Rail passengers en route from London to Edinburgh were delayed at Peterborough after a scorpion was spotted on the train.
The unexpected cargo disrupted an Virgin Trains East Coast service heading to the Scottish capital on Sunday afternoon.
Harry Horton, a passenger on the train, said he first noticed something strange when people in the seats ahead of him started standing up and retreating.
“There was something going on at the end of the carriage and I couldn’t quite see what it was,” he said.
“A lot of the passengers were up on their feet. All of a sudden a couple came down to my end [and] they said there’s a scorpion on the loose.”
A guard appeared and the scorpion was returned to an ice-cream container it had been stowed in, Horton said.
There was an eight-minute delay at Peterborough while the affected carriage containing about 20 people was sealed off and checked.
Horton said the scorpion appeared to belong to another passenger. “We weren’t quite clear why she had [it],” he said.
“The police basically said to her: you’re either getting off here with your scorpion or we’re taking your scorpion from you. In the end she decided to give up the scorpion and give it to the police.”
A British Transport police spokeswoman said: “We were called at 2.56pm to a Virgin train from King’s Cross to Edinburgh and we met the train at Peterborough.
“A scorpion had escaped from a passenger’s bag, but it had been recaptured quickly and put in an ice-cream box. We have taken the scorpion to an exotic pet rescue in Peterborough.”