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Whip Scorpions ~ Saturday Critters

On the corner of the back porch, I found this creature last night. At that time Black and Blue ran to the back porch to catch Susie and play there, but because it was late, and they had to stay inside the house I intended to take them inside.

When Black ran to the corner, the smell of vinegar smelled strong enough, so I immediately found out the source of the smell. This is a ketonggeng, or whip scorpions in English, at least that’s what is called in an online and Wikipedia dictionary.

According to Wikipedia, it is a group of animals that resemble scorpions but have a kind of “whip” on the back, rather than sting. All ketonggeng belong to the Thelyphonida family.

This creature is easily recognizable by its dark color, has a scorpion-like front (complete with a pair of claws around the head), but does not have a “tail” with a stinging tip like its relatives, its tail resembles a small brown needle. The body length is between 10-15 cm The abdominal part (called pygidium) is equipped with a rather stiff elongated whip (flagellum) organ.

Ketonggeng is actively looking for food at night. Ketonggeng’s main foods are insects, millipedes, scorpions, and worms. This creature is very effective in controlling populations of crickets and cockroaches.

Wikipedia explains that Ketonggeng is also known as Vinegaroon (Vinegar) because when it is threatened, it will spray a combined liquid of acetic acid and octanoic acid which causes a smell like vinegar. This animal is not venomous nor can it bite, it can only clamp with its claw.  Even though if exposed to stinging sour fluids it can cause the skin to feel itchy and if it is severe it can even cause a burning sensation such as burns. For humans, it is not dangerous at all. But still, if it hit the claws it will feel very painful because the claws are quite strong. Well, as far as I have experienced so far after seeing it for many years, I have never been harmed by this creature, other than the women who complained about the sour smell, plus their fear.

  • Have you ever seen this creature before?

    • Yes
    • No
  • If you meet this creature near you, will you do something to it?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

15 points


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  1. You taught me a bit about these. I am not sure we have them here, I have never seen one in real life. I have seen them in pictures. They sure do look scary. That smell must be very strong for you to smell it from where you were. Awesome photograph!

  2. Oh wow what a find. I would probably take a picture since that is what I do! Never heard this about a vinegar scorpion. Very investing story. I am su retie cats were curious and wanted to see what the critter was.

  3. Yes it looks frightening but I would probably put it outside into the garden and wear gloves. I usually do that to spiders too
    I have often been frightened of these things but come to realise that there are often people more frightened than me

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