Camel spider belongs to the class Arachnida to which other spiders and scorpions belong to. They are not dangerous as you think and they normally feed on smaller insects and centipedes. They are not good jumpers and can crawl on land and climb over trees and walls. Camel spider is short-lived (less than 12 months) and they are nocturnal in habit. They tend to hideout under the trees and rocks during daytime and are active only at night. They are capable of making small burrows into the soil to escape from sunlight and enemies. Their eyes are poor and hence they use vibrations as technique to capture its prey. Camel spiders are largely found in the United States and South Africa.
They are either brown or light grayish and have a pair of sharp claws which serve as the only tool for capturing its prey and attacking the enemies. Camel spiders are not that lengthy and are small creature but some species are long in size. They are also known as solifugae (fleeing from the sun), sun spider and sun scorpion. Average size of a camel spider is 2-6 inches and have rounded abdomen with segments in it. They use their jaws to crush the insects and small spiders to gradually chew them after secreting digestive juices to convert their prey into a pulp.
Do They Really Bite Humans?
Camel spiders are not fond of human flesh and attempt to bite them only if they are scared. You are likely to get bitten by camel spider when you are walking barefooted into the woods during night and accidentally hurt them. Until you disturb them or threaten them it would not bite you.
Your skin gets torn due to camel spider bite. It uses its large claws to tear open the upper skin layer of epidermis. It is capable of creating an open wound on your skin which increases the chance of getting infected by bacteria and other micro-organisms. Camel spider has powerful digestive enzymes that convert the solid flesh (or other insects) into a pulp for easy absorption and digestion.
Camel spiders do not inject venom like a snake or scorpion into the skin, but still you would experience intense pain on the area of bite. If left untreated for long periods, the site where camel spider has bitten you can develop an infection and in severe cases it may lead to sepsis (severe infection) also. While biting you, camel spiders are likely to pass on the residual preys of insects and other spiders into your skin which would further increase the infection.
Symptoms Of Camel Spider Bite :
- You need not have to panic when bitten by a camel spider, since it is not poisonous. Anxiety caused by camel spider bite can cause signs of intense fear and increased blood pressure. You may be shocked to see the size and nature of wound in your skin, but be relaxed and cool since it is not going to harm you in any manner.
- The person who is bitten by a camel spider would first feel intense pain on the legs or hands (or wherever it has bitten). A sharp pain can be felt suddenly due to camel spider bite. Actually they use their jaws to tear open your skin that creates intense pain.
- Inflammation of the skin is another symptom of camel spider bite. Once bitten by a camel spider, your body’s immune system will get triggered increasing the blood flow to the site of bite. Due to sudden flow of blood and other bodily fluids the skin on the bitten area develops swelling. The tissues in the site of bite get torn due to sudden trauma leading to inflammation.
- The area in which you had suffered from camel spider bite would start oozing blood. Bleeding can range from mild to moderate depending on the intensity of wound and penetration and tearing off skin. And the size of camel spider counts a lot in determining the nature of wound. Large sized spider would have larger claws tearing more sizeable area of the skin than smaller ones.
- Some people may develop an allergic response when bitten by a camel spider causing irritation, itching, rash formation and redness on the skin. Nervousness caused by the bite can cause signs of profuse sweating, intense fear and anxiety.
If left untreated, camel spider bite can lead to an infection. Open wound is likely to attract bacteria and the spider is also likely to inject some leftover food particles and organisms into your blood.
All you need to do is to identify that a camel spider that has actually bitten you and not anything else. Distinct mark on your skin helps in diagnosing the camel spider bite since the size of their claws would be visible on the area it has bitten you.
Camel Spider Bite Treatment :
- Firstly you have to stay relaxed and tension-free and understand that no emergency treatment is required for camel spider bite. So stop panicking. If you are unsure what has actually bitten you, it is better to get medical help quickly.
- Giving first aid treatment is enough for a camel spider bite. Unless the wound is large in size and the symptoms are severe, you need not even consult your doctor.
- Wash the area thoroughly with soap water or saline water (preferable) clearing off the debris and blood from the site. Clean the site quickly and use soft towel to wipe out excess of water.
- Next you can apply antiseptic lotion on the wound and the area surrounding it. If any antibiotic cream is readily available, you can apply it liberally on the affected skin. In case there is swelling in the site, you can use cortisone ointment to control swelling.
- Now leave it open for some period for the antibiotic cream to get absorbed into the skin.
- After 5-10 minutes, you can cover the site with a band-aid or gauze.
- For managing pain/discomfort caused by camel spider bite you can very well take Ibuprofen or similar drugs. Over the counter antihistamines can also be taken to reduce further swelling. You can have cold compress on the site of bite to reduce inflammation.
- Ensure that you are changing the bandage daily to prevent any infection.
- If the symptoms of pain and swelling do not improve, then check with your GP promptly.
- Your doctor would decide giving a shot of Tetanus to prevent any complications.
- You would be completely alright within few days or a week if you have not developed any infection.
In rare cases, if a big camel spider has bitten you, your doctor may consider scraping off the skin layer superficially after giving local anesthesia. He may prescribe a course of antibiotics for infection.
How To Prevent Bite?
- A camel spider feeds on small spiders and insects. Hence it is for you to keep your home insect-free. Bugs and insects are primary food for camel spider and it can accidentally bite you when you are pushing it away from food.
- Keep the furniture and cupboards termite-free.
- Use recommended pesticide and other repellants regularly if you are living in the area with big garden.
- Avoid going into the woods during night time.
- Wear protective sleeves and fully covered clothing while your work warrants you to travel into the forests and remain there for extended hours.