Tailless Whipscorpion vs. Vinegaroon

Yolotli

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Hello. I was hoping to acquire a Vietnamese Centipede, but it turns out that you can't sell Scolopendra in Florida. With that occurrence, I plan to get either a vinegaroon or a tailless whipscorpion. However, I've found conflicting information about their captive care (this is especially the case for the vinegaroon). If possible, could some of the keepers of these species enlighten me about their care?Information on substrate, behavior, and feeding schedule is the information I'm focused on finding out, but any other information would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
 

chanda

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Both are really easy to keep with similar requirements as far as temperature and humidity are concerned. I keep both my vinegaroon and my tailless whips on eco earth (coconut fiber) to keep the humidity up, though the tailless whips rarely touch the substrate. For the vinegaroon I provide a hide and a small water dish and I keep him in a low cage because he had no need for height. The tailless whips need a tall cage with rough vertical surfaces (like cork bark slabs) to climb on and - more importantly - to hang underneath while molting.

I feed them all basically the same - a couple of small to medium crickets roughly once a week.

The tailless whips are far more skittish than the vinegaroon, so when I want to take them out of their cages to show my students, I'll usually just pick up the cork slab and hold that rather than risk injuring the whip spider by trying to pick it up directly. The vinegaroon, on the other hand, can easily be picked up and held. (I only handle him for short periods, a couple times a year, for classroom demonstrations.)
 
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Galapoheros

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You can't sell Scolopendra in Florida?, I wonder how that happened. You may have read conflicting info about vinegaroons because they can live in a wide range of environments. Mastigoproctus can be found from desert-like areas to tropical areas. My experience with vinegaroons is as changa's has been. If you get an immature vinny you'll want to have deeper substrate when molting time comes around, they burrow to do that. It's good to have about 4 inches or so anyway, they like to dig around. I have 100s of things over here but no feeding schedule, but like chanda said, I suppose it's around once a week. Sometimes vinnys go underground for months and don't eat.
 

chanda

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Hello. I was hoping to acquire a Vietnamese Centipede, but it turns out that you can't sell Scolopendra in Florida.
Florida is really particular about importing potentially invasive species because they have such a warm, moist, food-rich environment where many exotic animals can thrive if released into the wild, damaging crops, out-competing/wiping out native populations, and generally taking over (as has happened already with a number of non-native species, including most notably the pythons!)

Imported Scolopendra such as the Giant Vietnamese Centipede are not allowed without special permits and approved locking cages to prevent accidental release, but there are plenty of native centipedes in Florida, including a variety of Scolopendromorpha, some of which get pretty big. Maybe not quite as big as the Vietnamese - but still very satisfying as pets and perfectly legal! See, for example, Scolopendra viridis, Hemiscolopendra marginata, and Scolopendra alternans.
 

Yolotli

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Thank you for the responses. I do have some more questions about the two species. Among them:
1. Are whipscorpions and vinegaroons roughly similar in hiding and feeding activity, or is there a significant difference?
2. Would a whipscorpion appreciate branches to walk from side to side, or will it just walk on the walls?
3. I plan to put a heating pad on the side of the terrarium to create a heat gradient. I don't think it would bother the vinegaroon, but would it kill the whipscorpion?
I'm sorry if my questions get annoying; the only arachnid experience I've had before now was a desert scorpion that died recently.
 

chanda

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Thank you for the responses. I do have some more questions about the two species. Among them:
1. Are whipscorpions and vinegaroons roughly similar in hiding and feeding activity, or is there a significant difference?
2. Would a whipscorpion appreciate branches to walk from side to side, or will it just walk on the walls?
3. I plan to put a heating pad on the side of the terrarium to create a heat gradient. I don't think it would bother the vinegaroon, but would it kill the whipscorpion?
I'm sorry if my questions get annoying; the only arachnid experience I've had before now was a desert scorpion that died recently.
Both are primarily nocturnal, spending most of the daylight hours in their hides (if hides are provided), inside cork tubes, or on the darker side of the cork bark, away from the light as much as possible. I even have one whip spider that actually does sort of "burrow" - she has a little scrape in the coco fiber at the base of her cork slab where she spends most of her days. At night they will come out to hunt and wander around their enclosures - but they will be less active if bright lights are used. Red lights or dim/indirect lighting can get around that problem. My vinegaroon is a little more aggressive at feeding time, while the whip spiders tend to be a bit more cautious - but it's not a huge difference. I don't often get to see any of them feeding because they prefer to do so when it's dark in the room.

My vinegaroon does not seem terribly interested in climbing. It wanders around on the ground on its enclosure or climbs around on top of its hide or on a horizontal piece of cork bark. It does not climb the walls or hang from the ceiling and has no interest at all in vertical exploration. The whip spiders, on the other hand, require vertical space. They prefer cork bark or cork tubes over branches because it gives them more cover and is nice and rough for them to grip. Branches are more open and exposed and - depending on the type of branch - may also be more slippery and harder to grip. They cannot climb glass/plastic walls of the tank, but can (and will!) hang from the screen top, so you need to check for any on the screen before opening the cage, to avoid injury.

As for temperature, they do not usually need a heat pad. They do well at room temperature or slightly higher. With a heat pad you risk overheating them or drying out their enclosure too much. I like to use a small electric space heater (one of the ceramic models with a thermostat control) and a small humidifier to keep the room at an appropriate temperature/humidity level for my various inverts, though the heater rarely comes on. Just sometimes at night - or occasionally during the summer, when the air conditioning makes the room a bit chilly.
 

Yolotli

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A few more questions:
1. If you were to go on a vacation/business trip/ other occasion that causes you to be absent for a few days to a week, how would you keep the humidity at an adequate level? I've been entertaining the idea of a layer of pebbles with water and a screen above them, but I'm not too sure how practical it would be in terms of supplying enough water, moving the terrarium if need be, and restricting the vinegaroon's burrowing, and the price of cleaning the terrarium.
2. What kind of lighting would you use? I plan to install a light in order to create a day/night cycle and accentuate the terrarium decorations, but I also do not want to dry out the substrate.
3. If a whipscorpion were to appear at the top of the screen, how would you remove it without injury to the animal?
4. What terrarium decorations would be best to prevent the crushing of a digging vinegaroon?
 

BobBarley

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1. If you were to go on a vacation/business trip/ other occasion that causes you to be absent for a few days to a week, how would you keep the humidity at an adequate level? I've been entertaining the idea of a layer of pebbles with water and a screen above them, but I'm not too sure how practical it would be in terms of supplying enough water, moving the terrarium if need be, and restricting the vinegaroon's burrowing, and the price of cleaning the terrarium.
As long as sub is moist, you're good. Damon diadema is very drought resistant.

2. What kind of lighting would you use? I plan to install a light in order to create a day/night cycle and accentuate the terrarium decorations, but I also do not want to dry out the substrate.
You don't need any.

3. If a whipscorpion were to appear at the top of the screen, how would you remove it without injury to the animal?
Wait or tap the screen, they are quick to flee.

4. What terrarium decorations would be best to prevent the crushing of a digging vinegaroon?
Don't *need* any, but use cork for a hide (it's light) and maybe plastic plants.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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A few more questions:
1. If you were to go on a vacation/business trip/ other occasion that causes you to be absent for a few days to a week, how would you keep the humidity at an adequate level? I've been entertaining the idea of a layer of pebbles with water and a screen above them, but I'm not too sure how practical it would be in terms of supplying enough water, moving the terrarium if need be, and restricting the vinegaroon's burrowing, and the price of cleaning the terrarium.
2. What kind of lighting would you use? I plan to install a light in order to create a day/night cycle and accentuate the terrarium decorations, but I also do not want to dry out the substrate.
3. If a whipscorpion were to appear at the top of the screen, how would you remove it without injury to the animal?
4. What terrarium decorations would be best to prevent the crushing of a digging vinegaroon?
Before leaving on the trip, give the substrate a good soaking or put in a broad, shallow water dish and fill it. If it's going to be longer than a week, get a friend to come in and water them for you a time or two.

I don't have lights for any of my cages, but I do have one of those clamp-on light fixtures with a red bulb that I'll sometimes use for nighttime observation. (It doesn't stay on the cage - I just move it around and use it as needed.) Other than that, I just use the regular room light (overhead fixture with full-spectrum compact fluorescent bulb). Day/night cycles are provided by light from the room's window. (The blinds are kept mostly closed to prevent overheating, but they still let light in).

When I have a whipspider on the screen, I can usually get it to move by lightly blowing on it through the screen or tapping the screen gently. If it doesn't move on its own, just wait and try again later. They don't get up there all that often, as long as the cork bark isn't banked right up to the top of the cage.

About the only "decorations" I give my vinegaroon are a slab of cork bark and a water dish, both of which are lightweight and have large surface area, making it less likely for them to be undermined. The vinegaroon doesn't really care what his cage looks like, as long as he has somewhere dark to hide, but if you want to make it look fancier, plastic plants (like they sell at reptile or aquarium stores) would work.
 

Galapoheros

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With 5 inches of substrate and a thin flat rock, I've haven't had to attend to vinegarones for a couple of months at a time, even longer for some, it depends if they are in a dormant stage or not, in a closed off chamber they create at times. An inexpensive hide for a thing like that is a piece of Hardie Board/HardiePlank.
 

BobBarley

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With 5 inches of substrate and a thin flat rock, I've haven't had to attend to vinegarones for a couple of months at a time, even longer for some, it depends if they are in a dormant stage or not, in a closed off chamber they create at times. An inexpensive hide for a thing like that is a piece of Hardie Board/HardiePlank.
Yup, pretty much the same with mine except that I have about 7 inches of sub.
 

RTTB

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My experience with Vinegaroons is that they are mini bulldozers and excavators. 6 inches of moist substrate and flat cork bark pieces is what I use.
 
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