First reported in 2004, the email reports the venomosity of Camel Spiders (Solifugids) and includes a couple of photos.
Subject: Camel Spiders
From someone stationed in Baghdad. He was recently bitten by a camel spider which was hiding in his sleeping bag. I thought you’d like to see what a camel spider looks like. It’ll give you a better idea of what our troops are dealing with. Enclosed is a picture of his friend holding up two spiders. Warning: not for the squeamish!
This picture is a perfect example of why you don’t want to go to the desert. These are 2 of the biggest I’ve ever seen. With a vertical leap that would make a pro basketball player weep with envy (they have to be able to jump up on to a camels stomach after all), they latch on and inject you with a local anesthesia so you can’t feel it feeding on you. They eat flesh, not just suck out your juices like a normal spider.
I’m gonna be having nightmares after seeing this photo!
Another variant of the email was also circulated during the same period using the same photo.
Subject: Read the Text First!!!!
These things are huge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They run 10 mph, jump three feet, are a nocturnal spider, so only come out at night unless they are in shade. When they bite you, you are injected with Novocaine so you go numb instantly. You don’t even know you are bitten when you are sleeping, so you wake up with part of your leg or arm missing because it has been gnawing on it all night long.
If you are walking around and you bump something that is casting a shadow over it, and the sun makes contact with it, you better run. It will instantly run for your shadow, and scream the whole time it is chasing you.
PS. The one on the bottom is eating the one on the top. These are spiders found daily in IRAQ by the troops. Imagine waking up and seeing one of these beauties in your tent!!
Both variants of the email contain the same photo of a soldier holding 2 seemingly massive Solifugids. The angle of the photo and position of the Solifugids creates a misleading image. The Solifugids are not as large as they appear to be. They do not have venom, nor do they feed off people.
There is very little factual content in either of the emails.