Summer rains bring acid-shooting ‘land lobsters' out of hiding in Texas

Summer rains bring acid-shooting ‘land lobsters' out of hiding in Texas
An image of an acid-shooting 'land lobster'
·1 min read

The frightening creatures go by various names. Some call them whip-scorpions, while one journalist at the Houston Chronicle called the insect a "land lobster from hell."

The insects are better known as vinegaroons, and despite their hellish appearances, the nocturnal, visually impaired creatures pose relatively little harm to humans. In fact, they are good at killing pests like cockroaches and millipedes.

Brought out of their burrows by heavy rains in and around Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, the approximately three-inch-long vinegaroons are out exploring the desert in search of food and love, according to a Facebook post from the park.

Vinegaroons pose dual threats to those who happen to annoy them. They can use their heavy pincers to pinch and shoot a "well-aimed" concoction of 85% acetic acid (which smells like vinegar) from the base of their whip-like tails.

An image of an acid-shooting 'land lobster'

Big Bend National Park shared this photo of a vinegaroon on Facebook, explaining it is searching for "food and love."

The spray is not considered to be venomous for people, and vinegaroons aren't all that interested in humans. To catch their prey, vinegaroons use their long, thin front legs to sense vibrations from animals including millipedes, scorpions, crickets and cockroaches.

Vinegaroons can be found across the southern United States and Mexico. Those brave enough to look closely at a vinegaroon might see a female vinegaroon carrying her hatchlings on her back.

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