Camel Spider eating flies

The video is at the bottom of the post…

Yeah, I know, this isn’t a travel post per se, or is it?  Well, this certainly isn’t in America…  it seems that everyone I talk to in the US seems very interested in the Camel Spider.  Since American soldiers started coming home with Camel Spider stories from the war in Iraq, the shy creature has acquired a fierce reputation, most of it unearned.  In reality, the Camel Spider is a beneficial predator in that it eats mice, insects and all other sorts of vermin.  It is shy, primarily hunting at night, avoids humans and doesn’t bite unless provoked – in other words, unless you jam your finger into its face.

We have a large Camel Spider hunting our work site.  He is probably about the size of a adult male’s closed fist.  He comes out to feast on the crickets that are drawn in by the floodlights we use at night so that we can see our work.  As he is our “friend” and eats mice, we leave him alone.  I had been tempted to catch one as a pet, but a large terrarium would be too big to fit into our small office.  I did see this baby Camel Spider and decided to turn him into our work Mascot.

When I caught him about two weeks ago, he was about the size of the fingernail on my middle finger.  He has grown by about 50% in these last weeks fed on a steady supply of flies.  Yes, there are enough flies here in Central Asia to feed a small country – if only they were edible to humans.  He regularly devours about 4 flies a day and prefers live prey to dead.  This has become a bit of art as we try to schwack the flies with the fly swatter just hard enough to stun or injure them, but not enough to kill them.  Then, the dance involves getting the half-live fly into our “temporary” terrarium – in actuality a 1/2 liter water bottle.

Spidey, as the guys have come to call him, doesn’t like the bright light so I’ve ordered a proper 10″ terrarium from Ebay this morning.  When it arrives, we’ll deck it out with sand and rocks.  Roscoe suggested taking a picture of the mountains outside and gluing it to the back of the tank, “Then he will feel at home.”  Ha, ha, we all got a good laugh out of that one.

In the video, I put my thumb in front of the bottle to give you some scale as to how small he is.  He was midway through eating one fly when the second, smelling the guts of his friend, came to inquire about a snack.  He in turn became the snack.

Note to self:

When a large predator is eating a colleague, don’t stand there and watch.  If you do watch, don’t make any sudden movements as the predator is “finishing” the remains of your friend.

 

 


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cute little hedgehog

One of my colleagues at work (pictured above) ran across a small hedgehog and decided to do a little “show and tell.”  We posed with the little fella and then set him free.  He’s pretty small,  about the size of a melon; I saw one last week, at about midnight when I was driving home from work – the second one was about the size of a basketball.

This Central Asian hedgehog looks exactly like the kind that I had seen in Iraq in years past.  I wonder if they are similar to the hedgehogs of Europe.  If anyone can recognize if it si the same or not, please leave a comment.

When he is relaxed, his little head and legs stick out of his spines just fine but when he is startled, he rolls up into a little ball and all of his spines stick straight out.  They are quite rigid and can penetrate clothing.  In these photos, we were handling him with some thick leather gloves.

I have seen these hedgehogs eat snakes, scorpions and all sorts of crickets, grasshoppers and other insects.  They are quite beneficial in helping to keep the bug populations down so we welcome them at our work sites.

In this photo, I had just blown a sharp breath on him causing his spines to stick out and  his head tucked back inside of his quills.  They sure are cute animals.  I have some photos of Iraqi hedgehogs, I’ll post those (eventually) when I get back to 2005…

We had caught another hedgehog a few weeks later, you can see his photos here.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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