The Camel Spider: An Iraqi spider that puts terror into the hearts of arachnophobes
Don’t trust the internet when it comes to videos and photos because the Camel spider, or rather Solifugae in Latin, is far from being the monstrous, human devouring beast that people perceive it as.
Because it looks so grisly and has made for some horrifying, albeit most likely fictitious, stories, the Solifugae has also gotten the name wind scorpion, sun spider and of course camel spider.
Solifugae: Spider camels
Although they count to the arachnids, Solifugae are not spiders in the classic sense as they differ from the normal spiders and scorpions and therefore make up their own distinct order with more than 1000 species.
Some of those can grow as long as 12-inch or 30cm (including the legs, that is), however, most of them are not as big neither are they dangerous for humans. In fact, in contrast to other spiders, the camel spiders are proportionally smaller, even if 12-inch sounds like a lot, this would be the longest ever measured, most of them are in average up to 4-6inch long which is about 10-15cm.
The gruesome tales about these monster spiders quite possibly came to be because of their unusual, mostly pale looks and their ability to bite even through skin with their pincers and teeth, especially in the “western” world they became nearly mythological monsters through the stories of the soldiers who were stationed in desert areas during the war.
The Camel spider: Found everywhere but not dangerous
Most Solifugae live in deserts or semi-deserts although they have been found in forest areas as well. They prefer a very warm climate and can be found all over the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica.
The camel spider eats mostly meat and feeds on termites and beetles, there have been stories that they would even tackle snakes or lizards or small rodents. Once caught, they cut their prey into pieces and liquefy them to ingest them.
Camel spiders don’t attack humans but there have been occasions when they did bite and reportedly those bites can be quite painful. Solifugae can run up to 10 mph for short distances so if they indeed follow you (which, again, is unlikely), you can still outrun them easily. Most if not all of them have no venom and therefore bear no further danger than a painful bite which could cause infection if handled improperly.