Camel Spider banner
Next Page Texture red3
Other Inverts red

Female Camel spider with eggs showing through its abdomen.

Male Camel spider.

Camel spider also called Wind scorpion, and Sun spider.

When I first saw one of these interesting animals arrive at my local reptile shop I just had to go back and buy one even though I was selfishly thinking of my photography more than the animal, probably wild caught taken from its home.

My camel spiders were very active and always digging, watching this amuses me as it uses all its front legs at the same time to spread the sand away. I felt sorry for it digging and not really getting anywhere and then it started to dig under the Exo water dish. So I thought it would be a good idea to make it some tunnels. I used a piece of plastic tubing, used for plumbing with a 90-degree bend. The tubing is slightly narrower at the width end of the tank and wider for the length which is laid at the back of the tank I then covered it in sand. The spider ran into it straight away and blocked the narrow end, now any cricket or giant mealworm larvae or beetle that entered the tubing did not return and I can hear the crunch crunch of its pray being crushed by its powerful jaws It still digs but a lot less than before.  During the day the spider's enclosure has a higher temperature and a lower temperature in the evenings when I lightly spray with water to increase the humidity to replicate a desert environment.         

Camel spiders although not a true spider are a link between a spider and a scorpion and from a group called Solifugids, this Latin name means "flee from the sun" as they are mostly nocturnal, hiding in holes in the desert by day. They hunt for prey such as insects, reptiles, small birds, and frogs. It said it is said they chase people while making a screaming sound, in fact, they are chasing a persons shadow and if you fall over, it will burrow under you.

The Camel spider has been made more famous from armed forces stationed abroad, which over hundreds of years have found them fascinating creatures. You only have to see pictures and films posted on the web of these animals, set up in oil barrels filled with sand filming these spiders attacking each other or duels to the death with a scorpion. They can run up to 10 mph to catch their prey. They have two pairs of powerful sharp (Chelicerae) jaws to rip open their prey and crush the hardest wing cases of beetles. Their jaws are the first thing you notice as these look odd as they are vertically positioned in front, looking like a pair of pincers which is different from most other Arachnids and insects. The jaws are not venomous but could be a risk from infection to a human. I know when moving the spider for my photography it faces and attacks anything that moves, including me. Dead insects lay around its enclosure and can feel it biting very hard on my paintbrush handle. One time while filming it just would not let go of my brush and moved it into the air still clinging to the brush, pleased it was not my finger.

The spider has two eyes positioned at the top of its head. It is also covered in long fine sensitive hairs and probably helps detect vibrations and prey. Their Pedipalps are very extended which looks like another set of legs and they use it like an antenna. When my spider is hiding inside its tubing often it is just its Pedipalps sticking out when any prey touches them the prey gets zapped with its jaws, hungry or not.

I think the Camel spider photographed on red sand, would not be out of place on a red Mars landscape, as it just looks so alien looking. They are well worth the effort needed to keep these creatures in captivity, similar to keeping scorpions, just mind your fingers. 

Soldier bitten by a camel spider.
There was an interesting article in the press in March 2012 about a soldier Lance Corporal Sammy O'Gorman 28 who was bitten by a Camel spider while on tour in Iraq. It is thought that the bite was infected with bacteria from the spider eating carrion. He had to have 17 operations and three months intensive care to save his life, as doctors had to cut away infected muscle from his leg, leaving a divot in his thigh. And was a three-year battle to get back to 70% fitness.