Boots On Ground - Supporting Our Troops

Camel Spiders & Sand Fleas "Bug" Our Soldiers

Camel Spiders

There is an urban myth that camel spiders are huge, mainly due to a photo that has been circulated on the Internet that distorts their size. Camel spiders are not spiders at all, but belong to the family of arthropod known as solifugids. They can reach 6-inches in length, travel up to 10mph and can jump out of 5-gallon buckets. They are so fast-moving that they can take on a scorpion and kill it. Camel spiders are not venomous but can leave a painful bite. They are shade-loving and usually hunt at night. They are not really a bother to our soldiers. Also see the camel spider video.

Sand Fleas

Unlike camel spiders, Iraq sand fleas (which are actually Phlebotomine sand flies), DO bother our soldiers and can carry the skin disease known as Leishmaniasis, also called "The Leish" and "Baghdad Boil". Sand fleas are one-third the size of mosquitos and can leave nasty-looking boils that turn into scars. More serious versions of the disease can cause organ damage.

Iraq sand flea control entails soaking clothing in Permethrin, hanging noseeum (also spelled no see um) netting across windows, and wearing pantyhose. In fact there is a male pantyhose out called Activskin that is worn by our troops for this purpose. It is also popular with athletes and aids in circulation.

Scorpions and Snakes

One of the most toxic scorpions and snakes on Earth are found in Iraq - the Death Stalker scorpion, the Kurdistan viper and the Saw-scaled viper.

Tips for avoiding these pests

  • Always wear closed shoes that cover the ankles while walking around
  • Don't leave your clothes on the ground and stuff your boot openings
  • Don't stick your bare hand inside any opening or crevice
  • Don't leave food garbage laying around

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