Hell hath no fury like a Camel Spider?

I just read Doug’s reply to the question of how likely spiders are to bite, which reminded me of a story I heard a few weeks ago. Apparantley a friend of a friend that lives in southern Arizona was unexpectedly attacked by a giant spider that bit him on the face. After brushing off the spider onto the ground, the victim claimed that the spider had 10 legs, 2 of which were raised in the air. The spider then hissed like a snake, and ran after the victim, chasing down and catching a 20 year old man running away at full sprint, bit him on the leg, then ran away after being shook off. The victim then drove himself to the hospital after the spider caused deep, tearing gashes that felt numb like the spider had novacaine for venom.

My friend said that this spider was called a Camel Spider, and is a native of the middle east. Apparently the spider was introduced to the Americas along with equipment that was brought back from the Gulf War. I am skeptical, but just as much out of fear as of logical doubt. Is there really a 10" arachnid out there that can run faster then an olympic sprinter, bite harder than a rottweiler, hisses like a rattlesnake, and has the cajones of a cornered badger?? Please respond ASAP, so I know whether to cancel the order on a gross of industrial strength Raid…

There is such a beast and it sounds nasty. A Google search revealed this:


There are things called Camel Spiders but they don’t have 10 legs and can’t outrun an olympic sprinter.

They are mean and can deliver a flesh rending bite though.



They also run/attack with two legs in the air, so that part is true too.

About 1/2 way down this page are some great pix too.


Turns out it is not exactly a spider, but something other than spider or scorpion in the Solifugae family

Did I say scary?

can you believe what that page says??!

They grow to the size of a dinner plate (about 8 inches in diameter)

They have 4-way mandibles, which are considered the strongest for its size ON THE PLANET

Their front legs have suckers to help attach them to your face… ahem, their prey

They can traverse the desert at about 30 mph

They scream like a strangled rat while charging.

When they’re hungry, they’ll eat until their belly is so distended they can’t move

They’re always hungry

They’ll attack ANYTHING that invades their territory

They are nocturnal, so they can go prey on innocent large mammals when they sleep


They won’t try to eat an active animal, but they will bite

Their saliva has a strong anesthetic that corrodes your nerve endings, meaning YOU DONT FEEL IT EATING YOUR FACE
Is your vision blurring? That’s probably the camel spider EATING YOUR EYEBALLS!!!

They like shade, especially the red glow of military vehicles

They also like to crawl all over mosquito netting, yeah, the kind you use to sleep in

Fortunately, they dont’ bite through your netting to feast on you

They are indigenous to the middle east, AND THAT IS WHERE THEY SHALL REMAIN!!!
8", 30 MPH??!!! anesthetic venom, and they eat until the disentend themselves??!
I didn’t believe it was true, now i am glad i live in the schizophrenic weather of ohio. From what that page says, they are still only found in the Middle East. But it does seem plausible that an animal like that could survive in the Southwest. There are also alot of military bases there that store alot of the equipment used in the Gulf. It seems plausible that a few of these things could have stowed away in a Hummer or B-52 or something. Any proof on whether these things can be found in the U.S now or not??

I think there is some exaggeration on the previous site, but much is true.

All the Solifugidae are predators, most species will eat anything, for the larger species this includes mice and even lizards.


I seem to count 10 legs in each of these photos too. Or are there “fake” legs? God, I hope I never see one of those up close!


They appear to have ten legs, but upon closer inspection the first pair of legs are not legs at all but pedipalps… They have an insatiable appetite and sometimes gorge themselves until almost ready to pop.

Upton County, Texas, USA.

Oh I dunno, they look such cute, cuddly innocuous creatures, what’s all the fuss about?

mnemosyne, what you’re counting as another set of legs are called “pedipalps”, short leglike appendages that the spider uses to manipulate the food near its mouth. Some spiders also use them for reproduction. They don’t really count as legs, probably because they’re not used for locomotion.

OK, all my desire to move to a warmer, drier climate have now been violently replaced by a desire to never, ever go to Texas.

This site is quite informative and is on the side of the “Children of the Earth”.

One important fact is that they’re not really out to get you, but can appear that way since they will seek your shadow.

Couldn’t find any sites on the actual speed, just a bunch of references of ‘running like the wind’.

I did find this which indicates that it is unlikely that Solifugae can run at 30mph.

[sub]I also doubt that they ‘scream like a strangled rat while charging’.[/sub]


“The bugs here are starting to wear on my nerves. The camel spiders hide on the shelves above my cot as if in ambush. You can hear them run across the floors as you sleep and when you try and step on them, they stand up to you, darting at you making a squealing sound. Some guys sleep under their bug nets hoping to keep them out. I sleep without a net. I figure the net will just piss them off and I don’t want to be trapped inside a net with an angry camel spider.”

"They can produce a twittering sound by rubbing their chelicerae together.

They have an insatiable appetite and sometimes gorge themselves until almost ready to pop

Solifugids exhibit interesting behaviour patterns. They are called hair cutters because it is said that if a solifugid gets tangled in hair it will cut it’s way free. Although this has never been substantiated they do make nests out of animal hair and there have been reports of people and pets loosing small patches of hair due to these animals. When active during the day they avoid the hot patches of ground and run from shadow to shadow even if the shadow is made by a human. When the human moves, the solifugid moves into the shadow. This gives the impression that the animal is chasing the human thus solifugids are commonly called hunting spiders."

Just to throw yet more annecdotes into the thread, I was in Desert Storm and these damn things are unreal. One of our guys used to go out at night with night vision goggles on whilst armed with a wrist rocket slingshot. He’d look around until he spooted one and then start shooting metal balls at the damn things. Fast? Yep. DAMN fast. And very durable too. I dropped a metal toolbox on one that was cruising through our tent and it half crushed it. The next morning, it was still trying to crawl away. :eek:

Of course, the best thing about them was killing them with bugjuice and then scaring the hell out of people with them. We put about six of them on a box right next to my buddies face, about eight inches away, and then woke him up. That’s the first time that I’ve EVER seen someone literally jump from a supine position into the air and backwards through a tent wall.

Okay. I’ll stop now.

I hate all of you. ALL of you. I won’t be sleeping well tonight.

And screw all of you for making me follow every link.