Visitors to big Bend nationwide Park in much West Texas have been a small on edge since one that its many animal inhabitants went famous online, spawned national news stories, and was referred to as a “land lobster from hell” by

It every started as soon as the park’s facebook page shared a photo on July 14 the what shows up to be an huge scorpion-spider hybrid v lobsteresque pincers, v an educational caption helpfully explaining the these acid-spraying creatures, called vinegaroons, have emerged from your burrows “in search of food and also love” after ~ a bout the summer rain.

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“I am going to have nightmares native this photo,” created one of approximately 1,500 commenters.

The complying with week, large Bend nationwide Park ranger Annie Gilliland was functioning at the front desk of the visitor’s center when a tourist came in demanding reassurance the they would not fall prey to the nightmarish web sensation. “Someone came up through the picture on their phone and also said, ‘What space these things? space they gonna it is in in my campsite? I’m afraid,’” claims Gilliland. “We calmed them under from that.” Prospective visitors began calling the park come ask if they to be going to “see ‘land lobsters’ everywhere the place” (“That is a name i think do up,” states Gilliland).

It transforms out this so-called “land lobsters from hell” space arachnids—meaning they belong come the same course as spiders and ticks—and despite they do have actually an alarming appearance, and also can spray a gentle vinegar equipment as a defense mechanism, they are harmless come humans and also mostly keep to themselves. “I would say part things gained exaggerated,” says Gilliland the the onslaught of push attention.


Also well-known as whip scorpions, vinegaroons are fairly common in the large Bend region, which provides the sudden national alarmism every the an ext baffling for park employees. As soon as I first called the park’s headquarters, a male answered the phone, listened to my quick journalistic spiel, and remarked dryly, “You desire to carry out a story about a really common insect in the big Bend called the vinegaroon?” (Technically, together I would later on learn, arachnids room not insects.) Still, Gilliland speak me the visitors are unlikely to spot one—vinegaroons stay burrowed underground for much of the year and also emerge only once the desert dryness is interrupted through the region’s rainy season. Hefty rainfall coaxed the vinegaroons from their hiding places about two weeks ago, so there are much more of them the end and about now—the viral photo was taken by a parkgoer—but their aversion to heat and sunlight tho keeps them mostly hidden throughout the daytime.

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Though an ext than one hundred vinegaroon varieties roam the planet, including seven in the joined States, just one stays in Texas: the giant whip scorpion (Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus), which grows up to three inches long. West Texas is its preferred habitat—legendary frontier referee Roy p once named a town in that honor—but the biology has also been spotted in southern Texas and also the Panhandle.