Camel spiders are known to travelers by many names – wind spiders (for their speed), wind scorpions (for their danger and speed), or even sun spiders, although they tend to shy away from the sun and seek out shadows wherever they can find them. They are huge, vicious creatures with a mean bite that can bring down a creature much bigger than themselves. They have been known to fight scorpions and other hunters of the desert world – sometimes for territory or food, at other times, for the entertainment of humans. They are incredibly fast, and once they find prey, they are not willing to let go.
Truth behind the myth
There are dozens of legends about camel spiders; a lot of good material to work with, but legends none the less. They tell us about specimens that grow as big as a dog, incredible running speed, venom that can bring down a grown man, and that they attack people screaming. They also tell you that their bite makes you go numb, and then they chew on you while you are asleep, and you will wake up with limbs missing.
Intriguing as they are, when all the rumors and myths are stripped from this little creature, it all comes down to this: Although camel spiders (yes, they are also known as sun spiders or wind scorpions, and by the less exciting solifugae) have more than a 1000 species, none of them grows larger than 15 cm, including their legs. And they are not poisonous – although they can give you a nasty bite that easily gets infected, producing all those tasty pictures you can find surfing the web (no pun intended – but talking about webs, well, they do not spin any). They do not scream, although they make a rattling noise. And, technically, they are not real spiders at all (just like scorpions, they belong to a different order inside the class of Arachnids).
They do flee from the sun; if one decides to follow a man around, that is usually because people have shadows, a rare commodity in their desert habitat. Also, they can be aggressive (soldiers in places where camel spiders are common used to stage fights between them and scorpions) but just like many other creatures we fear, they do not attack humans if they can avoid it.