About 8000 species of Centipedes can be found on earth, and in all different environments. These creepy crawlers, named for their abundance of legs, have a poisonous bite.
What do Centipedes look like?
While most centipedes have a reddish-brown coloring, others of a tropical background might be yellow, orange, red or blue. The coloring of the body and legs can be colored differently, such as a black body with orange legs. “Centi” means hundred, but the number of legs actually ranges between 20 and above 300 depending on species and age. As centipedes grow, they molt their casing as well as legs and sprout new ones, plus a few extra. A unique defense mechanism the centipede has is to simply “drop” its legs! When this happens, they are able to grow them back. The re-growing capabilities seem to decrease as the centipede ages because of the molting cycle.
Where do Centipedes live and what do they eat?
Since the centipede has no wax-like casing for the exoskeleton, it thrives in dark, moist conditions. You are likely to find them under leaves, stones and logs. Considering the range in habitat for the centipede, the diets are vastly different and can include: decaying plant matter, slugs, worms, soft insects, other centipedes, and small frogs and birds.
Are centipedes dangerous and what happens if one bites me?
Centipedes do not sting; they bite, and this happens more frequently in the southern states. The first pair of legs are adapted as pincers that cover the mouth, which can be confused as a harmless mouth piece. These contain the venom that the centipede injects its prey with; or you. If bitten, you will have two puncture wounds that cause immediate pain. This pain might expand around the puncture site, and sensitivity, swelling, pain and discomfort are likely to occur. This can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Anaphylactic shock is also a possibility in more severe cases, which causes difficulty in breathing, circulatory issues and low blood pressure which can lead to cardiac arrest (heart stops beating) or death. Children may have more complications than adults.
Centipedes move quickly, and can easily sneak into your home and hide in dark places. If you see a centipede in your home, call Oneway Pest Control!