Are Camel Spiders (Sun Spiders) Poisonous? Truth vs Fiction

You might have heard about huge, scary spiders in the middle east that can kill a man in seconds. But are camel spiders poisonous enough to do this? Let’s bust the myths once and for all.

You might have come across the tales of giant spiders in the deserts of the Middle East that are so poisonous that they can kill big animals like horses and camels.

These giant spiders are camel spiders. But are the stories of these huge and dangerous spiders true? Let us find out.

The social media post that started all the myths

What are Camel Spiders?

The camel spider is a fascinating creature that displays the traits of both a type of arachnid and a scorpion but is neither. It is actually from a group of bugs called Solpugids.

Despite being called a spider, these creatures do not have venom and silk glands like true spiders. 

Similar to scorpions, they have a separate opisthosoma, but they lack the long tail of a scorpion with a stinger.

They are called by different names, including sun spiders, wind scorpions, sand puppies, etc.

Camel spiders can show an average growth of around 6-8 inches in length and have three big, hairy pairs of legs and large jaws that look like pliers.

The middle eastern desert regions are home to some of the biggest camel spiders on the globe. Apart from their fascinating appearance, many myths are associated with these insects.

Let us look at a few of them in the next section.

Camel Spider

Some Myths About Them

After a social media post that showed these spiders from a false perspective, people in the United States started believing that camel spiders can grow up to 2 feet.

Some also think that they are strong enough to kill a horse or a camel.

There are myths that these spiders get their name from the ability to lay eggs under camel skin and then eat it from the inside out.

Many also believe that they cover great distances by jumping and are lightning-fast when it comes to chasing their prey.

One of the most common myths is that these spiders are highly poisonous and can hurt a human by biting the flesh out of them.

These rumors usually started from the Iraq war in 2003. During this time, stories of bloodthirsty camel spiders in the desert became quite commonplace.

But in reality, almost all of these myths are false. We reveal some of the truths about these creatures in the sections that follow.

Do Camel Spiders Bite?

Yes, they can. Camel spiders have strong, plier-like jaws that they can use to bite humans when they feel threatened.

These bugs have an extremely painful bite, which is why you must be careful around them.

They use their jaws to capture and tear the prey to inject digestive juices into them. These jaws are strong enough to break past the human skin as well.

If they bite you, there will be mild to severe bleeding in the wound accompanied by swelling and pain.

Camel Spider

Are Camel Spiders Venomous?

There are a ton of myths related to camel spiders being highly venomous, but thankfully that is not the reality.

Camel spiders are not venomous; they only use digestive juices to kill and liquefy their prey. 

This means even if they bite humans, it won’t cause any lethal damage. However, you will experience a great amount of pain and discomfort.

These bugs usually avoid human contact and want to be left alone, which is why you never approach them recklessly.

Are Camel Spiders Dangerous?

Camel spiders can sound intimidating from afar, but they are not a big threat to humans.

Yes, they are aggressive hunters, but they aren’t big enough to kill a horse or camel. In fact, they rarely attack species that are bigger than them.

Many also believe that these insects are extremely quick. They are fast, but not extremely fast. The maximum speed that they can attain is around 10 miles per hour.

Also, the myth that these spiders lay eggs under the stomachs of camels is completely false. In reality, they lay eggs in the soil, not in camels!

Camel Spider

Can Camel Spiders Hurt You?

As stated above, camel spiders are not venomous, but they can deliver painful bites.

The jaws are strong enough to tear through the human skin and cause problems like swelling, bleeding, and irritation.

Keeping them as pets is a bad idea as they are carnivores and predatory insects with good hunting instincts and aggression. 

Can a Camel Spider Kill You?

No, it is completely false to think that a camel spider is capable of killing a human being.

These insects usually hunt lizards, small snakes, and other insects found in the desert sands. 

However, if you ever get bitten by one, wash the area immediately and apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound.

Once that is done, cover the wound with a bandage; this will eliminate the chances of an infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Wind Scorpions Poisonous?

No wind scorpions are not poisonous. They only use digestive juices for hunting and killing their prey.
However, they have strong jaws and are capable of biting people. The bites are extremely painful. Therefore you should never approach them recklessly.

Do Sun Spiders Bite?

Yes, sun spiders have long and strong jaws that can pierce through the human skin when they bite.
The bites can be extremely painful, but the good news is that these spiders are not venomous. Despite this, you must carefully deal with sun spiders.

Are Wind Scorpions Dangerous?

Wind scorpions are not considered a threat to humans. These insects can inflict a great amount of pain through their bites, but they are not venomous.
There are many myths and stories where it is stated that wind scorpions can kill a horse or a camel, but these stories are completely wrong.

Can you keep a sun spider as a pet?

No, keeping a sun spider as a pet is a bad idea. These insects are highly aggressive and carnivorous in nature.
They hunt lizards, small insects, small snakes, and more. On top of that, they can bite you, which will cause high bleeding, swelling, and irritation.

Wrap Up

According to the myths and stories on social media, camel spiders are monstrous creatures that are very dangerous for humans.

But, the reality is entirely different; these spiders are not venomous at all and do not have the ability fatally hurt a human or other big species like camels.

In fact, they do not even like to be near us. However, they might deliver painful bites if you try to threaten them.

We hope the article was able to bust a few myths that revolve around these fascinating creatures.

Thank you for reading the article. 

Reader Emails

Camel spiders are notorious for a lot of reasons and through no fault of theirs. Many of our readers have asked us questions like the ones above and also shared their own experiences with these creatures over the years. 

Do have a look at these spiders as they actually are, not like the social media posts that have been creating monsters out of them in the emails below.

Letter 1 – Solpugid

 

could you tell me what that is?
I found this bug in the anza borrego desert. Could you tell me what it is? Also, could you recomment a good field guide for spiders???
thanks.
anja.



Hi Anja,
Your arthropod is a Solpugid, known commonly as Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions. They are harmless. Sorry, we don’t know of a good Field Guide for exclusively spiders. You might want to contact the Audubon Guide folks and see if they have one in the works.

Letter 2 – Mesquite Bug and Solpugid

 

Nice colorful bug, Spider
Hi Bugman,
I took a few pictures of bugs and an a spider in Guatemala. Can you identify them?
Greetings
David

Mesquite Bug Solpugid

Hi David,
We got three photos from Arizona on June 21 last year of Thasus neocalifornicus, the Mesquite Bug in the Coreid Bug Family. We haven’t gotten another since. Your colorful bug looks nearly identical to the photos of the Mesquite Bugs we received last June. Insects do not respect international borders, and we believe you have photographed a Mesquite Bug, or a very close relative. Your spider is actually a Solpugid, known as a Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. They are harmless.

Letter 3 – Solpugid

 

insect found in bed!!
Hi! We live in Fort Mohave Arizona. While making the bed today we found this bug.What is it?, it’s about 1" long., with 4 real hard fangs.
Thank you, Shelly



Hi Shelly,
By scrolling down our homepage, you would have found another photo of a Solpugid, also known as a Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. Clicking the Sun Spider link on the left side of the www.whatsthatbug.com homepage will give you additional information.

Letter 4 – Solpugid

 

What’s this bug?
Hi my name is Trevor. I live in Fallbrook California (northern San Diego ,Southern Cal.) I have seen 2 of these little suckers and they seem very aggressive towards people & other bugs? Just wondering what they were…??? Any help would be appreciated!
thanks for your help,
Trevor.



Hi Trevor,
You have a photo of a Solpugid, commonly known as Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions. They are neither spiders nor scorpions, but related to both. They are aggressive hunters and do not have any venom, so they are harmless to people.

Letter 5 – Solpugid

 

What is this???
Hi. I found this odd creature in my Mom’s house in NE Nevada. No one there seemed to recognize it. It looks fierce and was rather aggressive. Seems to have 10 legs, five on each side. What is it????
Thanks
T. Stewart



Dear T.,
You have a Solpugid, a type of arachnid. Though their common names are Sun Spider and Wind Scorpion, they are neither, but related to both. They are not poisonous. They are aggressive hunters and will quickly dispatch any small arthropod they encounter.

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