The herbalist holding the live scorpions in the hat
The herbalist holding the live scorpions in the hat

The scorpion man of Funsi [VIDEO]

It may be unusual for humans to associate with or keep scorpions as pets because they are venomous creatures.


In fact, scorpions have long been feared for being dangerous creatures, as their venom is so deadly that you will need twice the anti-venom treatment to cure the pain.

However, Nurideen Afabei, a 40-year-old herbalist at Funsi in the Wa West District in the Upper West Region, is sending tongues wagging in the area.

Mr Afabei, popularly known as “Trouble", has gained popularity in the Sissala enclave for the potency of his herbal medicine in treating scorpion stings and also for keeping the arachnids as pets.

He carries about 30 live scorpions in his red hat, ostensibly to demonstrate the potency of the herbal concoction for the treatment of scorpion bites.

Wrapping them in the red hat and wearing it, he carries them around, particularly at social gatherings such as weddings and festivals to market his products.

In demonstrating his prowess, the herbalist often places his fingers on the tails of the scorpions without being stung by them.


In an interaction, Mr Afabei said the herbal medicine was given to him by his grandfather, and that it had the potency to treat scorpion bite within a twinkle of an eye.

He explained that he keeps the scorpions as pets and thus feeds them regularly for his trading purposes.

The live scorpions

The live scorpions

He indicated that he sells a pinch of the herbal preparation for GHS2.00, adding: "My main purpose is not to make money but to save people’s lives in my community.

In some cases, I give out the medicine free just to save lives".


Some residents of the area and people who have patronised the herbal product have attested to the potency of the medicine.

A Tour Guide and Photo Journalist, Ayamga Bawa Fatawu, said the herbalist was widely known in the area because of the potency of his herbal concoction.

"He usually would pledge an amount to anyone who dared let any of the scorpions sting him to enable him to treat him or her instantly," he said.

Another resident, Adam Mariam, told the Daily Graphic: "I last had a scorpion sting and couldn't sleep in the night.

But after applying some of his concoction, the pain disappeared within a few munites."


The scorpions have distinctive features, with five stripes on their backs and a smooth tail which they use to sting.

A sting from a scorpion can be very painful as one can hardly control the excruciating pain.

Scorpion stings are always prevalent in the Northern part of Ghana, especially during rainy seasons and the harvesting period.

Among all the species of scorpions in the world, the emperor scorpion is widely found in the rainforest and the savannah areas in Africa.


This scorpion lives for six to eight years.

However, an average scorpion has about three to five years’ life span.

Scorpions are prey to owls, lizards, centipedes, bats, and mice.

Loose food on the ground such as bambara beans and groundnut hacks attract scorpions to human settlements.
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