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Why Are Camel Spiders Called Camel Spiders?

Why Are Camel Spiders Called Camel Spiders?

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

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Camel spiders look incredibly intimidating and many people get a bit scared when they see one. These spiders are quite big and have a tan appearance.

The fact that camel spiders are very “hairy” helps add to their image as creepy spiders that most people would like to avoid. They look so terrifying that many people assume that camel spiders are quite dangerous.

There are many stories out there about how the camel spider’s name came to be. Some tall tales have been told that lead people to believe that camel spiders are named the way that they are because they consume the stomachs of camels.

This simply isn’t true and they aren’t nearly as aggressive or scary as many people make them out to be. Even so, you’re likely wondering why they’re even called camel spiders in the first place.

Read on to learn a bit more about camel spiders, how they got their name, and other interesting tidbits that you should know. You’ll be much more informed about these scary-looking spiders once you’ve read all of the information.

How Camel Spiders Got Their Name

It is believed that camel spiders got their name because of the aforementioned myth about the spiders consuming the stomachs of camels. This is a myth that spread over time and made the camel spiders seem fiercer than they really are.

People often believed the tall tales about camel spiders because of how terrifying they look. These spiders are nightmare fuel for people who are afraid of arachnids.

There is a possibility that there’s another reason why these arachnids became linked with camels. Some have speculated that people might have seen camel spiders regularly hiding underneath camels because they were looking for shady spots.

You’ll find that camel spiders do their best to stay out of the sun. Whether this has anything to do with the name coming to be is unclear, but most agree that the popular myth about these arachnids is what caused the name “camel spider” to stick.

The camel spider name is actually a bit of a misnomer when you dig into the details. Not only is the name based on a myth that isn’t true, but these arachnids aren’t technically spiders either.

You might not be aware of this, but all spiders are arachnids and not all arachnids are spiders. Camel spiders aren’t spiders at all and are in fact classified as solpugids.

The scientific name for the camel spider is Galeodes arabs. It’s a lot different from the myths that have been made up to make it seem scarier than it is.

Camel Spiders Are Carnivorous

Despite the myths about camel spiders being mostly untrue, it is true that camel spiders are carnivorous. Camel spiders will eat things such as lizards, small birds, rodents, and insects.

However, the camel spider isn’t going to be able to eat prey as large as the ones talked about in the myths. Simply put, a camel spider is not going to be attacking humans or camels when looking for a meal.

This doesn’t mean that the camel spider isn’t an impressive carnivore, though. Camel spiders have strong jaws that help them to make short work of prey.

Although these arachnids aren’t venomous, they’re able to use their digestive fluids to liquefy flesh. They then suck the prey into their stomachs.

This likely doesn’t make the camel spider sound any less scary to you. However, you need to consider that camel spiders aren’t going to be doing this to large animals.

They hunt prey like many other types of arachnids. It looks pretty nasty, but it isn’t any more dangerous than most average spiders.

Why Did Camel Spiders Become Famous Online?

It’s possible that you might remember pictures of camel spiders circulating online in the early 2000s. These arachnids became well known during that time online because of American troops encountering them while stationed in Iraq.

Originally, troops encountered camel spiders during the Gulf War in the ’90s. They brought back stories of fairly big, intimidating spiders when they returned from that war.

The Internet as you know it today didn’t exist during the Gulf War. When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started, the Internet was much more advanced and closer to what you know now.

People posted about camel spiders on message boards and shared photos of the camel spiders on blogs. Troops would often doctor photos or use unusual perspectives to make the camel spiders appear to be bigger than they really are.

Generally, a camel spider will grow to be about six inches in length. This means that you could squish a camel spider underneath your boot if you have average-sized feet.

Many of the pictures being shared online of these spiders made them appear to be much larger than that. Essentially, people were playing up how scary camel spiders were and a lot of people believed them without looking into it.

The tall tales about camel spiders don’t just come from American troops, though. Many Arabic individuals would also tell people myths about the camel spiders to get them going.

Why would people do this? Well, it’s assumed that many just thought that it would be funny to make the camel spiders appear to be a big threat.

That’s not to say that troops stationed in Iraq weren’t afraid of the spiders. Some people just don’t like spiders and having to see fairly large spiders on a semi-regular basis might have bothered them.

The vast majority of people who spent time in areas where camel spiders were present just got used to it. Eventually, you realize that camel spiders aren’t a real threat and that they’re more likely to run away from you when discovered than to do anything else.

How Fast Are Camel Spiders?

The speed of camel spiders has become a bit of a myth as well. People have lied and said that camel spiders are capable of running really fast and that they leap into the air at humans.

A camel spider is indeed quite fast when compared to other arachnids. It’s possible for a camel spider to reach a top speed of ten miles per hour.

The myths that people have heard say that camel spiders are much faster than that. They try to say that camel spiders can run as fast as thirty miles per hour, but this simply isn’t true.

Camel spiders aren’t capable of any significant leaps either. The myths say that camels can leap up to three feet in the air, but they aren’t actually able to jump very well at all.

Camel Spiders and Screaming Sounds

Have you heard the myth about camel spiders making screaming noises? This is likely another myth where people are just making things up to try to scare others.

Generally, camel spiders are going to be very quiet. However, there are certain species that will make hissing noises when they feel threatened.

The hiss is a way to try to get predators to back off. You might notice some camel spiders hissing when they’re confronted or when you’re trying to kill them, but even this isn’t common among all camel spiders.

You certainly won’t hear any noises that resemble screams coming from camel spiders. The myths about spiders that scream like banshees are simply spooky tales that have no basis in reality.

Camel Spiders Are Also Called Wind Scorpions

Did you know that some people refer to camel spiders as wind scorpions? It is assumed that they got this name in certain regions of the world due to how speedy they are.

As mentioned earlier, camel spiders are quite fast for arachnids. They can reach a top speed of ten miles per hour, and that might make it seem as if they’re as fast as the wind to some people who are used to seeing slower arachnids.

Final Thoughts

Learning about camel spiders should help you to feel less afraid of them. If you happen to come across a camel spider somewhere, then you don’t need to worry about them.

Generally, these arachnids are harmless and won’t try to attack people. They aren’t venomous and you’re not going to die if you get bitten by one.

This doesn’t mean that camel spider bites don’t hurt, of course. Don’t try to pick a camel spider up if you happen to see one.

If you’ve come across pictures online that make camel spiders seem gigantic, then you should know that they really aren’t that big. Most camel spiders will be around six inches in size, and the pictures you see online are often done with unusual perspectives to make camel spiders seem larger than they really are.

Why camel spiders have so many myths surrounding them is unclear. Perhaps it’s because they look intimidating or maybe it’s just because people like making up stories to try to scare others.

Either way, the name camel spider wound up becoming common because of a falsehood. These arachnids don’t eat camel stomachs and they really aren’t that dangerous despite looking pretty nasty.