni" - aren't something that you need to be overtly conscious of avoiding. So don't panic!
Italy's indigenous scorpion - the Euscorpius italicus - happens to be the largest of the seventeen species of Euscorpius genus of small wood-scorpions. Coming in at around 5 cm long.
The Italian word for scorpion is "lo scorpione".
It is mainly black in colour with its legs and pincers a lighter reddish colour.
They are nocturnal creatures, emerging from their cool havens at night to hunt.
And like to live in old walls, in the crevices and cavities of wood piles/sheds and stone walls. Or under stones and in grassy fields.
So if you happen to be staying in an old country house in the woods just check your bed before getting into it and hang up your clothes, rather than throw them on the floor. That little bit of information should get your kids to hand their clothes up on holiday anyway!
And tell your kids when you are out trekking and exploring not to go lifting-up any rocks on your wanders etc - for these and snakes - and you will be OK.
First things first. These creatures would prefer not to see you!
And their sting is very weak, like a bee or wasp sting, and lethal only if you happen to be allergic.
In well over a decade of living in Tuscany I have only ever seen a few - all small! - and I'm out and about in the countryside with my camera a lot.
In fact, the most I have ever seen - but they were all dead mind you - was when I was visiting a stone-built house that was a holiday home that hadn't been opened-up for a while. They were easily visible, inert, on the terracotta floors.
Seeing so many dead at once is very rare. They can live without food for up to a year - see below - so I can only assume that the owners had put something down to kill them.
My reason for mentioning it is that, if you happen to be taking up a friends offer to stay in their holiday home in the countryside here in Tuscany and no-one will be going in to open-up/clean before you get there, it would be worth a quick scout around before your children rush on in.
Other than that, don't worry.
Interesting facts for your kids to help stop them screaming if they happen to see one, but my guess is that they will be more thrilled with the experience than you!
1. The female sometimes doesn't will give birth for a whole year after mating and when she does her babies are all fully formed and immediately move onto her back where they all stay until they have undergone their first moult.
2. The Italian scorpion gives birth to up to thirty fully formed offspring, but other species can give birth to two hundred at a time. That's a lot of kids to carry around!
3. Mum is a cannibal! and when they are born, she doesn't eat a thing for ages in order to avoid the temptation of eating her Scorplings for dinner!
But in some cases she does and it is thought to be due to lack of sufficient food where they are born to support the existing scorpion population as well as her new offspring that she does it.
4. If they have to, they can live for between 6 to 12 months without eating. And can consume huge amounts of food at one time: but wouldn't you if you hadn't eaten for a year!
5. But they can't eat solids. So once they have captured their prey, injected it with venom if necessary to paralyse or kill, it, and ripped it apart.
They have to dissolve all of those pieces with digestive juices.
And they have a special ever ready portable place where they do it: a pre-oral cavity, which is from where they also throw out anything that hasn't dissolved. They aren't fussy eaters: they don't leave much!
Bet you little ones liked that bit best!
6. Scorpions date from the Silurian era, some 430 million years ago.
7. They have fluorescent chemicals in their cuticle and glow blue-green under ultraviolet light in the dark!
8. Lastly, and rarely, very rarely, one is born with two tails.
Explore some more...