Let’s get this straight, you saw the photo that goes along with this article and you still decided to read it? Kudos to you! You are one tough cookie!
If you have not already had the pleasure, let me introduce you to a creature of many names; sun spider, camel spider and wind scorpion. Whatever your preferred name is, I think that we can all agree that ‘creepy’ is a good adjective to describe it.
Though the wind scorpion is in the same group as arachnids, it is not considered a true spider. Strangely enough, it’s more closely related to a scorpion, but it’s not a scorpion either. Instead, as a cousin to both spider and scorpion, it has traits of both to make it one terrifying (and here in southern Arizona, common) bug to find in your home.
These guys look like they have ten legs, but only eight of them act as true legs. The first two appendages are used more like feelers. They use them to detect their surroundings and prey, such as crickets, spiders, flies, termites and, at times, even scorpions. The remaining eight legs help them run like the wind (hence the name wind scorpion). I can attest to their lightning fast speed as they are no stranger to my home. They also have an uncanny ability to juke left and right in an effort to avoid any glass jar or shoe that is headed their way.
Unique features that wind scorpions have are their massively intimidating jaws. We’re talking straight out of a nightmare-sized jaws, as they are nearly one third the size of their body! This gives the wind scorpion the title of having the largest jaws for their size of any terrestrial invertebrate. They look just like crab pinchers complete with sharp little teeth to help secure and tear apart their prey. Luckily for us and our pets, they are non-venomous. So, though a bite can pack a punch, it’s essentially harmless.
Just like all the other critters, wind scorpions are able to find their way into your home through cracks in doors and weather stripping. They’ll enter looking for their next meal and then won’t be able to find their way back out. Sealing any cracks and crevices around windows and doors and repairing worn weather stripping will help keep unwanted guests outside where they belong. Also, keeping your yard free of debris and wood piles can help reduce the number that you find in your home. They are most active during the summer, but retreat to underground dens in the fall and winter. October is only a few more months away!
When I see a wind scorpion my first thought is, “What IS that?!” These creepy looking little beasts are enough to cause pause for anyone. But, as far as we and our pets are concerned, their menacing looks and painful nip are the extent of the harm that they cause.
Look at that, you made it through the article! Though, I’ll bet you will have a heightened sense of awareness of little tingles and touches to your skin for a bit.