Last weekend’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington may have been slightly smaller than the standard shows in February, but only just. With a specialty in captive-bred reptiles and amphibians, the NARBC isn’t just the biggest reptile show in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s the show you need to hit for exotic color morphs, cage ideas, and essential accessories. Oh, and it’s hard not to start impersonating Steve Irwin when viewing some of the stunning animals out here:
Of course, it’s not all reptiles and amphibians. Several dealers had quite a selection of invertebrates as well.
Now, this character is an arthropod not often seen in the US, at reptile shows or elsewhere. It’s a vinegaroon, also known as “whiptail scorpions” because of the flexible telson at the end of the abdomen. That telson is about as long as a cat’s whisker and about as dangerous, and one theory holds that it’s used purely for display. The “whiptail scorpion” name comes from the two strong claws held to the front, and “vinegaroon” comes both from its ability to spray acetic acid as a defense when molested, and the strong vinegary smell when crushed. They’re active predators of smaller animals, but while scary-looking, they’re completely harmless to humans. I haven’t seen one since I was five years old, so this one was a long-missed delight.