- In the wild, young vinegaroons eat pinhead crickets and other small insects, while adults feed on larger insects, worms, and slugs.
- In captivity, vinegaroons are fed crickets; young receive pinhead crickets and adults receive adult crickets.
Notes on Enrichment & Training
Colony or Breeding Management
Tips on Presentation
Tips on Handling
- This species cannot be handled directly. They are very sensitive to handling and it reduces their lifespan.
Comments from the Rating System
- Zoo New England, Stone Zoo: Vinegaroons are fairly easy to handle – they just require handlers who are comfortable with invertebrates. They are especially fragile, and need a careful, watchful handler.
Natural History Information
Range and Habitat
Vinegaroons live in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States.
This arachnid has a shiny black color. The pedipalps (modified mouthparts) are formed into very heavy pincers. The first pair of legs is very long and thin; these legs are used like antennae. The next three pairs of legs are the ones that are used for walking. The abdomen is attached widely to the cephalothorax. The tail is long and thin, suggestive of a whip, which is where an alternate common name, whipscorpion, originates.
Full grown, vinegaroons can reach 6 inches in length.
Up to 35 eggs are laid in a burrow within a mucous membrane that preserves moisture. The mother will stay with the eggs, without eating, throughout their incubation period. When the young hatch, they climb onto their mother’s back and attach themselves there with special suckers. They stay there until their mother dies shortly afterwards. When they first hatch, they are white in color, but they will look just like miniature adults after their first molt. They grow slowly, going through three molts in about three years before attaining adulthood.
Vinegaroons are nocturnal and have poor vision. They rely on sensing vibrations to locate their prey. They are docile and calm, but when disturbed they can spray an irritating mist from scent glands at the base of the tail. This mist contains 85% concentrated acetic acid (otherwise known as vinegar, which is who this species got its common name.)
Threats and Conservation Status
This species has no special conservation status.
Did you know…
- Vinegaroons do not have stingers or venom; their long whip-like tails do not sting at all.
Contributors and Citations
- The Philadelphia Zoo