As the old saying “ignorance is bliss” reminds us, there are some things in this world that we would all be so much happier not knowing about. Nuclear warfare? What’s that! Global warming? That’s not a thing! A Spider-scorpion hybrid? Wait… does that actually exist?
The extremely unfortunate answer to that horrific question is yes, spider-scorpion hybrids are a real thing, and one poor poor man in Arizona had to find that out for himself when he found one near his house. And this isn’t one of those cases where you hear “spider-scorpion hybrid” but it really just turns out to just be a somewhat scary-looking (but innocent) spider. No, this thing is genuinely cousins to both the common spider and the desert scorpion… so good luck sleeping tonight.
The camel spider, also known as a wind scorpion (could these names get any scarier?), possesses traits of both a spider and a scorpion. While it definitely qualifies as an “arachnid”, the camel spider also has strong pinchers and an extremely large jaw, making it a bit more closely related to a scorpion.
Thomas Acosta, a builder, recently came across the creature near his home in Phoenix, Arizona, where he has lived (camel spider-free) for the past 37 years. He told KGun9: “‘I didn’t know they are native to Arizona, I have seen camel spiders, but I heard of them in Iraq.” Below is the exact spider that Thomas found:
Though they appear to have 10 legs, the camel spider technically only has eight, as the other two leg-like appendages are actually chelicerae. Chelicerae are the spider’s mouth, and are used to transfer sperm into a female spider’s gonopore, or reproductive tract. Lovely! If that wasn’t enough to make you shudder, the spider also flaunts the largest jaw-to-body ratio of any known animal, so just imagine how wide it can open its mouth! Fantastic!
Because of its gigantic jaw, the camel spider can grow large enough to eat small lizards, rodents, and even birds. It was for this reason that Thomas said he would be seeking out an exterminator immediately, citing: “We do have a small pet, and I wouldn’t want anything to hurt her, she’s kind of old.” Yeah, Thomas, no kidding. If you didn’t get an exterminator then we would be seriously concerned about your well-being.
The good news (kind of) is that although they look absolutely terrifying, camel spiders actually are not venomous, so if you ever come across one, it is unlikely to hurt you in any way. Which, frankly, will not be that comforting of information to know if you do encounter one of these beasts, and will probably not be enough to keep you from screaming like a four-year-old and running away with tears in your eyes.
If you’ve come to the end of this and have the sensation that a thousand ghost spiders are crawling over your body, then welcome to the joyous world of arachnophobia! One this is for sure: I can barely handle killing the minuscule spiders that I find in my home on occasion, I certainly would never recover from seeing a camel spider in person. Whelp, guess I’ll never get to know what Arizona is like.