Just in case you’re planning a last-minute vacation before the school holidays end in southwest Texas, you might want to think again.
Introducing the Vinegaroon, also known as a whip scorpion.
Sure, locally, we have scorpions, but this arachnid is a mix between a scorpion and a spider and is literally what nightmares are made of.
Big Bend National Park took to social media explaining that summer rains bring vinegaroons out of their burrows, searching for food and love.
“They can pinch with their heavy mouthparts (pedipalps) and shoot a well-aimed spray of 85% acetic acid (vinegar) from the base of their ‘whip’ to protect themselves,” said the park. “Vinegaroons are nocturnal and can’t see very well. They hunt millipedes, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches, and other invertebrates by sensing vibrations with their long, thin front legs. Most commonly seen in the desert, this vinegaroon was taking a stroll around the Chisos Basin campground. If you’re lucky enough to see one, look closely. If it’s a female, she may be carrying her hatchlings on her back.”
According to the park, they’re relatively harmless unless you happen to annoy them, and then they bite. But don’t worry, it’s painful but not toxic.
A scorpion/spider that shoots a spray composed of acid or vinegar? Not exactly the wildlife you want to come across while vacationing.
For more on Vinegaroons and Big Bend National Park, click here
PHOTO: Large black vinegaroon showing thin “whip” tail; long, thin front legs; and heavy mouthparts that serve as pincers. NPS/CA Hoyt