How Dangerous Is a Camel Spider Bite?

camel spider

There are many wild stories about spiders, but none of them is more fear-inducing than the narrative that a camel spider attacks humans and uses its venom to numb and chew their flesh as they sleep.

So how dangerous is a camel spider bite? Why do you need to steer away from these vicious predators? Like any puncture wound, a camel spider bite infection is possible if bacteria enter the skin. So if you have spotted a camel spider lurking in your home, take the necessary precautions. Know more about these pesky pests and the perils they bring.

What Is a Camel Spider?

A camel spider, which belongs to the class Arachnida, is interestingly not a true spider nor is it a scorpion. A camel spider is a solpugid and is of the order Solifugae, Latin for "those who flee from the sun." According to the American Museum of Natural History, there are about 1,100 species of them known to date. 

Aside from its eight legs and sensory organ known as pedipalps, the most distinctive part of a camel spider's body is its massive, fearsome-looking, and powerful jaws that make up as much as a third of its body length measuring at least six inches long. Not surprisingly, the “giant camel spider” is one of the biggest. 

The jaw of the camel spider allows them to crush and chew their prey, usually small bugs and insects, mites, rodents, lizards, and small birds. Camel spiders don’t have venom glands, but they make use of digestive fluids to liquefy their victims' flesh. That way, it’s easy to suck the remains into their stomachs. Another trait of these species is that they’re notoriously aggressive and quick to attack if they’re threatened. This arachnid can run at speeds up to 10 miles per hour. Indeed, a fast-running arthropod. 

How Dangerous Is a Camel Spider Bite?

A camel spider is known to cause a very painful bite. This is because the jaws of these venomous spiders are huge and resemble crab pincers. While the bite isn’t directly life-threatening as a camel spider is non-venomous, it can leave a deep wound. The most significant risk associated with a bite is infection. It's advisable to seek medical attention if a lesion's appearance worsens over time. 

Camel Spider Bite Symptoms

If you believe that a camel spider has bitten you, then you must at least have these symptoms:

Intense pain

A camel spider bite causes severe, intense pain because of its pincers.

Inflammation and tenderness

A camel spider bite, similar to a brown recluse spider bite, distresses the surrounding tissues, leading to swelling, which is a typical reaction of the human body to the bite of the spider.

Loss of blood 

Based on the extent of the bite, size of the spider, the extent of the attack, and part of the body that has been bitten, slight-to-profuse bleeding may occur. 

Camel Spider Bite Treatment

Since these creatures are non-venomous, a camel spider bite, like most insect and bug bites, can be cured without medical intervention from a doctor unless a person is injured, a child, elderly, or pregnant, including those with diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disorder, or allergies.

If you’ve been attacked by a camel spider, the following remedy should be applied immediately:

  1. Clean the bite wound. Wash it with water, mild soap, saline solution, or an anti-bacterial disinfectant to clear away venom, bacteria, or dirt that could enter your bloodstream through the puncture wound. While only 9 percent of spider bites of any kind result in bacterial infections, it's still important to properly cleanse any affected tissue to prevent illness.
  2. Cover the area with a bandage. But before covering the bite, consider using an over-the-counter (OTC) medicated cream, such as an antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream, to get rid of the itching; triple antibiotic ointment to discourage infection or if you’re blistering, and analgesic cream to reduce pain.
  3. Once the bandage is on, ensure that you change it all the time to avoid staph and other infections.
  4. Apply ice packs to reduce inflammation and soothe the wound.
  5. Take pain relievers such as ibuprofen and other analgesics that are readily available.

If you observe and take care of the wound carefully, a camel spider bite should heal completely in a couple of weeks.

When Is a Camel Spider Bite Considered an Emergency?

  1. The bitten part is hot to the touch
  2. When you have a fever
  3. You have symptoms of anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, swelling of tongue or airways, dizziness, loss of consciousness)
  4. You have too much swelling
  5. You have any neurological symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, sweating, tremors, and muscle spasms (If these occur, there’s also a chance that you’ve been bitten by a black widow spider. Widow spiders are able to produce a protein venom that can affect the victim's nervous system)
  6. Intense pain in your belly

If these difficulties arise, it's best to seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor may ask you to dust the wound, scrape off the spot of the bite, get a tetanus injection, and take an intense course of antibiotics. Even if it's possible to have an allergic reaction to camel spider bites, this is usually rare. However, if it's discovered that you’re allergic to spider bites, a physician may administer a fast-acting drug. 

Natural Remedies for Camel Spider Bites

aloe vera

If OTC creams and ointments don’t work, or you want to help speed your healing, there are some natural home remedies for camel spider bites that may alternatively work. 

  1. Aloe vera gel can soothe skin and make it heal faster.
  2. Lavender and rose essential oils may help with pain and healing when diffused, inhaled, or applied to the skin.
  3. Bergamot works against nerve pain.
  4. Chamomile can help to lessen skin inflammation and irritation.

Where Do Camel Spiders Live?

Mostly found in dry environments, camel spiders abound in the steppes, deserts, savannas of Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America. Also referred to as sun spider, Egyptian giant solpugid, sun scorpion, and wind scorpion, this nocturnal creature mainly seeks out dark places during the day as they intensely dislike the sunlight. 

Moreover, camel spiders are most often found in homes along the city's outskirts and those near the mountain basin and will wander indoors or into yards seeking shelter from the light. They’ve also been seen in grassland and will hide in abandoned burrows where a female camel spider prefers to hatch, typically laying about 50 to 200 eggs. It's rare to see them during the winter months as they’re thought to hide or hibernate during cold periods. 

Learn More: Spider Eggs

How to Get Rid Of Camel Spiders

Camel spiders can be a frightening pest to find inside a home or even in the yard as they can get huge and could bite when provoked. Follow these tips to deter them from invading your property:

Do some home maintenance

Maintaining the home is essential in keeping camel spiders out. This will include small caulking holes on the outside of the house. Make sure to repair or replace window screens to keep camel spiders and other pests out of your home.

Make cleaning a priority

Camel spiders love to hide underneath debris and clutter around the yard and inside the home. To reduce camel spiders in your yard and inside your home, keep the area clean. The cleaner the home's inside is, the harder it is for camel spiders to go undetected. 

Hire professional pest control

To help keep out all pests, homeowners should seek out professional help. Professional pest control specialists can apply commercial pesticides around the home and yard, which will kill pests on contact.

Aside from camel spiders, a professional pest control specialist may also determine whether your home has other venomous spider and poisonous spider species like the brown recluse spider, wind spider, giant spider hobo spider, wolf spider, black widow spider, Brazilian wandering spider, and yellow sac spider. 

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