29/03/2019

Eight babies for mum at Bristol Zoo

A species of whip scorpion has produced eight babies at Bristol Zoo Gardens – just ahead of Mother’s Day.

It is the first time vinegaroons have hatched at the 183-year-old Zoo.

 Senior keeper, Carmen Solan, said: “They are amazing, everything about them is so well designed for purpose. It’s really exciting for us to have successfully bred these here.

 “This species is commonly collected from the wild for the pet trade so breeding them in captivity is an important step in creating a sustainable captive population.”

 Vinegaroons are found in southern and southwestern America and Mexico and named after one of their defence mechanisms.

 If threatened they can spray a vinegar-scented acid mixture from glands near the base of their tails. This spray is capable of stinging or burning potential predators.

The vinegaroon at Bristol Zoo produced a sac of eggs which she carried under her abdomen and from where her tiny colourless babies called protonymphs, emerged.

 Then the nymphs climbed onto her back where they remained until they underwent their first moult.

 The little whip scorpions each have eight eyes; two in the middle, and three on either side of the head as well as four pairs of legs.

 They currently measure just about 1cm but when they are fully grown they will be 7cm long.

 The vinegaroon scorpions are nocturnal and despite having eight eyes their eyesight is poor so they have to rely on vibrations of other animals to detect danger.

 Their predators include raccoons, weasels, skunks, lizards, tarantulas and some other scorpions.

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