Facts and Myths: Sun Spiders Are Real but Not That Deadly!

 Kevin Brown
  Jan 11, 2019

If you do not have serious interest in Entomology, then you might have heard about sun or camel spiders when they became an internet sensation in 2003. Photos of the big camel spiders half the size of a human were circulating on the internet along with some horrifying tales which depicted them as large and venomous predators. While there is no doubt about their amazing predatory skills, the stories about them eating humans and camels are all rumours. Sun or camel spider is just an ordinary spider that is going through the world minding its own business.

Sun Spider

Sun spider is also known as camel spiders, and wind scorpions. They belong to Solifugae order of animals that belongs to class Arachnida. Solifugae is Latin for “those who flee from the sun” which explains their tendency to avoid the sun and search for shade.

Physical Description

Sun spiders are large, hairy, tan and look ferocious. They have 8 legs and 2 extra appendages called pedipalps that look like legs. These spiders can reach the length of 6 inches or 15 cm and they weigh around 2 ounces. In front, they have two large chelicerae that serve as their jaws which they use to catch the prey. These chelicerae are almost one-third of the spider’s total body length.

Habits

Sun spiders are found in Middle Eastern Desserts most commonly and also in some regions of the Southwestern United States and Mexico. These spiders feed themselves on bugs, lizards, small birds, and rodents. Contrary to popular belief, sun spiders are not venomous. They capture the prey with their powerful jaws and turn the prey into pulp by chopping or sawing its body with jaws. Then they use their digestive fluids to liquefy the flesh of the victim making it easy to digest. Sun or camel spiders can run very fast as compared to other spiders; almost 10miles per hour. They breathe with their trachea which enables them to inhale oxygen very fast and move quickly.

Popular myths about Sun spider

In 2003, when the US invaded Iraq, the internet flooded with pictures of giant Camel spiders that are as long as a human leg. There are many popular myths regarding camel spiders due to the urban legends that exaggerate their speed and size.

You might have heard that Camel spiders chase humans but it is a myth. These spiders do run after people but it is never the person they are chasing, it is their shadow. During the day, camel spider tends to avoid the sun hence they seek the solace in shadows. At night, they are attracted to the light.

The very old myth that these spiders eat camel’s stomach might be the reason behind their name. But obviously they do not eat camel’s stomach; it is just their search for the shadow which makes these poor creatures stand below the camel. They do not have an appetite for camel stomachs.

Majority of people believe that camel spiders bite humans when they are asleep and their venom makes the area numb so the victim cannot feel the bite. But the truth is camel spiders are not venomous. Their bites sure are extremely painful but it does not pose any serious threat to humans.

It might be the results of local legends and rumours that some people actually believe camel spiders can run up to 30mph and can jump up to 3 feet high in the air. But the fastest this spider can run is at the speed of 10mph and they do not have any extraordinary jumping skills.

There are also exists some tales about the scream of sun spider but in reality, only some sun spiders make a hissing sound while defending themselves. This ability is not even present in all the species of sun spiders.

Bite

A camel spider bite can cause intense pain but it does not pose any serious threat to human life. The bitten area gets swollen and one can also experience bleeding after bite. As this spider is not venomous, the camel spider bite should be treated like any other wound. Cleanse the wound properly and apply antibiotic cream. If you experience some other symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

Facts and Myths: Sun Spiders Are Real but Not That Deadly!

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown is a journalist at his own start-up, born and residing in Seattle, Washington. He has a knack of reading up newspaper articles and coming up with summaries and points of view, hence taking up a profession similar to his interest. Simply covering events and activities is something he can do as good as a professional, but he seems to enjoy writing on events that need viewpoints and suggestions.

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