Tailless whip scorpions are scary looking but these Amblypygi do not attack

I understand when people do not like spiders, wasps, or snakes

I must admit that I do not interact well with wild snakes that I find out in the rain forests or deserts. But at a zoo I have no problem having the herpetologist put a snake on my shoulder or wrap it around my arm.

But I must admit, I prefer an animal such as a peccary, or tapir, where I can interact with it, and use eye contact to judge how the animal is feeling. Besides, with a peccary or tapir, just like your dog or cat, you can give them a shoulder rub and they will be so greedy for more massage that they will wilt onto the floor to suggest that you continue attending to them.

But I have not yet learned how to interact in this or any other manner with the personality of an insect, arachnid or reptile, though the turtles in our yard do accept my presence.

Tailless whip scorpions appear to have stingers, grabbers, stickers, and pinchers. I was so terrified to see one of these INSIDE MY HOUSE, that I stomped on it so many times I almost broke the floor tile.

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We found it! We found a couple of Tailless whip scorpions on FLAAR headquarters.


But when I read about them on the Internet, I learned that they have no venom and are (normally) totally harmless to people.

So now I ask everyone in the office not to step on them, and not to use insect spray where they live (in the back lower floors, where it is humid).

We also have true scorpions; these live under the computers (I guess they prefer the heat). When we find these we try to use cardboard to slide under them to pick them up and then put them outside, but we realize they will hike back in sooner or later.

Tailless whip scorpions are present at Tikal

You can probably find tailless whip scorpions in many diverse eco-systems within Guatemala. Our office and residence is at 1500 meters elevation. Many live inside the office and I assume even more are outside in the yard. Tikal is about 250 meters above sea level and has lots of these creatures.

Actually when a tailless whip scorpion sees you, it often plays dead, hoping you will either ignore it or be afraid of it. But if you put a piece of paper under them, you can move them to put them in your hand (to scare everyone else in the home or residence).

Tarantulas are more playful; the whip scorpions just wait until you get bored with them. Then eventually they run away.

Looks are deceiving

As you can see from these photographs, these relatives of true scorpions and spiders look fully equipped to sting, bite, pinch, and otherwise seriously attack your flesh.

But they can run around on your hand and they will not hurt you (though as mentioned before, they don’t run around like spiders when on your hand; they pretend to be dead).

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This whip scorpion just sits on my arm. They normally pretend to be dead and don’t move much. We have found these in Peten and in our office at 1500 meters elevation in Guatemala City (many species exist). You can also find them in caves.


A good reason to provide them hospitality in your house is that they can help you get rid of cockroaches.

Bibliography, Suggested Reading

www.costaricajourneys.com/tailless-whip-scorpion, is probably taken from Wikipedia, but is a nice summary of everything you might wish to learn about tailless whip scorpions.

A really good article, albeit technical (in Spanish) is a free download on www.sea-entomologia.org/PDF/BSEA39ARACNO/B39345.pdf

The present stage of our storyboards is featuring animals. However we have decades of experience doing high-resolution photography of the rare flowers of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

We specialize in studying utilitarian plants, used by the Maya for thousands of years.