Really Big Spiders…

Camel Spiders are nasty little buggers…and they’re not true spiders, but are of a different order of arachnids called Solifugae (“those that flee from the sun”), which includes scorpions and harvestmen.  Unlike true spiders, they lack book lungs. Their common names include not only camel spiders, but also sun spider, sun scorpion, and wind scorpion.

Camel spiders are nocturnal, and seek shade during the day.  They became notorious during the Iraq invasion when coalition soldiers thought the spiders were attacking them when in reality they were seeking out the shade which the presence of the soldiers newly provided. They do not attack prey larger than themselves unless threatened. This does not, of course, mean that one would want to snuggle up to such a spider; they produce no venom, but leave a disproportionately large, ragged bite wound that is prone to infection.  Leg span is up to five inches, and the suckers can run at speeds up to 10 mph.

Many wild and fanciful stories exist about these spiders, including that they leap into the air, disembowel camels, scream, and run alongside moving humvees.  These tales are dubious at best, but those who don’t fancy big spiders are unlikely to test them…

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