Have you heard about these incredible, huge spiders that can scream while hunting humans – it seems too horrible to be true! Do camel spiders scream, or is it just an internet-created myth?
Camel spiders are an interesting species of arachnids found mostly in Middle East Asian desert countries.
In America, you might come across them in our own southwestern desert states like Texas and California. They are even present in some parts of Mexico.
They are called by several names, such as wind scorpions or sun spiders.
Many urban legends are attached to these creatures, but none is as famous as their purported ability to scream while chasing their prey!
To answer upfront, no, camel spiders do not scream. They may create certain sounds due to a technique called stridulation. Learn more in the article below.
Do Sun Spiders Scream?
Sun spiders, commonly known as camel spiders, look fearsome and intimidating at first glance. However, in reality, they are pretty harmless to human beings.
They are not true spiders, despite the name. They belong to the species of Solifugae order. The word itself means “those who hide from the sun” in Latin.
The myth is that camel spiders scream at people as they chase them. No species of camel spider does this!
Some may hiss, but not even a group of sun spiders can scream at you, and most likely, these spiders will never chase you, either.
Do They Make Any Sounds?
Both male and female camel spiders make buzzing or clicking sounds. Many people mistakenly believe these are screaming sounds because it can be disturbing to human ears.
However, the sound is made during stridulation, when they rub certain body parts together. This is exactly how crickets make their chirping noise.
In the case of camel spiders, they click their mouthparts, known as chelicerae, to make a buzzing sound.
They also use their mouths for mating and catching and tearing their prey, so it is advised to keep your distance from them.
Do They Chase Humans?
Many people mistakenly feel that camel spiders chase them to bite, which is untrue.
They are nocturnal animals who live in the middle-eastern deserts, and as such, it is rare for them to come across humans anyway.
They only come out at night to hunt but would chase the light if you hold its source in your hand or are close to it.
If you are out in the sun and a camel spider is chasing you, understand that they are trying to shun the sun. Yes, they only want to hide from the hot desert sun, nothing more!
They will move with you if you move, and they will imitate you when you stop and stand in one place.
What Do They Eat?
Camel spiders are unlike common spiders who weave webs all day and then sit back to watch their prey fall into their trap.
They are hunters, so they like to go out and grab their prey between their mouths. They are omnivores and can eat almost anything on the planet.
They can run as fast as 10 miles per hour, so they can easily catch lizards, insects, rodents, small birds, etc., anything they can find near them.
They use their mouthparts, known as chelicerae, to cut through the bones and squeeze the body of their prey.
Since it is difficult to find prey in the middle-eastern desert, many camel spiders keep fat stored in their body in case they starve for a long time.
Are They Dangerous?
Unless you are a lizard, insect, bird, rodent, or any creature that camel spider can bite into, you are safe from them.
They are also incapable of eating up a human or a camel, despite the myths. They cannot prey on species that are much larger than them.
While they are not lethal to human beings, they sure can put their mouth to use and give painful bites if threatened or disturbed.
However, the bites are not poisonous since they do not have venomous glands.
So, you will be fine, but if you are allergic to insect bites, you should seek medical help if these creatures bite you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any spiders that scream?
Spiders do not have vocal cords and, thus, cannot scream. They can make purring or hissing sounds to communicate with each other or threaten potential danger or predators.
They make these sounds through the process of stridulation, rubbing their chelicerae together, especially to seek out mates during the breeding season.
Do camel spiders bark?
The barking spiders, such as Queensland Whistling Tarantula, can make noises that seem close to barking but are not like a dog’s bark.
Like camel spiders, these creatures also create sounds through stridulation but are much louder. However, camel spiders cannot bark.
Can a camel spider hurt you?
A camel spider can only hurt you through its painful bite. They are not venomous.
So, unless you are allergic to insect bites, you will be fine though you may remain uncomfortable until the pain subsides.
What is the scariest spider?
The Black widow is the scariest spider in the United States. They kill their mates and even give painful bites to humans if disturbed or provoked.
They are also reported to be 15 times stronger than an average rattlesnake.
The bottom line is that camel spiders may alarm you at first sight, but they are only coming after you because they need shelter from the sun. And no, they do not scream but rub their mouthparts through stridulation.
The several myths that surround these spiders have often caused our readers to consult us about the nature of these beasts.
In the emails below, you can read about some of their thoughts and also the discussion about how these poor creatures have been maligned for too long with whimsical ideas like their screaming and giant size.
Do go through for an interesting discussion!
Letter 1 – Solpugid
Well, once again you guys have ID’d the bug for me. I moved into a daylight basement earlier this summer and after doing my usual announcement to all bugs living in my apartment (“Hey, I’ll leave you alone if you leave me alone – if I find you on my person, you’re dead, but otherwise go about your business – unless you’re a black widow or a mosquito, then, ya gotta die.”) I’ve met plenty of new “friends” that I have id’d on your website and deposited outside (house centipede, wolf spider, etc.). My most recent find is the Solpugid on the attached photo. I actually first met him late Friday night/early Saturday morning on the floor of my bathroom (may I recommend against Limoncello/Tequila shots?). I was contemplating finally getting off the floor and into my bed, so I cracked an eye and shifted my weight and away ran one of the funkiest looking spider things I’d ever seen. I decided I no longer wished to share space with something so icky, so I went to bed. Monday evening, I was re-arranging pillows on my couch, and lo there was my spider friend. He held obligingly still for me, so I took his photo and looked on your website. I know you guys say he’s harmless to humans – but with pedipalps and chelicerae like that? Heebie Jeebie city. I popped him outside where he promptly ran into a hidey hole. I hope he stays there and eats lots of pest bugs. As usual I shared my new bug story with my friends. Here is my friend Josh’s reply after he checked out the Solpugid on the first page of your website: Ok, Mary? Uh, I don’t want you to think I don’t love you or anything. Because I totally do. It’s just that, well, I looked at the picture of your spider and…hoooo this is tough. Ok, I just don’t really think I can go inside of your house ever again. There, I said it…. Heh, weenie.
If that weenie Josh can’t deal with a harmless Solpugid, just kick him to the curb and find some new friends that are your match in wit and courage. Also you should tell him that he might want to relocate away from Reno as chances are pretty good there are a dozen or so within 100 feet of him at this very moment.
Letter 2 – Solpugid
So… yeah, what’s this bug?
Found this thing walking around my basement and my friends and I have no idea what to think about it… I’m sure you know, so please inform! All I know about it is that it is a really poor climber and would not attack a beetle.
Your creature is an Arachnid known as a Solpugid, commonly called Wind Scorpions or Sun Spiders, though they are neither scorpions nor spiders. They have no venom, but powerful jaws and rip their prey apart. It is rumored they are excellent climbers, contrary to your observation. They are also aggressive hunters, contrary to your observations.
Letter 3 – Solpugid
I found this freaky looking crittur waddling across the floor of a laundromat in Pocatello, Idaho. She has eight legs like a spider, gigantic feelers (antennae), and a huge rear end, along with a very vicious-looking mouth. It is 1 inch long (not counting legs), walks fairly slow (maybe two feet a minute), and looks pregnant. I had to flip it over so you could see its mouth. It’s a little hard to see the third leg up from the back. Those appendages in the front are the feelers. I’ve never seen any bug like this before. Do you know what it is? Also, is it dangerous?
We’re cleaning house here at What’s That Bug? and have been posting letters which slipped through the cracks earlier. Solpugids are not dangerous. Looks like David shot this dead specimen on some laundry.
Letter 4 – Solpugid
Can you name this insect for me…?
I recently moved to Phelan, California back in January. This area is considered a High Desert. Just in the last couple days we have been seeing a lot of these guys. They seem to be really smart and look like they are ready for a fight…lol. They use their two large front "arms", for lack of a better word, to climb, no more like scale a vertical wall. If you could give me a clue to what they are and if they are poisonous. I appreciate your help. Thanks…
Attached are a few photos I took in the bath tub before releasing him back into the desert.
The Solpugid is not an insect, it is an arachnid. It is related to spiders and scorpions, hence its common names Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. In some places they are called Sand Puppies, but they are not related to dogs. Unlike Spiders and Scorpions, Solpugids do not have venom. They are harmless unless you are small enough to be considered food, in which case gram per gram, they might be the fiercest predators on the planet. We are lucky they don’t weigh 150 pounds. They will eat anything they can catch, which is a benefit in the desert.
Letter 5 – Solpugid
It has what I believe to be 8 legs and 2 mandibles… July 20, 2009 It has what I believe to be 8 legs and 2 mandibles, along with 2 skinny black fangs. it has a roundish head and long torso. Topside is dark ,probably black, with a yellow underside. The body itself is probably and inch in length, but the mandibles are huge and the legs would be long unbent. This bug was very fast and even juked me out as i tried to capture it. I would see it crawl into a corner, and i think it would go under the border of the wall as it would come back out behind me. Robert Thomas Ezekiel Pohlman Northern California, USA Hi Robert, This is a fierce but harmless Solpugid, sometimes called a Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. It has no venom. The recent untimely demise of one individual by Creeped Out in Colorado Springs resulted in our Sixth Nasty Reader Award.