Camel Spiders

Do Not Let the Name Fool You

Is it a scorpion or a spider?

The camel spider has the characteristics of both a spider and a scorpion. The camel spider has a distinctly segmented opisthosoma (posterior) that resembles a scorpion, but without an elongated tail equipped with a stinger. Camel spiders breathe with a trachea, like that of a scorpion, which allows for fast oxygen intake thus helping them move quickly. Camel spiders have been recorded running up to 10 miles per hour.

Most often found in dry climates deserts in Middle Eastern countries, southwestern United States, and Mexico, camel spiders prefer to hide in crevices between rocks as well as under logs and within underground burrows to keep cool when daytime temperatures are their highest. They hunt at night when the temperatures are not as hot. Camel spiders are primarily nocturnal and flee from the sun.

Some believed the camel spider got its name because it eats the insides of a camel’s stomach. Not true. However, camel spiders are known to chase camels’ shadows to enjoy the coolness of their shade, while hiding from the sun.

Interesting Facts

  • Camel spiders have 8 legs
  • Camel spiders are not venomous
  • Camel spiders grow to 6 inches in length
  • A camel spider is tan and dark brown in color
  • The fine hairs on the body of a camel spider help to insulate it from the desert heat
  • Camel spiders are not aggressive towards humans, but if cornered or threatened they will bite
  • Camel spiders eat everything from termites, wasps, beetles, insects, bugs, lizards, and silverfish to scorpions, spiders
  • Predators – Toads, Scorpions, Bats

Camel spiders are solitary animals, except for mating. After an 11-day gestation period, the female camel spider digs a burrow in the soil and lays from 50-200 eggs in a single nesting. She will reside in the burrow until her eggs hatch surviving on stored fat. Three to four weeks later the eggs should hatch. Camel spiders have a lifespan up to one year.

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