What is a spider camel?

The camel spider, also called the wind scorpion, is an arachnid but not a spider. It cannot weave a web and has no poison. Shadow-seeking camel spiders, called solpugids, occupy desert regions across the world.

Camel spiders reach a length of about 12.7 cm with their legs outstretched and are slightly less frightening than their reputation.

In fact, camel spiders are not spiders.

The folklore began in 1991 with American soldiers during the Gulf War and was revived in 2003 when the United States returned to Iraq. Soldiers reported that spiders ran across the sand directly towards them as if they were attacking. In fact, camel spiders run after the shadow and look for the shadow created by the soldiers. Misinformation about camel spiders was running rampant with rumors of their ability to run 40 km/h, leap several meters into the air, lay eggs in a camel’s stomach, and even inject anesthetic venom into sleeping soldiers to surreptitiously suck up pieces of meat.

Folklore about the camel spider is not limited to the Middle East. In Mexico, the camel spider’s name, matevenados, is translated as “deer killers”.

Camel spiders can be found in the desert terrain of the Middle East.

Camel spiders can reach speeds of 16 km/h, leap to modest heights, and are aggressive, though they are not the superswords of myth. Camel spiders feed on invertebrates, insects and even small reptiles. They have huge crushing jaws that must work quickly because they have no venom to subdue their prey. Finally, camel spiders are so named, not because they feed on camels, but because they are found in the same desert climates as the camel.

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Camel spiders occupy desert regions.

It’s no wonder that the camel spider is the source of many exaggerated tales with its impressive speed, generous size, and huge, protruding jaws. The incredible camel spider brings to mind things from movies like Starship Troopers, which pit humanity against worlds where giant arachnids rule. But, at least for now, the camel spider remains a mere shadowhunter, running across the sands for another meal that will likely have at least 4 legs, if not 6 or 8. And that’s good news for us.

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