Neither a camel nor a spider, these arachnids may look scary but they are actually far from the stuff of nightmares – they’re not such a big deal that you’d call pest control on them right away. Camel Spiders, also known as Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions, belong to the Class Arachnida and they neither identify themselves as spiders nor scorpions. In fact, they belong to the Order Solifugae, meaning to say they are a different type of critter all together. Fearsome to look at, they are a good example of the phrase “never judge a book by its cover”. You will be surprised that they are nothing compared to your initial thoughts.
It’s just appearances
Camel Spiders may look like brutes that are ready to have a fight when you pit them with other living things. In actuality however, they are a very nit-picky type of arachnid that demands treatment fit for royalty if one plans to keep one as a pet. They can only reach up to 6 inches in length, far from the size of a human leg. Furthermore, if you look closely at Camel Spiders, they appear to have ten legs. But don’t let it fool you, camel spiders stayed true to their class because they only have 8 legs in total. The extra two “legs” happen to be pedipals, an organ used for sensing their prey. Being effective predators, their jaws, though horrifying to look at, are not designed to eat human flesh. But instead they are for much smaller prey which range from smaller insects to small birds.
Trust us, they are not out to kill you
Hardy in the wild desert, these arthropods are known for their hunting prowess, speed and strong jaws, making Camel Spiders a powerhouse of a predator. And indeed, we are very fortunate that we are not in their menu. These solifugids often avoid hunting larger prey, and would rather choose those that are smaller than them. Its bite is not venomous but do take note that it is very painful and as protocol, have a doctor check on it immediately to avoid further infection. As mentioned before, they run at top speed when chasing down prey, clocking in at 10 miles per hour. When it comes to stalking, no obstacle can get in the way between a very hungry Camel Spider and its prey, since they are also known to be able to climb trees and walls.
“Then we will fight in the shade.”
They have a habit of hiding in their burrows made by themselves and would rather spend most of their time there, only coming out when they have the rumblies (hungry). Camel Spiders are nocturnal and would rather catch their food at night, but when they do come out during the day, what they will instantly do is look for shade. After all, the name Solifugae is Latin for “those who flee from the sun”. So if you see a Camel Spider running after you, don’t panic! It’s only after your shade. You will find that if you stay still, they would too.
So what’s the lesson here? Not everything that looks terrifying posts a threat our lives. Sometimes, they’re just misunderstood. So when you see a Camel Spider after you, help it out by providing it shade from the hot desert sun.
Kimberly Marie Gayeta (Kimmy) is a Communications Degree holder, currently working as an online Marketing Representative for TOPBEST: Pest Control Philippines.