Three scorpions made a short-lived foray into Gulf View Square Mall on Monday. As a prank, a 17-year-old boy released the inch-long, stinging arachnids into a planter box at the mall, then apparently waited around to see the results, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
A customer saw the teen dumping something from a glass jar into the planter and reported the incident to mall security, said mall general manager Gary Passapae.
Within a few minutes, mall employees arrived and killed the scorpions, which still were crawling in the 12-foot-wide planters in the center of the mall.
A guard recognized the teen-ager there as the same person who had been issued a trespass warning last December at the mall. The youth, whose name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, was arrested by the Sheriff's Office on a charge of trespass after warning.
The scorpions fared even less well than the prankster. Not only did they fail to scare any customers as the teen had intended, they also died trying.
Passapae said he didn't know where the boy had gotten the creatures.
Scorpions do live throughout Florida. They are predators that catch prey _ usually insects or spiders _ with pincers, then sting the prey to death with their tails, which contain poison glands.
For humans, the scorpion sting is painful but not life-threatening.
Gulf View Square security did not think that any other scorpions had been let loose.