A-z - Animals

camel spider

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camel spider 1

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Camel spiders can move at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour!

Camel spiders are found in dry climates around the world, including the Middle East, Mexico, and the southwestern United States.

Also known as wind scorpions, sun spiders, and solifuges, camel spiders tend to inhabit deserts and scrubland. This animal is a carnivore that eats rodents, small birds, insects, and lizards. Additionally, camel spider bites can be extremely painful to humans.

5 Fascinating Camel Spider Facts

  • Camel spiders are solitary animals except when mating.
  • Depending on the size of the camel spider, the female lays 50 to 200 eggs and stays with them in the burrow until they hatch, unless she has not stored enough fat and is hungry.
  • These animals are nocturnal predators and avoid going out during the day due to extreme heat.
  • They can grow up to six inches long. Not surprisingly, the "giant camel spider" is one of the largest spiders around.
  • Camel spiders are not poisonous, but their bite can be painful.
Macro photo of a camel spider from the Dubai desert

©iStock.com/Sheril Kannoth

evolution and origin

Solifugids, commonly known as camel spiders, are a mysterious arachnid native to deserts around the world (almost everywhere except Australia and Antarctica). It is estimated that there are about 1,100 species, most of which have not been studied.



Camel spiders of North America: systematic revision and biogeography of lesser-known taxa. Solifuges , commonly known as camel spiders, are an important group of arachnids that live in fragile and often dangerous desert habitats.

Camel spiders avoid sunlight, and throughout the day they seek shade or places to burrow. Camel spiders, however, are attracted to light and approach it at night.

Myths, rumors and scientific names

Camel spiders belong to the family Solifugae and the class Arachnida. Although the animal goes by a few other names, including the wind scorpion, the camel spider is neither a scorpion nor a true spider.

The camel spider is the subject of many exaggerated stories, based on a common myth that it eats the inside of a camel's stomach. The legend of the camel's stomach is untrue – but despite the myth busting, the name has stuck to this day, making the name camel spider somewhat misleading.

There are more than 1,000 species of this spider. Galeodes arab, Galeodes caspius , Galeodes granti and Paragaleodes are just a few examples.

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appearance and behavior

©iStock.com/ePhotocorp

Camel spiders are tan and dark brown and have tiny hairs on their bodies. The fine hairs on the camel spider help insulate it from the desert heat. The body color of the camel spider helps it blend in with the dry, hot surroundings. This helps it stay away from predators.

Although it has eight legs, some people mistakenly believe that it has ten because the camel spider has two long pedicles (second pair of appendages) near the mouth. They use these to find and pull their prey.

Camel spiders vary in length from 3 to 6 inches. It weighs about two ounces. If you put three golf tees on the ground end to end, you'd be looking at the length of a 6-inch camel spider. With a tennis ball in your hand, you're holding about as much as a two-ounce camel spider. The camel spider is one of the largest spiders in the world.

Camel spiders can move quickly through desert or scrub habitats. Their top speed is 10 mph — not slow, but only about one-fifth that of a rabbit. Next time you jump in your car, watch the speedometer, it will be moving at 10 mph, which will give you a good idea of how fast this animal is moving!

Some people believe that camel spiders chase humans in order to bite. This is a myth. Yes, camel spiders may follow people, but spiders don't follow people for the sake of biting. In fact, the spider may not know it's stalking a human. You see, a man casts a long shadow.

Camel spiders have been known to follow humans in order to enjoy the coolness of the shadows in hot environments. The person who sees the camel spider following them will most likely start running, and the spider may decide to speed up to stay in the person's shadow! Fortunately, most people can outrun this spider – despite its speed.

Camel spiders are solitary except during mating season. They can also be aggressive if they feel threatened but are rarely seen by humans since they are mostly nocturnal.

Habitat

Camel spiders live in the Middle East, the American Southwest, and Mexico. They live in hot and dry deserts and scrublands.

Camel spiders hide in crevices between rocks and under logs to keep cool during the day when temperatures are at their highest. They hunt at night when the temperature is cooler.

Water is scarce in deserts, so camel spiders get most of the fluid they need to survive as they hunt their prey.

These animals do not migrate. They spend their short lives in deserts or bushes.

diet

What Do Camel Spiders Eat? These animals are carnivores. Some of their prey include lizards, small birds, gerbils, beetles, snakes, and termites. This arachnid can even eat prey larger than itself. Like many other creatures, camel spiders will eat the most abundant prey in their environment.

Camel spiders can sense prey with their palps and grab them with their jaws. They use their digestive juices to turn their prey into an edible pulpy liquid. Pooh!

Sometimes, in deserts and scrublands, camel spiders don't have much to eat. So, these animals store fat in their bodies to nourish their prey when they can't find their prey.

Predators and Threats

Camel spiders have some natural predators, including toads, scorpions, and bats. These three carnivores are nocturnal. Therefore, they are active at the same time that camel spiders are out looking for prey.

Bats using echolocation can find a camel spider and swoop down to pick it up as a meal. Scorpions can subdue camel spiders and eat them. There are also desert toads that are the same size or larger than camel spiders, so they are also capable of catching one of these spiders to eat.

A major threat to camel spiders is starvation. If they can't find prey in the desert and can't store any fat, they starve to death.

However, the official conservation status of camel spiders is of least concern.

©iStock.com/Willem Van Zyl

Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

During breeding season, a male camel spider will chase and mate with a female spider. Once mating occurs, the female camel spider begins to forage for food and store as much body fat as possible. After an 11-day gestation period, she digs a burrow in the ground and lays 50 to 250 eggs in it.

A female camel spider stays in the burrow with her eggs until they hatch. She doesn't even leave the burrow to forage for food, instead she survives on stored fat. In some cases, if a female spider does not store enough fat to survive, she dies in the burrow before the eggs hatch.

It takes three to four weeks for camel spider eggs to hatch. Once they do, these babies, also known as mites, are able to hunt small insects. As they get bigger, they can hunt larger types of prey.

As you can guess, camel spider hatchlings are very small at birth, making them vulnerable to many predators. This is one of the reasons females have so many eggs. It improves the chances that at least some of the baby spiders will grow into adults. A camel spider can live up to a year.

population

These animals are only active at night and hide well during the day. Therefore, the number of camel spiders is unknown.

However, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they fall into the category of least conservation concern.

FAQ

Are Camel Spiders Carnivores, Herbivores, or Omnivores?

Camel spiders are carnivores. They eat lizards, gerbils, beetles, small birds, snakes and termites.

How big is a camel spider?

Camel spiders range in size from three to six inches. But the largest can grow up to six inches.

Why are they called camel spiders?

The creatures got their name from the myth that claims these spiders eat the stomach guts of camels. This is not true. Camel spiders are too small to subdue larger mammals like camels. But even though the myth has been debunked, the name lives on.

Where Do Camel Spiders Live?

Camel spiders live in dry, hot climates. This includes places in the Middle East, Mexico, and the American Southwest. Think of a desert or a bush, and you'll picture camel spider habitats.

Are camel spiders dangerous to humans?

Camel spiders can sometimes be dangerous to humans. If a person spots a camel spider and approaches it, the spider will likely feel threatened and frightened. There is a good chance that camel spiders will bite if the person tries to catch or touch the spider. People who have been bitten by this spider say it is very painful. If you look at a close-up photo of a camel spider's jaw, you can see why it hurts! Note that camel spiders do not have venom. Of course, this bite wound must be treated to avoid infection.

Like many other small animals, camel spiders prefer to be alone and not interact with humans. Unfortunately, many myths about them have been circulating online. Some myths make camel spiders sound ferocious, but they are really interesting creatures.

So if you see one, it's best to leave without trying to harm or capture it. Fortunately, you don't need to get too close to appreciate all the amazing aspects of a camel spider!

See all 228 animals that start with C

Camel spiders are carnivores, which means they eat other animals.

Camel spiders belong to the animal kingdom.

Camel spiders can travel at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour.