On the off chance that you were running dangerously low in nightmare fuel, this should do wonders to top off your tank.

I've wanted to take my family to Big Bend National Park for some time now, especially after hearing that on a clear night you are treated to a dazzling light show with millions of stars. That must be a good thing, because the light from the stars will help us find this little demon insect of terror during our campouts.

Meet the Vinegaroon, or as they are scientifically known, Thelyphonida, which I believe is German for "ACID SPRAYING COCKROACH LOBSTER DEMON".


They're three inches long, seem to come out especially after summer rains, and can be spotted in more than a few areas of West Texas, primarily in the Big Bend region, and near mountainous areas around El Paso (as if we needed another reason ever to go there). However, they have been spotted in places such as Lamesa, which essentially means that these little bastards are poised and stand at the ready to invade The Hub City.

Now, to make you feel just a little better, even though the Vinegaroon sports heavy mouth pinchers and can spray a stream of acetic acid from the whip of their tails, they're apparently very benign, only attacking when they're annoyed.

For those who are prone to Googling stuff they don't understand, like "acetic acid," I'll save you the click. Acetic Acid is essentially the main component (other than water) of vinegar. Hence the name: Vinegaroon. So, yeah...they're basically spraying vinegar at you when they get pissed.

If case you're worried (as I am) that they'll suddenly swarm and attack like the scarabs in The Mummy, turns out that even though they are carnivorous, these little guys usually feed on other small invertebrates and not tasty human flesh. Plus, they're nocturnal and can't see very well. Just like Charlie Sheen, who also sprays acid from his tail, IIRC.

So, enjoy your campout without fear and live a life peaceful in the knowledge that you cannot die via Vinegaroon. Those King Snakes, though...they'll straight up eat your ass.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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