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News > Colorado critter’s bark is worse than bite
Colorado critter’s bark is worse than bite

Posted 9/18/2009   Updated 9/18/2009 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Michael Holmes
21st Civil Engineer Squadron

9/18/2009 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As Soldiers and Airmen return from the Middle East, area residents are reporting increased sightings of "camel spiders," a creature purported to grow as big as a dinner plate. 

But the camel spider is not a spider at all, it is technically a Solifugid. 

Solifugids are neither spiders nor scorpions. They are also not insects. They look like a cross between a spider, a scorpion and an insect, and are closely related to all three.
Some may view the camel spider as an intimidating force to be dealt with, but in reality there is not much to fear from them. 

While photos from Iraq show what appears to be a huge spider, one type that is indigenous to Colorado is small - about the size of a quarter - and poses no threat to humans. 

Overseas the tales of their ferocity and gargantuan sizes are greatly exaggerated; some "spiders" can grow to two inches in length, but most are less than one inch long. They do not attack or prey on large mammals, but feed on a variety of other creatures including scorpions, insects and spiders. 

The distinct arachnid group consists of several hundred species distributed in tropical and desert regions worldwide, including Colorado. They are primarily nocturnal creatures that hide in animal burrows, and under rocks and other objects. 

Although camel spiders lack venom glands, their powerful jaws are capable of inflicting painful bites. 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. They're really not much to worry about. 

For information about pests on base, call 556-7754. To schedule a pest manager to treat or inspect your area, contact the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron customer service at 556-4030 for prompt service. 

Camel spider fact sheet: 

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