- Size: Up to 6 inches long.
- Color: Brown or beige.
There’s no doubt that camel spiders are unnerving creatures, but realistically, they look a lot scarier than they actually are. After you get past the terrifying, and mostly untrue, myths surrounding these arachnids, you’ll find an arachnid that, while ugly, isn’t quite so intimidating and is actually quite helpful. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you want them creeping around your house. By learning about their habits and features, you can better understand and prevent camel spiders from invading your property.
What Are Camel Spiders?
Camel spiders, also referred to as solifuges, wind scorpions, or sun spiders, are arachnids and, interestingly enough, are neither spiders nor scorpions. These arachnids are in the order Solifugae, which is Latin for “those who flee from the sun.” There are around 1,100 species of solifuges around the world.
Camel spiders likely get their name due to the myth that they jump in the air to disembowel camels and feast on their insides. Despite their ominous reputation, camel spiders aren’t in the habit of disemboweling camels, and they’re also non-venomous. In fact, they primarily feast on small snakes, lizards, and insects, avoiding any prey that is bigger than they are. They have a digestive enzyme that liquefies their prey’s flesh, making it easier to feed.
What Do Camel Spiders Look Like?
Upon first glance, it looks like camel spiders have 10 legs, but two of those appendages are actually sensory organs known as pedipalps. They can grow to up to 6 inches long, weighing in at around 2 ounces. A camel spider’s head creates a point, which is where their jaws, or chelicerae, meet. Their jaws can reach up to one-third of their entire body length, and each one has a powerful pincer at the end. The body and legs of camel spiders are covered in tiny hairs, and they usually have either a brown or beige coloring.
Where Do Camel Spiders Live?
Camel spiders thrive in arid regions all over the world. They can be found in the tropical and subtropical regions of North America, South America, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Africa. Put simply, they prefer warm, dry environments, such as deserts, but they can also be found in some forest or grassland habitats. You’ll most often see camel spiders in the Middle East, but they are also prominent in Mexico and the southwestern United States.
Problems With Camel Spiders
Camel spiders are aggressive and fast, capable of reaching speeds of up to 10 mph. When threatened, camel spiders can inflict a painful bite, but other than that, they don’t pose any real danger to humans. In fact, camel spiders are often viewed as helpful because of their predatory activity. Though their bites are non-venomous, they can become infected if left untreated.
The scariest part about the camel spider is the outlandish myths surrounding it. Some of these myths exaggerate the camel spider’s size, while others claim that they chase humans (and at terrifying speeds), scream, and even feast on camels and humans. Luckily, the majority of these stories are either untrue or misunderstood.
- Camel spiders may run after humans to enjoy the shade they provide, but they are not looking to attack.
- Camel spiders don’t scream, but some may hiss when in a defensive mode.
- Though they do run fast for an arachnid, camel spiders aren’t capable of running up to 30 mph or jumping 3 feet in the air. In fact, they rarely jump at all.
Camel Spider Prevention and Control Strategies
Typically, the presence of camel spiders increases during mating season and subsides shortly after. A few of the ways that you can control the population of camel spiders in and around your home include:
- Address the presence of other pests. Since camel spiders feed on other insects, getting rid of one pest can help prevent the other.
- Vacuum and sweep closets and rooms that are rarely disturbed. Keeping seldom-used areas of the house clean and fresh will not only disturb their hiding places but will also help you identify fresh spider activity. You should pay special attention to corners where the floor and wall meet.
- Remove trash and vegetation around your house. Camel spiders seek cool, shady places, so a great way to deter them is by getting rid of those environments around your house’s windows, doorways, and foundation.
- Seal joints, gaps, and cracks in your home’s exterior. You can make sure that camel spiders are unable to enter your home by caulking any openings around your door and window frames. Additionally, you can seal the gaps between your door frame and door by applying weatherstripping. If you discover a gap between your door and the floor, placing draft guards on the bottom of your exterior doors can help eliminate this entry point.
- Eliminate clutter in your attic and basement. Reducing the potential hiding spots in your home is key to preventing a camel spider infestation, so try to get rid of the clothes and boxes in your basement and attic. It can also be helpful to move any boxes away from the walls and, preferably, off the floor.
Due to their speed and ability to blend in with their surroundings, it can be difficult to locate camel spiders after they take up residence in your home. Most of the time, getting rid of their food sources, which are conveniently other pests, will eliminate their presence in your house. If you are having trouble controlling the infestation of camel spiders on your property, it can help to get the experience and expertise of a professional pest control agency.