Camel Spider Bite: Symptoms and Treatment

A camel spider is also known as solifugae (Photo: JonRichfield / CC BY-SA)

How did camel spiders get their names? One of the myths is that because camel spiders live in the deserts, they attack camels. This is still baseless. The only truth why they’re called camel spiders is because they live in desert places like Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, UAE and even Las Vegas.

Camel Spider Venom

Basically, there is nothing to fear about this type of spider because it has no venom and it cannot even make its own spider web. Like most non-poisonous spiders, camel spiders bite human beings not because they are biting spiders by nature but only do so when they are threatened. But when they do bite, they can injure their victim with their strong jaws that can break any prey’s skin.

On animals, camel spiders were feared to be cannibalistic. Myths say they attack camels and other desert animals and gnaw on their flesh.

Pincers of the camel spider
Pincers of the camel spider

Camel Spider Identification

The eyes of camel spiders have protective bristles
The eyes of a camel spider have protective bristles

Camel spiders can look creepy. The physical makeup of camel spiders might appear like a mutant spider as they are a cross of a spider, a scorpion and an insect.

Camel spiders have rounded abdomen and their color is either light grey or tan. Their legs can grow up to six inches. The front legs are sticky as they are used to catch their prey and climb any surface. The other six legs are long and hairy.

They are big and can grow as long as 3 feet. They can jump high and run as fast as 10 mph. In the desert, you can find camel spiders charging at you and you will definitely run in fear of their size. Soldiers’ tales say camel spiders scream; maybe it’s their own voice they heard when they ran in fear.

Camel Spider Bite Symptoms

In humans, a camel spider bite can be terribly painful. It can lead to infection because of the open skin left by the bite.

Horrible stories were told of big camel spider bite on soldiers commissioned in Africa and Afghanistan. Some photos showed how the human skin was severely chewed after a camel spider bite a soldier. The soldier didn’t know he was bitten due to the spider’s anesthetic bite. However, this may just be a tall tale as camel spiders belong to Solifugae in the arachnid class and they don’t attack preys larger than themselves.

Here are some symptoms of a camel spider bite:

  1. An intense pain from the camel spider’s chelicerae or pincers.
  2. Swelling to the surrounding tissue
  3. Mild to intense bleeding

Camel Spider Bite Treatment

Knowing the nature, behavior and habitat of a camel spider will warn you against encountering one. However, if it’s inevitable and you got bitten by a camel spider, do the following spider bite treatment:

  • In many cases of spider bite, wash the wounds to prevent infection.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection of the open wound.
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Camel Spider Bite Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some ways you can avoid camel spider bites.

  • Avoid any contact with a camel spider.
  • Always check your closets or things if you think there might be a camel spider under. But when you do this, be sure to have protected clothing to avoid being bitten on the skin.
  • Never sleep on bare grounds.
  • When a camel spider crawls unto you, gently brush it off. Don’t panic.
  • Avoid removing large rock piles in the sand or desert because these areas are the habitat of camel spiders during daytime. Remember that they are nocturnal so disturbing them in their habitat will surely be an unpleasant surprise to both of you.

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