Texas Is Home to This Acid-Shooting "Spider-Scorpion" and We're Not OK
We highly recommend watching where you step the next time you visit Big Bend National Park.
The Internet is in a frenzy after the National Park Service shared a photo of a fearsome-looking bug known as a vinegarroon or whip scorpion taken at a campground inside the popular Texas park.
"It's a cross between a spider and a scorpion that shoots acetic 'vinegar' from a 'whip,'" NPS wrote alongside the photo on Instagram.
"The vinegaroon, or whip scorpion, is an arachnid of the order Thelyphonida, a small group of arachnids comprised of only 100 species," the caption continues. "The name 'whip scorpion' refers to their resemblance to true scorpions and possession of a whiplike tail, and 'vinegaroon' refers to their ability when attacked to discharge an offensive, vinegar-smelling liquid, which contains acetic acid."
According to a Facebook post from Big Bend National Park, summer rains bring vinegaroons out of their burrows "in search of food and love."
Approximately three inches long, they're relatively benign… unless, of course, you happen to annoy them. To protect themselves, vinegaroons will pinch with their mouths and shoot a spray of 85% acetic acid from their whip-like appendage. Fortunately, the spray is non-poisonous.
Vinegaroons are nocturnal and can't see very well. They are commonly found in deserts and hunt millipedes, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches, and other invertebrates by sensing vibrations with their long, thin front legs.
If you're lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it) to come across a vinegaroon, the park suggests looking closely at it. If it's a female, she might be carrying her eggs on her back.