Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Tanzanian Whip Scorpion

Damon variegatus

The Tanzanian whip scorpion’s body is flat and spider-like with six segmented walking legs, two long front legs, and no tail. Coloring varies from mottled brown, black or cream. The body is 1-2 inches across, but they measure up to 8 inches with their legs extended. The name “whip scorpion” refers to the whip-like movement they make with their front legs. They have relatively poor eyesight and use their long front legs to help with their orientation and hunting. Walking sideways, they use their front legs to sense vibrations. This assists them with locating prey and helps them avoid obstacles.

Range & Habitat

Tanzanian whip scorpions are found in tropical and temperate scrub forests of Kenya and Tanzania.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated


In the Wild: insects, worms, and crustaceans

At the Zoo: insects and worms

Life Span

2 to 3 years

Fun Facts about the Tanzanian Whip Scorpion

  • Professor Moody used a Tanzanian whip scorpion to perform the Unforgivable Curs in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
  • They are neither a spider nor scorpion, but resemble a cross between the two.
  • They spend their days hiding under leaves or in cracks, crevices, and dead wood, emerging at night to hunt.


Zoo Boise (Ed.). (2021). Tailless Whip Scorpion. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from

Sacramento Zoological Society (Ed.). (2021). Tailless Whip Scorpion. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from




Updated June 13, 2023
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