A family returned home from holiday in Mexico with an unusual souvenir - a "highly venomous" orange scorpion. As well as negotiating a 10-hour flight back to the UK, the 3in (8cm) arachnid somehow survived being put through the wash in Rochdale, Lancashire.
The family contacted the RSPCA after finding the scorpion "dying" following his washing machine ordeal.
Happily, though, he is now recovering at a specialist rescue centre.
RSPCA animal collection officer John Greaves said the family, who have not been named, "had no idea they had a little stowaway on board" when they packed their bags.
He said the creature must have scampered into their clothes before being placed in the suitcase.
"They were really worried about him when they got in touch as the clothes he was inside had just been through the wash.
They said he looked like he was dying. But he's obviously a tough little creature because he's survived his ordeal."
Experts believe the scorpion came from the Mexican desert.
"If it's an adult, then it's likely to be highly venomous due to its size and the conditions it would hunt in out in the wild," Insp Greaves added.
"It would require a very potent venom to immobilise its prey."
An RSPCA spokeswoman said she did not know the scorpion's species - or whether he had been given a name.