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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