How Big Do Camel Spiders Get? Are They Big Enough to Kill Camels?

Camel spiders are famed for growing to almost half the size of humans, but it is mostly just a myth. So then, how big do camel spiders get in reality? We answer this question below.

Camel spiders are solitary creatures found in the desert regions of middle-eastern countries, southwestern USA, and Mexico.

Several myths related to this creature abound, including one that they are longer than two feet and can grow big enough to eat a camel.

Read on to know more if they are really as huge as internet memes are making them out to be.

How Big Do Camel Spiders Get

Are Camel Spiders Longer Than A Foot?

In most cases, camel spiders do not grow beyond half a foot in length. Their overall weight is also quite low – they weigh only about two ounces.

It is a myth spread during the First Gulf War in 1991 when a widely-circulated image of two camel spiders strung together exaggerated their original size.

They are dark brown or tan with fine hairs running all over their bodies and have four pairs of legs.

Most people confuse their legs for five pairs (10 legs in total), whereas two of them are actually pedipalps (pair of second appendages) used for detecting and hunting their prey.

Camel Spider

How Fast Can They Run?

Camel spiders are also known as wind spiders because they are pretty fast and ‘run like the wind.’ The fastest camel spiders can run at a speed of 10 miles per hour.

It is essential to get clear on how fast they can run because many people mistakenly believe these creatures can run as fast as 30 miles per hour and jump up to 3 feet high!

All this is just a myth; 10 mph is the fastest they have gone to date. Also, they cannot jump.

Where Do Camel Spiders Live?

Sun spiders are commonly found in the deserts of middle east Asia. They love to live in hot and dry regions. Even so, they shy away from the sun and are primarily nocturnal.

In America, they live in the southwestern desert states of the United States and Mexico. They are found in all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

They spend their days hiding under the cracks and crevices of desert rocks to stay cool. They only come out at night for hunting purposes.

Are Camel Spiders Spiders?

The most interesting thing about camel spiders is that they are not spiders at all. They belong to the Solifugae family: part spider and part scorpion. However, they are neither scorpions nor true spiders.

The reason why they are named camel spiders comes from a famous (but made-up) story that they eat up the insides of a camel.

Even though the myth was busted years ago, the name has stuck to this poor creature.

Camel Spider

What Do They Eat?

Camel spiders can eat a variety of creatures, including termites, lizards, gerbils, beetles, snakes, and even birds. Basically – anything they can find in the desert and can easily overpower.

However, they can sometimes also eat up creatures much smaller than their size if there is nothing around them.

For example, they also eat flies and soft-bodied insects, which makes them quite beneficial for humankind.

They use their sensory organs (the pedipalps we mentioned earlier) to detect and hunt their prey.

They hunt by grabbing the creature with their jaws and squeezing it. Then, they use their powerful digestive juices on the poor prey, turning its insides into a liquid that they can easily suck on.

Since there is not much food available in the desert regions, these creatures store fat in their bodies for nourishment, surviving for days without eating anything.

Are They Dangerous?

While there are stories that say that some camel spiders chase humans to give them painful bites, none of them are true.

Firstly, camel spiders are primarily nocturnal, and it is unlikely for us to see them during the day.

Moreover, if you find them chasing you, it is likely that they are looking for shade rather than picking up a fight.

They are not a threat to humans in this sense, but they can give painful bites if threatened.

They do not have venom glands like other spiders, but they are aggressive toward their prey. Hence it is best not to disturb them if you find one.

Camel Spider

Frequently Asked Questions

Can camel spiders hurt you?

Yes, they can if they bite you. In most cases, camel spiders are not aggressive and do not go out of their way to come in touch with human beings.
However, they may chase you occasionally because they are looking for shade. They may also get aggressive and give painful bites if provoked or threatened.

Are camel spiders more giant than tarantulas?

Goliath tarantulas are known to be the biggest spiders in the world of animals. So, camel spiders are not bigger than tarantulas.
Tarantulas aren’t just bigger, they are also stronger than camel spiders. However, camel spiders do have a very strong bite.

What is the predator of a camel spider?

There are many predators who love feeding on these bugs in the desert – some of which include bats, scorpions, and even black widow spiders.
The female black widow spider can easily defeat camel spiders in a fight. Scorpions and bats are nocturnal hunters; it is easier for them to hunt camel spiders.

What are camel spiders afraid of?

Camel spiders may probably be afraid of predators like bats, scorpions, and toads, who hunt these creatures during the night.
But their biggest enemy is starvation because it is not easy to find food in the middle of a vast desert.

Wrap Up

Camel spiders grow to fairly large sizes, but they are not as huge as they are made out to be on internet memes. They are usually nocturnal, and if they see you during the day, they will probably not try to come near you.

However, note that these spiders can give you a painful bite, so make sure to keep away from them and not threaten them in any way.

Thank you for reading!

Camel Spider

Reader Emails

There are a lot of myths about the giant size of camel spiders, and it is no wonder that our readers have also been interested in the topic. Below are a few emails that expose the myths and clarify the truth behind these spiders.

Letter 1 – Solpugid and Masked Hunter

 

Hello folks.
First, let me thank you for your excellent site. I had found a strange little critter in my home office and wondered what it might be. I found it on your site after many others had let me down. It turns out to be a Masked Hunter". Quite the strange little critter. I thought you might get a kick out of seeing some of the photos I’ve taken of both that "masked hunter" and a solfugid which was out on a parking lot near my office.
Here’s the link.
Mostly these photos have been another excuse to play with my digital camera, and the originals of many are in higher resolution than that shown on the site. If you have any use for some of these photos, just let me know.
Thanks again for your informative site.
Jim Harrison



Hi Jim,
Thanks for the photos as well as the advertisement on your site. Sadly, we are currently down, yet again, due to heavy traffic. We will post your photos and letter as soon as September arrives.

Letter 2 – Giant Camel Spider? Internet Hysteria

 

Do you have any information on this kind of spider? Jsandoval Dear Chas, You take the prize for the best photograph ever. Camel Spiders are actually Solpugids, not true spiders and related to scorpions. They are fierce hunters. Here is a letter we received last year that contains opinions and may or may not contain facts. (11/3/2003) Camel Spider I just basically just stumbled upon your website. Very interesting to say the least. Anyway, after looking at all the various insect pictures people have sent in for identification, I thought I would share this picture with you. Seems kind of appropriate for the Halloween season: Well, here is the nastiest creature God ever placed on this earth. This is what I had to deal with while in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm … I present to you the infamous “Camel Spider”. A vicious insect that lives in the middle eastern deserts. Although they are not actually spiders, they resemble a cross between a spider and a scorpion. Also called the sun spider, solpugid, wind scorpion, and a host of other terrible names that do not come close to describing the pure, unadulterated evil that makes up this ‘hell-spawned’ beast. The Camel Spider can grow to the size of a coffee cup saucer , it can run upwards of 5 miles an hour and j ump several feet into the air . That’s not the worst part either. The worst part comes when they catch you. (And they will catch you.) Although they are not poisonous, Camel Spiders will inflict a horrible bite. It will jump on you and run up your back until it finds exposed flesh. If you’re wearing shorts, it will go for your legs; otherwise it may go all the way up to your face or neck . Its mouth opens four ways to become 4 very sharp fangs. If you are sleeping, i t has been known to eat at your face and rip at the flesh. Don’t worry, its saliva will numb the wound almost instantaneously… by destroying the nerve endings. The saliva also inhibits healing. When your nose grows back , it’ll be hideously scarred. I honestly believe if these evil creatures were the size of a German Shepard, they would rule the earth! Ron Larson, Pilot Army Missile Command Redstone Arsenal, AL Hi Daniel, Thank you for the information on Camel Spiders. Actually what happed is my cousin emailed me the “infamous photo” and I was under the impression that one of her GI friends sent it to her, but that was not the case, it is a circulating email. however when I got it I was in awe I’m not a huge fan of spiders in fact they make me very nervous and to see such a picture it really got me, I thought oh my goodness do these spiders really exist and if so can they hurt me? so I started a search one day and found your website and sent it to you so you could sent me more information on the Camel Spider. The only thing I’ve ever heard about Camel Spiders are those stories from GI’s in the Middle East and they all say that the Camel Spider will jump and bite you, you’ll never know it however because of the venom has a numbing affect. So being terrified as I was I wanted to get some expert advice, and I tell you what I am glad I went to your website because this is very, very interesting. Thank you and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the “infamous photo” Chasity Editor’s Update:  Internet Hysteria September 12, 2009 It seems some information we had included in this original posting was lost when our site migrated last year in September.  This image was widely circulated on the internet.  The photo is an excellent example of how to distort size and scale relationships in camera to create the illusion that things appear differently than they really are.  We have all seen the writing on the mirror that claims “objects in mirror are closer than they appear” and the same is true when a wide angle lens is used to exaggerate a scale relationship.  Camel Spiders are big by American standards, but nowhere near the huge creatures that this photograph implies.  We continue to find this photograph highly amusing.

Letter 3 – Solpugid or Camel Spider

 

Solifuge (Wind Scorpion/Camel Spider) Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 4:37 PM Took this in Afghanistan a few years ago. Just figured I would share. Have read a lot of (true) facts on these wild guys but nothing beats seeing one first hand. Although there are a lot of absurd rumors flying around about them, I can attest that this one was very aggressive and very alert to everything going on around it (like my finger.) He/she was being contained in a temperary glass tank after crawling up a guy’s arm one night. TGO Kandahar, Afghanistan
Camel Spider from Afganistan
Camel Spider from Afganistan
Hi TGO, Since they don’t have venom, Camel Spiders are not a threat to humans, but they do have powerful jaws and we would not relish the thought of being bitten.  Thanks for sending your letter and photo.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

2 thoughts on “How Big Do Camel Spiders Get? Are They Big Enough to Kill Camels?”

  1. I truly don’t understand how this is continuously misrepresented as one creature… from the beginning it seems obvious, to me, that one has the other’s abdomen in its jaws, and that they seem tiny compared to the pliers and hand holding it… 🙁

    Reply
    • Dear Javen,
      Thanks for your comment. We tried to make it very clear how a wide angle lens created the illusion of gargantuan Camel Spiders, but everyone on the internet does not visit our website.

      Reply

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