Big Bend National Park in Texas has shared a photo of a Vinegaroon, which has gained quite a lot of attention. According to some reporters, they’ve been deemed a “land lobster from hell,” and can squirt a nonpoisonous acid from their tails. They were awakened by heavy rains in Texas, and are now out looking for “food and love” according to Big Bend National Park.
Vinegaroons are about 3 inches long and not very dangerous unless you disrupt them. They can pinch with their mouthparts called pedipalps and shoot a well-aimed spray of 85% acetic acid (vinegar) from the base of their “whip” to protect themselves.
When looking for food they hunt millipedes, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches, and other invertebrates by sensing vibrations with their long, thin front legs. They say if you’re lucky enough to see one, look closely. If it’s a female, she may be carrying her hatchlings on her back.
These are really interesting creatures. Most commonly they appear in west Texas and other desert areas. They are known throughout tropical and subtropical areas excluding Europe and Australia. The giant whip scorpion is found in more dry areas like Arizona and New Mexico. They are also very important for keeping down the population of cockroaches and crickets.