So when scorpions, you know, do it, they bounce. Not during so much as before. During scorpion sex is when it gets really weird.
Yeah, we know. So, OK, this is how it happens: Scorpions tend to eat each other, so the scorpion equivalent of "What's your sign?" can end very, very badly. Add to that almost total blindness and deafness and it makes trying to further your species quite the party. What scorpions can do is pick up on each other's pheromones, so the dude scorpion follows pheromones to the (much larger and possibly hungry) female, then he starts to bounce.
This is apparently how the female senses that there's a horny male scorpion nearby. If she doesn't attack him, that's pretty much the "good to go" signal, so he bounces his way closer, grabs her with his claws, and starts this far-kinkier-than-50-Shades-of-Grey dance, during which she tries (unsuccessfully) to sting him. He – and I really wish we had video of this part – puts his stinger inside her, near her head, in what Dr. Abraham Miller at the University of Tampa's Department of Health Science and Human Performance describes as a "nonviolent" maneuver. Not surprisingly, this subdues her and the male massages her mouth, turns her around (think doggie-style for scorpions), and pulls her onto his deposited sperm, which explodes inside her.
Makes being single look pretty damn good, right?
Saturday night, single or coupled, take a moonlit stroll through St. Petersburg's Boyd Hill with one of their park rangers. Odds are, you'll see a scorpion (we can't promise scorpion sex; this is a family-type tour, after all). The really cool part about seeing a scorpion? Believe it or not, it isn't the sex – it's that they glow green under a blacklight.
The tour costs $3 ($1.50 for members) and starts at 7 p.m. at the Boyd Hill Environmental Center (RSVP required; 727-893-7326). In addition to (probably) finding a wild scorpion, the guides will lead you over an alligator-infested pond and through the wilds of the remaining St. Petersburg backcountry.
Hey, it's still safer than scorpion sex.
Disclaimer: G-rated tour; no scorpion sex promised or implied.