Camel Spiders: Their Habitats and Presence in the United States

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Camel Spider

Are you looking to get a camel spider as an exotic pet for your home? You need to know if they are found in your state. So, where do camel spiders live? We give you the complete answer below.

There is a myth that a species of giant spider exists that can grow up to 2 feet and can easily kill a big camel.

These stories directly point toward the camel spiders. You will be relieved to know that the myths are completely bogus and these spiders are not dangerous at all.

But have you ever wondered where these creatures live? Let us find out in this article.

Where Do Camel Spiders Live

Camel Spiders: What Are They Like?

Before we explore where they are found, let’s first make sure that it is a camel spider that you want.

Camel spiders are fascinating species of solifuges that show the characteristics of both a spider and a scorpion.

They are known by different names, like sun spiders, wind scorpions, and more. Unlike most true spiders, the camel spider doesn’t have a silk and venom gland.

They are pretty big compared to most spiders and can show an average growth of 6-8 inches in length.

They also have large legs and deadly jaws, which can be around 1/3rd of their body’s length.

Camel spider populations thrive in hot and fry environments like deserts and scrublands.

There are a ton of myths attached to them. Some believe that they are so poisonous that they can kill a big camel or horse.

This is totally wrong, as these creatures do not have poison in their bodies. They are neither a threat to camels nor are they a danger to humans.

Camel Spider

Are Camel Spiders in The US?

A significant population of camel spiders lives in the southwestern part of the United States. They are used to the arid climate of Arizona.

You can also find camel spiders in Texas, southern Utah, and different regions in California, like Conta Costa, San Joaquin, and others.

Are Camel Spiders in Afghanistan?

Yes, the deserts of the Middle-east are home to some of the biggest camel spider species in the world.

In fact, most of the myths related to camel spiders became popular during the Afgan war.

After the war, people started believing that these spiders lay eggs inside the skin of a camel.

Are Camel Spiders in Australia?

As stated above, they thrive in deserts of the middle-east and the southwestern part of the US, but surprisingly, you won’t find them in Australia.

Apart from that, Antarctica is the only continent that does not have these solfugids.

Where Are Camel Spiders Found?

Camel spiders are usually found in dry and hot areas like deserts and scrublands. Using their ten long pairs of legs, they can move quickly through these terrains at almost 10 miles per hour.

They usually hide under rocks to protect themselves from the heat during the daytime. They are nocturnal hunters; they come out at night to hunt when it gets a little cooler.

Camel spiders don’t migrate; they prefer to live in one area throughout their life.

Camel Spider

How Do They Survive in The Desert?

Camel spiders have evolved several tricks to survive in the harsh climate that they call home. Here are a few of these adaptations:

  • As mentioned earlier, to survive the deadly heat of the desert, the camel spider usually creeps into the crevices between the rocks during day time.
  • Once the sun sets and the temperature goes down, these creatures come out to hunt.
  • Since there is no water in the desert, the spider obtains moisture by killing and consuming prey like small lizards, insects, and small snakes. It injects a fluid into its prey that converts them into liquids and then laps up the liquid remains to get both food and moisture in one go.
  • These spiders are usually tan and dark brown in color, which helps them to blend into the desert environment to stay safe from predators.
  • They have fine hairs on the body, which help them to insulate the deadly desert heat.

Are There Any Other Spiders Commonly Found in Deserts?

Yes, there are several spiders that make deserts their home. Apart from the famous tarantula species, here are a few more you might have heard of:

Black widow spiders

These spiders are usually found around woodpiles, but you can also spot them in all of the major deserts of the US.

Black widow spiders, as the name suggests, are black in color with a reddish-orange spot in the abdomen that looks like an hourglass.

Wolf spiders

Wolf spiders can thrive in almost any and every natural environment. They can survive in deserts, rainforests, suburban areas, lawns, and grasslands.

Some can also be found in high mountains and volcanic lava tubes. Wolf spiders have blackish-brown bodies with long stripes across their entire body.

Dancing white lady spiders

The dancing white lady spider is a type of huntsman spider which mainly found in the Namib desert of Namibia.

They have cream-colored, and their movements resemble dancing and tapping moves.

Immature, female Northern Black Widow

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a camel spider hurt you?

Although camel spiders are not considered a threat to humans, they can bite.
These spiders have extremely powerful jaws that break past human skin.
Camel spider bites are extremely painful and can cause bleeding, swelling, and irritation in the wounded area.

What are camel spiders afraid of?

Camel spiders are afraid of the cold weather, which is why they are often found in deserts.
They are also afraid of the predators like toads, big scorpions, and bats. The tan body color of these spiders helps them to blend in the desert to be safe from predators.

Do camel spiders live underground?

Camel spiders live in the sands of deserts and can dig a burrow to get rid of the heat.
They lay eggs on the desert soil and are usually in constant search of crevices under the desert rocks and abandoned logs that are great for them to escape the desert heat.

What attracts camel spiders?

Camel spiders love to be in the shade during the daytime to escape the nasty desert heat.
They are attracted to spots like crevices in rocks that provide shade. When they come out during the night, they can be attracted to a source of light in the dark.

Wrap Up

Camel spiders are well adapted to the harsh climate of the desert. They have hair on the body, which helps to insulate the heat, and the tan color works well to help them blend in with the surroundings.

Since they don’t migrate, the deserts are their permanent home. We hope this article provided useful information regarding camel spiders. Thank you for reading it.

Reader Emails

Over the years, many of our readers have requested clarifications on where camel spiders live – some out of fear, others because they were looking for exotic pets, and a few simply out of curiosity.

Read on to see why there is so much interest in the subject in the emails below, and just to clarify again: camel spiders are not dangerous to humans!

Letter 1 – Camel Spider, Scorpion and Borer Beetle handled by Jesse in Iraq

 

Hi…

Heres a few pics of my many legged friends from iraq….your site rocks…thanks
Jesse Lopez

scorpion Wood Boring Beetle

Hi Jesse,
Thanks for sending us photos of the creatures you are handling in Iraq. It is nice to see you don’t believe the vicious rumors regarding the Camel Spider or Solpugid. We don’t know much about the Scorpion you are holding, but scorpions are venomous. Only a few species have potentially lethal venom and most are like being stung by a wasp or bee. The large beetle is a Metallic Wood Borer in the family Buprestidae. Stay safe.

Letter 2 – Solpugid from Costa Rica

 

spider-like bug in Costa Rica
hello,
I just came back from my vacation in Costa Rica. One day we found a wierd looking insect on the shower wall. The local guide was not able to identify it. I attached the picture. The length of it was about 1", the colour is slightly darker than on the photo due to the flash effect. I would really apperciate if you identify it. Regards,
Alex

Hi Alex,
This is a Solpugid, a harmless, non-venomous relative of both spiders and scorpions. They are commonly called Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions. In parts of the U.S., they are called Sand Puppies. Solpugids are generally found in arid climates. In the Middle East, they can grow to five inces or more in leg span, and they are called Camel Spiders. There are many false internet stories circulating about Camel Spiders in the Middle East, including debunked letters sent to our own site.

Letter 3 – Solpugid in Tanzania

 

Insect found in Tanzania
Hello,
I made this picture (by nightshot) in the kitchen in Tanzania It was 8 cm long Color was light brown/Grey Do you know what this is??? Allready thanx for your reaction
Gr. Bert Dekker

Hi Bert,
This is a Solpugid, a group of Arachnids, sometimes known as Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions. They are related to both spiders and scorpions, but are harmless venomless creatures. Solpugids in the Middle East grow to five inches across and are called Camel Spiders. There is much incorrect information about them circulating on the internet They are shy and harmless.

Letter 4 – Camel Spider, Scorpion and Borer Beetle handled by Jesse in Iraq

 

Hi…

Heres a few pics of my many legged friends from iraq….your site rocks…thanks
Jesse Lopez

scorpion Wood Boring Beetle

Hi Jesse,
Thanks for sending us photos of the creatures you are handling in Iraq. It is nice to see you don’t believe the vicious rumors regarding the Camel Spider or Solpugid. We don’t know much about the Scorpion you are holding, but scorpions are venomous. Only a few species have potentially lethal venom and most are like being stung by a wasp or bee. The large beetle is a Metallic Wood Borer in the family Buprestidae. Stay safe.

Letter 5 – Solpugid from Afghanistan

 

Afghan Solpugid
I found your site while looking up info on my favorite group of bugs that creep me out, solpugids. I found this one in my command post here in Afghanistan and it scared the crap out of me. Of all the things in Afghanistan to be scared of. Anyway, there are tons of them around here, here being in Laghman province at about 900 feet elevation. This one was pretty small, I think the body couldn’t have been more than an inch and a half long, but the legs make them look a lot bigger. Even small, though, they’re still pretty creepy looking. Thanks,
Jim, CPT USA 710TH BSB

Hi Jim,
Thanks so much for sending your image our way. In the past, we have posted several letters and images of Solpugids from the armed forces that have caused paranoia among our readers. It is refreshing to have your objective letter.

Letter 6 – Camel Spider from Iraq

 

unknown bug
Hi Mr Bugman,
An employee of ours in the Army Reserves was recently deployed to Iraq and sent this picture. I asked him what it was but he has not responded yet. Do you know?
Rhonda

Hi Rhonda,
The Solpugids or Sun Spiders in Iraq are commonly called Camel Spiders and there are many many myths circulating about them on the internet. Though they might bite, they are basically shy nocturnal predators that do not pose a threat to our troops.

Letter 7 – Mexican Solpugid

 

Unidentified scary bug – please help ID!
Hi Mr. Bug Man,
My name is Sara and my fiance recently found a weird and disturbing insect on the bathroom floor. When my fiance tried to coax the insect into a storage container with a pen the insect bit the tip of the pen and refused to let go. My fiance lifted the pen and was able to place the insect into the container while the insect remained attached to the pen. Although you can only see the upper 2 pinching mouthparts of the insect there are 2 more below the top two that move upward so the 4 parts come together to latch onto things like pens and other insects I imagine. We live in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico which is very arrid and located in the Sierra Madre mountain range. My fiance has lived here for 28 years and has never seen one of these insects here and we are hoping you can help us to identify this insect. We are very interested to find out if it is a larvae or adult, if it is dangerous at all and where it likes to live other than our bathroom so we can set it free as I´m sure it doesn´t like life in a tupperware container. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Sara Lerg

Hi Sara,
This is a Solpugid, also known as a Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. It is not an insect, but an arachnid. They are not poisonous, so are harmless to people, though there could be a painful bite if provoked. Insects and other arthropods need to fear for their lives as Solpugids are fierce predators that use those formidible jaws to mangle prey.

Letter 8 – Camel Spider, Scorpion and Borer Beetle handled by Jesse in Iraq

 

Hi…



Heres a few pics of my many legged friends from iraq….your site rocks…thanks
Jesse Lopez

scorpion Wood Boring Beetle

Hi Jesse,
Thanks for sending us photos of the creatures you are handling in Iraq. It is nice to see you don’t believe the vicious rumors regarding the Camel Spider or Solpugid. We don’t know much about the Scorpion you are holding, but scorpions are venomous. Only a few species have potentially lethal venom and most are like being stung by a wasp or bee. The large beetle is a Metallic Wood Borer in the family Buprestidae. Stay safe.

Letter 9 – Solpugid from Baja California, Mexico

 

Freaky orange thang with too many legs!
May 7, 2010
found this freaky bug scurrying on the ground in my house. we live in the desert of baja. it has a big pincher mouth, orangish yet translucent coloring, long legs, two beady black eyes dotted on top of the head, a smaller abdomen and too many legs and just 2 body parts! is this in the spider family? in total, the bug was about the size of a paperclip with long legs. my first instinct was termite, but i googled pictures of termites and it just seems to have a smaller abdomen than most and too many legs!
Baja Bug Girl
San Felipe, Baja California

Solpugid

Dear Baja Bug Girl,
This shy, nocturnal predator is a Solpugid, a fierce hunter that poses no threat to humans since it lacks venom, unlike its Arachnid relatives like spiders and scorpions.  Solpugids have numerous common names including Sun Spiders, Wind Scorpions, Camel Spiders (in the Middle East) and Sand Puppies.

Letter 10 – Solpugid from Ghana: Silly vicious rumor

 

Locals say a bite from this can change your gender!
May 7, 2010
Hi! I live in a rural, arid farm area in northern Ghana. In just the last few days, a friend who lives down the path from me has been visited at night by several of these arachnids in her home, a simple cement structure which is not very well sealed. They have ranged from 2-4 inches long, and I have seen them brown, reddish-brown, and black. They tend to run very quickly around the perimeter of the room, during which time they wave around their long, fat feelers that look like ‘fake legs’ when they are stationary. We showed this picture to some of the local people and got a range of responses, including the idea that if it bites a person, their gender will be changed! One suggested that it will come up to you while you are eating, and when you run away in fear, it will eat your food. More believable, though, is the idea that if it bites you, you can become sick, so if you see one, you just have to… well, get rid of it somehow:) We’d love to know what it REALLY is and if we really are in danger from it. Thanks for your input!
Valerie
North-eastern corner of Ghana, West Africa

Solpugid from Ghana

Dear Valerie,
Your letter gave us quite a chuckle.  This is a Solpugid, a type of Arachnid in the order Solifugae which is profiled on BugGuide.  They are commonly called Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions, though they are neither spiders nor scorpions, nor do they have venom like spiders and scorpions do.  In the Middle East, American soldiers refer to them as Camel Spiders, and the crazy stories about them have returned stateside.  One of our most popular letters is accompanied by an awesome photograph that went viral about four years ago.  [IDEA FOR FICTION:  Titled The Gadfly:  Bugman channels famous entomologists, theorists and authors including Kinsey, Darwin and Nabokov.  This is the first piece of fiction written by Daniel Marlos with the exception of a short story with a biblical theme in The Curious World of Bugs.]  We are highly amused by the sex change rumor, though we suppose it is a good excuse for anyone desiring corrective surgery for gender reassignment.  We would not want to be bitten by a large Solpugid as we are certain the bite will draw blood, but since there is no venom, the only lasting harm is the pain.

Letter 11 – Camel Spider from Saudi Arabia

 

Solifugid
Location: Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia
May 23, 2011 10:07 am
Here is a photo of a Solifugid for your collection. Photo was taken this past week (May 2011) in Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia. The Solifugid was dead when we discovered it.
Signature: cashflyer

Camel Spider

Dear cashflyer,
Thank you for sending us your photo of a Solifugid or Camel Spider as they are known in the Middle East.  Also the inclusion of the currency note for scale is very helpful.

Authors

  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts
Tags: Camel Spiders

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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi,
    this scorpion seems Scorpio maurus kind.

    Venom:
    Mildly venomous, but a painful sting. Harmless for healthy humans. This aggressive species will often use claws for defense, and not use the stinger. LD50 values are reported to be 9.37 – inactive (mg/kg) and 141.6 – inactive (mg/kg).

    olda, Czech Republic

    Reply
  • Easy Writer
    July 20, 2010 5:44 am

    Just wondering about the term solpugid? I am thinking the actual correct term is solifugid. Just wondering?

    Reply
    • Dear Easy Writer,
      YOu are actually correct, but old habits die hard with us. We base our term on Charles Hogue’s Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. The order was formerly known as Solpugida, but BugGuide does not even recognize that name, indicating instead that the order is Solifugae. BugGuide does provide a pronunciation for Solpugid. Though it causes some confusion, it seems both terms are used by reputable sources.

      Reply
  • jose cervantes
    April 7, 2014 1:18 am

    Please help to id. this insect.
    were can a send you a picture?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • jose cervantes
    April 7, 2014 1:18 am

    Please help to id. this insect.
    were can a send you a picture?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • Learn all you wanted to know about Egyptian giant solpugids (camel spiders) with pictures, videos, photos, facts, and news from National Geographic.

    Reply

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