Giant whip scorpions are the only whip scorpions found north of Mexico. They get the ‘scorpion’ component of their common name from their short, stout pedipalps and whiplike tail.
The long antenna-like front legs are covered with sensitive hairs that play an essential role in prey detection. The hammer-like grasping pedipalps are used to crush their arthropod prey. The abdomen ends in a fine, elongate tail. When threatened, they raise their tail from side to side, directionally releasing an 84% acetic acid solution from glands at the end of their abdomen. Vinegar, by contrast, is a 5% acetic acid solution. This acetic acid solution temporarily burns the eyes and body parts of the animal that threatened them. Individuals may take two years or more to mature.
Giant whip scorpions are docile and easy to maintain in captivity, and are regularly used in hands-on public presentations due to their calmness, stability, large size and easily observed unique characteristics.