Giant Camel Spiders in Iraq?

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

You may have seen this photo posted (spamed?) across the Internet:

(Note that the camera's wide-angle lens exaggerates the size of objects in the foreground)

Google returns for: Giant Camel Spiders in Iraq

You may have received this version of an accompanying email (which mostly circulated in 2004):

Subject: Fw: Iraqi Spiders

Here are some pets for you...... but Read this before looking at the picture

They run 10 mph, jump three feet, are a nocturnal spider, so only come out
at night unless they are in shade.

When they bite you, you are injected with Novocaine so you go numb instantly
 You don't even know you are bitten when you are sleeping, so you wake up
with part of your leg or arm missing because it has been gnawing on it all
night long.

If you are walking around and you bump something that is casting a shadow
over it, and the sun makes contact with it, you better run. It will
instantly run for your shadow, and scream the whole time it is chasing you.

The one on the bottom is eating the one on the top. These are Spiders found
daily in IRAQ by troops. Imagine waking up and seeing one of these in your

Here are some authoritative websites on this odd group of arachnids that debunk the above HOAX:

Armed Forces Pest Management Board website

"They may accidentally bite humans, but have no venom glands. Camel spiders may reach up to 7 cm in length, although the perspective of this photo makes them appear even larger."

Field Guide to Venomous and Medically Important Invertebrates Affecting Military Operations

"Reports of camel spiders chasing people, are simply a result of their seeking shade from the sun—as the person moves to avoid the camel spider, it follows them in an effort to stay in the shade thus giving the impression of being chased.   Tales of their ferocity and gargantuan sizes are greatly exaggerated.  They do not attack or prey on large mammals, and they feed on a variety of other invertebrates."

The British Tarantula Society Journal

"The sizes of solifugids vary considerably from 1-5 crns in length"

Museums Online South Africa

"Solifugids have no venom glands and are not a threat to man."

Texas Cooperative Extension


"Windscorpions are from 3/8 to 2 inches (1 to 5 cm) long."

"Twenty-six species are reported from Texas."

Texas Agricultural Extension Service

"It is quite harmless to humans. There are no poison glands or fangs associated with the large jaws and no stinger at the end of the 10-segmented abdomen."

"Prey ... consists of small arthropods such as insects and spiders."

"More than 120 species of windscorpions have been described for North America."

Curve-faced Solifugid - Information on this native Texas arthropod

18 Jan 2007 © Mike / Texas Entomology