The short answer is no, Camel Spiders are not venomous. This question about the camel spider comes alongside many other myths that arose after NATO soldiers that were stationed in Iraq found this interesting creature and uploaded videos of them onto the internet.
They became viral, famed not only for their strange looks but also their ferocity towards others and were often pitted against each other in a fight to the death! This was a pastime of some people living in Iraq and bets were often taken, so the soldiers joined in to ease their boredom, the same thing happened with British troops in Yemen and WW2 but without the online video, of course!
After seeing videos of this creature on the internet, people were astounded that such an odd looking spider would exist, and this is just another misleading myth about the Camel Spider; it’s not actually a spider although it is closely related.
Let’s take a closer look at the truth, and debunk the myths surrounding the camel spider as you will find the animal is still just as impressive in reality as it is in fantasy!
Camel Spider Myths
As mentioned above, the camel spider is not actually a spider but is mistakenly named as such because it closely resembles one. In fact being an arthropod with eight jointed legs, they are rightly classified as an arachnid and the taxonomical class Arachnida contains many orders including; Acari (ticks), Araneae (spiders), Scorpiones (scorpians).
The camel spider belongs to another order in Arachnida called Solifugae which is made up of over 1000 species within 153 general of what we call “camel spiders”. They’re all very similar in appearance by having a 2 part body: an abdomen and a cephalothorax and most have those oversized mouthparts called chelicerae but they do vary in overall size and coloration.
Another myth surrounding the camel spider is whether or not it has the ability to produce and deliver venom as a hunting or defense mechanic for survival. Taking a closer look at the mouthparts of a camel spider, and comparing them to the mouthparts of other animals that do inject venom through their bite you will see a clear distinct difference.
The camel spider chelicerae are designed to chomp, chew and mash with the use of powerful pincers that are very similar to those of a crab.They do not possess any venom glands nor the jaws or sting to deliver venom so you need only fear their raw bite!
If you do encounter a camel spider in the wild and are bitten, it is likely it will break the skin and may even cause bleeding. You will also experience some inflammation in the bite area due to the tissue damage caused. Just ensure you cleanse the wound like you would any other to keep infection at bay and stem any bleeding if there is and you’ll be fine.
The movements or the camel spiders are rapid much like a spider and this can easily startle somebody who was not expecting to see one. And indeed they have been filmed sprinting for relatively large distances over sand and gravel at seemingly high speeds which has led people to believe that a camel spider could easily outrun a human athlete.
This is far from true as the average maximum human running speed is at 45 km/h, the camel spiders have been recorded running at no more than 16 km/h. Given that it is so much smaller than a human, and most of the time it runs in environments littered with either obstacles or sand, this is still a highly impressive feat.
There have been some misunderstandings about the size of camel spiders, some saying that they can grow to the size of a domestic cat. This probably arises from the fact that they have been recorded eating mice and small rats but it is wholly untrue. The largest of camel spiders have a leg span of 12cm.
This is still pretty big, and any person who is squeamish about creepy crawlies or who has arachnophobia will be in shock to see an arachnid of this size scuttling and darting into some dark corner somewhere.
Number of Legs
They appear to have 10 legs but similar to spiders, the two front most “legs” are actually pedipalps. However, camel spider’s pedipalps are much longer than that of a spider and are used as sensory organs.
Camel Spider Facts
While you are here and have already got the answer to your original question, maybe you would like to stay and find out some more about these fascinating animals? You may be interested in their habitats, diets, and behaviors so stick around to find out more!
Location and Habitat
They live dry and arid conditions and are mainly found in the middle eat but are not restricted there. Other geographic locations they reside in are Southwestern USA, Mexico, Central America, Africa, Asia and some species in Eastern Europe.
The camel spider’s body (tagmata) consists of an abdomen and a cephalothorax which is a thorax and head combination as opposed to insects where the head and thorax are separate. They have 8 legs with two elongated pedipalps. They have two relatively large eyes in the center of their head; their eyesight is said to be somewhat sophisticated for having such simplistic looking eyes.
A camel spider is carnivorous and preys on any moving thing it can get its jaws around; insects, small rodents, and other arachnids are normally on the menu as these are the creatures’ camel spiders are most likely to come across.
If you are interested still and want to see a small camel spider in action, check out the video below which shows a captive camel spider being fed. You can really get to see the mechanical motion of its chelicerae and how it uses them to grip and grind the cricket to pieces.
If you are squeamish, do not press play!