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Giant Carnivorous Centipedes

Article #236 • Written by Alan Bellows

The world has many moist, warm, and dark cavities where phobia-inspiring organisms quietly lurk. The tropical climate of South America's Amazon jungle has an unnaturally large number of such pockets, and consequently that region is home to unnaturally large specimens.

One such example is the Scolopendra gigantea, a venomous, red-maroon centipede with forty-six yellow-tinted legs. These centipedes are the largest in the world, and they are more commonly known as Amazonian giant centipedes due to their massive size. Adults commonly reach lengths of over thirty-five centimeters-- the length of a man's forearm. Not only are these creatures very swift runners, but they are also highly adept climbers, a skill which allows them to scale walls to enjoy some surprisingly ambitious prey.

<i>Scolopendra gigantea</i> preparing to attack a mouse
Scolopendra gigantea preparing to attack a mouse

Centipedes in general are carnivorous, though this term usually refers to a diet of smaller bugs or scavenged remains. The Amazonian giant centipede, however, creeps out at night to stalk even larger victims. Groping through the darkness with its long antennae, the centipede will make a meal out of any number of unsuspecting small animals, including lizards, frogs, birds, and mice. With one quick motion the S. gigantea snags its prey and injects an extremely potent venom. The animal is dead after a very brief, thrashing struggle, allowing the centipede to gorge itself on the catch.

But the natural hunter's most impressive skill is that which is demonstrated inside the caves of the Amazon jungle. In an environment completely devoid of light, the centipede scurries across the damp floor, stepping over writhing mounds of beetles to scale the wall and clamber across the ceiling into a position near the center. The giant centipede then grips the stone with it rear legs, allowing its forward segments to dangle into the cave below. Its front section sways as its legs wriggle through the air in search of the intended target: a passing bat.

Giant centipede eating a captured bat
Giant centipede eating a captured bat

The fast-flying bats have little warning of the centipede's presence, and within moments one is snatched from the air in mid-flight. The S. gigantea's toxic venom works quickly as the bat hopelessly attempts to squirm from the grasp of many legs, only to succumb to the poison seconds later. There, dangling from the cave ceiling, the centipede eats every scrap of flesh from its prey over the period of about an hour. It then pulls itself back up to the ceiling and climbs down the wall to return to the dark, damp corner of the cave from whence it came.

These impressive arthropods are not only found in the Amazon jungle, but they also thrive on the islands of Trinidad and Jamaica. They are becoming a favorite among exotic pet owners worldwide, but extreme care must be taken while handling them due to the fact that the slightest trace of the venom can cause a reaction on the skin. Fortunately, the poison from the Scolopendra gigantea is insufficient to kill a healthy human adult. The alarmingly massive centipede can, however, cause symptoms such as local sharp pain, swelling, chills, fever, weakness, and uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 21 November 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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105 Comments
Kourage
Posted 21 November 2006 at 06:39 am

Just finished watching a program "beneath the undergrowth" was about ant's and how they take on anything thast get in their way. There too small individually to be injured by alot of other insects and as a group to many to be stoped by large creatures , kinda related I guess.

Anyways 1st post


sacredduck
Posted 21 November 2006 at 06:46 am

I first learned about these guys watching Life in the Undergrowth, which is a pretty cool doc about insect life. They actually have a video of everything described in this article. I'd recommend it.


1c3d0g
Posted 21 November 2006 at 06:54 am

Yup, we've got many of these nasty creatures over here in the Caribbean. G-d I wish I lived in Alaska...


davidmcw
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:00 am

Alaska does have bears, just ask Stephen Colbert


Grommel
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:27 am

Woaw, they're definitely big!


HellSquirt
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:48 am

That video of the centipede eating the mouse is destined to haunt my dreams.

Thanks, DI!


vallynmar
Posted 21 November 2006 at 08:12 am

Ugh! Though a very interesting article, thinking about an insect that big gave me the willies. I can see Sci Fi doing a movie about them. {Shivers}


sulkykid
Posted 21 November 2006 at 08:58 am

Good article. I'll take giant bugs over rhinotillexis/mucophagy any day. (Yes, I know, centipedes are not bugs/insects.) I am a caver, now I have another creepy-crawly to worry about.


CanInternet
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:05 am

"uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming"
Ow yeaah that´s a hell of a syndrome.


eugee1
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:14 am

First timer, just trying this out. I'll be back when I think of something useful to write. Thanks for all the DI articles. They are a source of much entertainment and learning.


jreiter
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:15 am

dI and Damn discusting!


GregDDC
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:31 am

No. No no no no no. No. No thanks. No, I'm good. Thanks. No.

My world just got a little darker knowing that these exist. *shudder*.
DI as always.


yukon
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:38 am

I saw 2 videos of these centipedes on youtube(only 1 of those is listed above) and these things are damn scary. Can really creep you out. A zoologist I once asked about why these creatures feel so creepy, said that it is not the length or the diameter but the dozens of pairs of legs that move in different directions that give you a sense of insecurity and put you in a trance or hypnotize you. You want to stop looking but just can't..


sbougerolle
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:45 am

I've still got a pea-sized lump in my abdomen at the place where a centipede bit me years ago, and that was just a little 2cm baby. Now I think I may have to bump centipedes from #3 on my list of "most hated bugs" to #2 or #1.


Illustrator
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:50 am

Yeah I know they're important in the balance of nature
and all of that, nevertheless, I hate bugs.


HarleyHetz
Posted 21 November 2006 at 10:03 am

Anyone remember the show "Creature Feature" from back in the 70's I guess, they had The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Blob, stuff like that on there...this sounds like one they "could have" had on there!!! YUK! I'm afraid of all of the symptoms above, I'd be most likely to be afflicted with the last one first!! :)


another viewpoint
Posted 21 November 2006 at 10:41 am

...ditto that "Yuck"! Obviously begs the question...do you live to eat or eat to live? Then again, bats and bugs are probably better than Purina Centipede Chow.

Hard to believe that the "pede" can hold itself and something as large as a bat upside down while clinging to a ceiling. Wonder how potent that venom is compared to other venomous creatures on this good earth?


nukebass
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:06 am

Even living in Northeast Brazil I never had such an encounter... thank God! I suffer from severe arachnophobia... that makes me think: If I poop my pants with eight legs, what about 46 creepy legs??? :-(


Dispatch
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:09 am

Woah that is one nasty looking centipede.

Came across some centipedes few years back on a trip to the jungles of Borneo but they weren't quite as big as that (still about 15cm!).

They were poisonous and we were advised by the locals to stay well away from them despite there inviting bright colours as getting bitten by one is supposedly incredibly painful!


beest
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:15 am

I want to see one of these fight a wind scorpion. If goes well, they'll both end up dead, and that will make 1 less of each for me to worry about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc9lyJ3fLX0

That probably sounds ignorant... i find these things fascinating, but they freak me out like nothing else does. If I ever saw one in real life I'd probably cry.


ballaerina
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:24 am

For the past 19 years, I've suffered from the fear of anything even remotely worm-like. I'm not scared of heights, needles, the dark, snakes, spiders, anything like that -- but if you put in me in the same room as a maggot, I'll probably break down. (Recently, I've gotten a little better around earthworms, but walking home on rainy nights is a struggle.)
That being said, this will probably give me nightmares for weeks. I know a centipede isn't a worm but it's got a sort of worm-like creepiness about it. *shiver*


dylanfan
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:45 am

I can take snakes, bats, worms and anything like that, but I can NOT handle things that have a lot of creppy-crawly legs. This is the perfect creature for my nightmares, fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Thanks, DI!!


AKfaust
Posted 21 November 2006 at 12:11 pm

I live in Alaska and I'll take the bears and cold any day over those damn things. I love to travel and will go anywhere.....but ewww!


brienhopkins
Posted 21 November 2006 at 12:27 pm

It's hunting strategy is very similar to that of a snake, not to mention the similarities in physical build. I wonder how related the two are.


Prince
Posted 21 November 2006 at 12:33 pm

Centipede, 46 legs? I know its not the centipedes fault it cant live up to its name, but why are they called centipedes, if they have less than half a hundred legs?


hansecke
Posted 21 November 2006 at 12:45 pm

From the article:

"Before entering the cave, one must descend 10 m through a 15x6 m sink that leads to the southern edge of a 24x20 m antechamber. The cave's entrance is approximately 1 m wide and high, and opens on the western edge of the antechamber."

Gee guys, lets go crawl through some bat feces in that dark cave...

"Carrion-eating insects in Cueva del Guano are superabundant and quickly feed on fallen bats, thus their absence..."

Don't stay in one spot too long or the carrion eaters will get you. Mind the foot-long poisenous centipedes dangling from the low ceiling.

Thats so hardcore words are failing me.


helloitabot
Posted 21 November 2006 at 01:00 pm

I got bitten by one of these when I was about 10 or 11. It was about 8 inches long, and it hurt like a bitch. It was on the island of St. Kitts and the centipede was in the swimming pool wriggling around on the surface. I jumped in, not seeing it and got bit on the hand. It sucked. Later, I killed the centipede.


tza
Posted 21 November 2006 at 01:12 pm

Things that make you go buhhhhhhhhh + shiver + loss fo bowl control. My friend went to a tropical island one year (I'm not sure of the exact one), and was bitten by a centipede at night. Apparently those things crawl around on you, bite you, and then take off without you ever knowing. The next day he found two little bite marks next to his GROIN and found himself in a lot of pain..

So these things.. wow, I would probably loose it if I found one darting towards me.. hopefully I'm armed and loaded :)


Misfit
Posted 21 November 2006 at 01:22 pm

I have two questions:

Where can I get one?
----and
How much?
. .
. .
. .
. .
Now for further questions:

As for the people who keep these as exotic pets, is there a way to de-venomize the insect? What repercussions would that have on the centipede's diet? Are there giant carnivorous MILLIPEDES?

Also, I can't remember much from biology class, so I'm not sure wheter or not these insects are a-sexual. Would harboring just one of them here in the U.S. (or anywhere other than its native areas for that matter) be cause for environmental concern?

Note: in spite of these questions, I'm not actually thinking about getting one. I just think it would be cool to scare people with it.

Now for completely unrelated questions: (okay, so I lied about having just two questions earlier, gimme a break!)

How can I go about putting parts of my text here in ITALICS, or BOLD, or even *gasp* UNDERLINED!


agooga
Posted 21 November 2006 at 01:57 pm

In South Africa they have giant milipedes called the zongalulu-- these critters look scary but they are completely harmless. During the rains, they come out onto the road and the roads might be covered with them. We'd stop and pick them up. At first it's creepy to have them coil around your hand and arm, but after a while you get used to it. They are fascinating and fun to watch and very docile.

NOT LIKE THESE DAMN CENTIPEDES!!!!

I think I'll just stick to killing them on the video game.


Xiphias
Posted 21 November 2006 at 03:30 pm

I'll stick with my 1.8m long Arthropleura prehistoric millipede.


bookcrafter
Posted 21 November 2006 at 03:46 pm

That was so damned interesting that I probably won't eat supper tonight. Good article!!


blacksmith_tb
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:04 pm

Though they're impressively big, I don't think that "these arthropods are the largest in the world". The Japanese Spider Crab looks to hold this title at 3.7m (admittedly not on land, and they're not much for catching bats, but still, that's 10X bigger), while I believe the Coconut Crab has the honor for terrestrial arthropods. Still, I'll be sure to shake my shoes out.


ChickenHead
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:19 pm

brienhopkins said: "It's hunting strategy is very similar to that of a snake, not to mention the similarities in physical build. I wonder how related the two are."

Um... their both "Animals"... not much more related than that. The centipede is an Invertebrate Arthropod and the snake is a Vertebrate Reptilia.


Kuz_Sam
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:35 pm

Come to australia...we got 7 of the world top 10 most venemous snakes. this one is at the top of the list:

notorious for having the most potent venom of any land species of snake in the world

- Oxyuranus microlepidotus: the small scaled snake, the inland taipan, the fierce snake--A single bite from the Fierce Snake contains enough venom to kill as many as 100 human adults, or 250,000 mice


Kuz_Sam
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:38 pm

Redback, Funnel-Web, Blue-ringed octopus

Taipan, Tigersnake and a Box jellyfish
Stonefish and the poison thing that lives in a shell
That spikes you when you pick it up

Come to Australia
You might accidentally get killed

Your life's constantly under threat
Have you been bitten yet?
You've only got three minutes left
Before a massive coronary breakdown

Redback, Funnel-Web, Blue-ringed octopus
Tiapan, Tigersnake and a Box jellyfish
Big shark just waiting for you to go swimming
At Bondi Beach

Come to Australia
You might accidentally get killed
Your blood is bound to be spilled
With fear your pants will be filled
Because you might accidentally get killed


Silverhill
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:49 pm

Misfit said: "How can I go about putting parts of my text here in ITALICS, or BOLD, or even *gasp* UNDERLINED!"

For italics, enclose the text with these tags: [i] [/i] (but substitute the left angle-bracket and right angle-bracket for the [ and ] -- the software here objects if I try to show approximations of the actual tags, or even just bare angle-brackets.)

For bold, use [b] and [/b].
Underlining isn't allowed to operate here, but it would use [u] and [/u].
To force a line break, use [/br] where you want the break to occur -- note that it does not have a matching [br].


ChickenHead
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:51 pm

Prince said: "Centipede, 46 legs? I know its not the centipedes fault it cant live up to its name, but why are they called centipedes, if they have less than half a hundred legs?"

Because quattuordecimsixipede will make you choke. Besides, different "centipede" species have different numbers of body segments. Some do have around 100 legs (with 50'ish body segments) and some (like this one) have much less.


ChickenHead
Posted 21 November 2006 at 04:57 pm

They use to have a live one of these at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, in their "bug" exhibit. Images and videos don't do it justice till you see one up close. They would feed it live Giant Hissing Cockroaches (plucked right out of the exhibit cage next to the centipede's). It was pretty Damn Interesting to watch that thing eat - particularly to a 10 year old kid (which I was at the time) that had never seen (or heard of) a giant centipede or a giant cockroach.


vonmeth
Posted 21 November 2006 at 05:10 pm

I'm not afraid of any bug except for centipedes. I can stand any sort of spider or other insect you throw my way ... but centipedes .. *shudder* I really don't know what about these things that freak me out, but they use to be everywhere when I lived in California.

There use to be a centipede a freaking meter long! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphoberia

Anyways, great article. =)


Silverhill
Posted 21 November 2006 at 05:22 pm

[nitpicky notes to Mr. Bellows]

(from the article) "The tropical climate of South America's Amazon jungle has an unnaturally large number of such pockets, and consequently that region is home to unnaturally large specimens.

Not "unnaturally", actually--anything that occurs in nature is therefore quite natural. "Unusually large", now, fits quite well with these critters!

"It then pulls itself back up to the ceiling and climbs down the wall to return to the dark, damp corner of the cave from whence it came."

There's a small, but common, piece of redundancy here. "Whence" means "from where", so "from whence" would mean "from from where". "Whence" suffices. :-)[/nitpicky notes to Mr. Bellows]


solitas
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:05 pm

Aw sh*t - yeah, thanks: I'm really gonna fall asleep now after reading THIS...


Alan Bellows
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:11 pm

blacksmith_tb said: "Though they're impressively big, I don't think that "these arthropods are the largest in the world". "

You're right. I had changed "centipede" to "arthropod" at the last minute to reduce repetition of the word "centipede," but that made it incorrect. It's fixed now... thanks.


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 21 November 2006 at 07:19 pm

@Silverhill: To nitpick your nitpicks, "from whence" is the most common modern usage, because it is more colloquial. In fact, "from whence" has been used by Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and it appears 27 times in the King James Bible. Whether or not it is "wrong" according to some archaic grammar rule is irrelevant, because it has been in common usage for hundreds of years.

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-fro2.htm


brienhopkins
Posted 21 November 2006 at 08:07 pm

ChickenHead said: "Um… their both "Animals"… not much more related than that. The centipede is an Invertebrate Arthropod and the snake is a Vertebrate Reptilia."

This centipede uses venom too. Its a snake with 46 legs.


bomber991
Posted 21 November 2006 at 09:18 pm

Icky, please no more stories about bugs or insects. Unless it's one on bug phobias. Thanks.


boysmama
Posted 21 November 2006 at 10:51 pm

Loved it!
My boys will love it!
Guess what they'll be watching in the morning !


Silverhill
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:21 pm

ConcernedCitizen said: "In fact, 'from whence' has been used by Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and it appears 27 times in the King James Bible."

Thou spakest truly, but thine objection hath not sufficient merit, good sir (or madame). Perchance thou hast noticed that this, my writing, doth not correspond to the common usage? Merely because 'twere the right style in King James's day doth not require it to be ever the standard. Wherefore clingest thou to the outmoded?The vaunted Twain and Dickens, writing colloquially, could use whatever form(s) suited them, but I suspect that they were more "correct" in situations where Teddibly Propah Grammar was called for.

"Whether or not it is 'wrong' according to some archaic grammar rule is irrelevant, because it has been in common usage for hundreds of years."

Not in my book, at least. 'Common' does not necessarily equal 'correct' or 'best' (though there is a lot of overlap, of course).

Also, 'old' and 'archaic' are not fully synonymous, and using the latter where the former is more justified is needlessly pejorative.


Silverhill
Posted 21 November 2006 at 11:24 pm

curses--foiled again by the mismatch between the text preview and the result!(There should be a blank line between "Wherefore clingest thou to the outmoded?" and "The vaunted Twain...")


Drakvil
Posted 22 November 2006 at 12:41 am

I'm not terribly creeped out by these guys... there are things in our southern hemisphere that are much worse.
A word of warning: if you had a squeamish reaction to this story, don't follow this link - it's much worse as far as people are concerned. http://magazine.audubon.org/ask/9901.html

I also recall reading a corroboration article about this little bugger in Discover magazine a few years ago, so if there is an error it is widespread.

Oh, and HBDTM, HBDTM, HBDDM, HBDTM! 49!


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 22 November 2006 at 12:45 am

@Silverhill: It is amusing how you cherry-pick the rules of syntax in your comments. Splitting hairs results in nothing more than wasted time and hair-halves. Go ahead and cling to the soiled security blanket of antiquated rules if it makes you feel better. The language will evolve with or without your consent, irregardless of your vexation.

Incidentally, I know that "irregardless" is not a proper word. Irony is.


etonalife
Posted 22 November 2006 at 04:12 am

CanInternet said: ""uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming"
Ow yeaah that´s a hell of a syndrome."

I couldn't agree more. Made me chuckle in a evil hackling way... The only other affliction I've heard that causes that is mental, especially for the peoples in the arctic - for when in the dead of winter one will occasionally run out of their abode, sometimes naked, and if their friends don't chase the guy down and drag 'em back, the person will surely freeze. And that's all due to a lack of sunlight exposure...

I love how this somehow led to twain and shakespeare!


Wihtgar
Posted 22 November 2006 at 06:09 am

May I say, in the most scholarly and learned way possible, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!

Thank you.

Wihtgar (formerly Marius)


wizeman
Posted 22 November 2006 at 06:35 am

I am generally not afraid of bugs, however, I still have night
mares about a unusually large centipede I saw as a kid in Oklahoma. My mother came across "The Thing" in a pile of damp laundry and immediately killed it. It was about 3 inches in length, full-bodied, black torso with yellow legs--one of the creepiest childhood insects of my childhood memory. I have never came across another centipede the size of "The Thing" until I read this
article. Now, I may never be the same! (Some Creepy Crawlers!)


wizeman
Posted 22 November 2006 at 06:39 am

wizeman said: "I am generally not afraid of bugs, however, I still have night

mares about a unusually large centipede I saw as a kid in Oklahoma. My mother came across "The Thing" in a pile of damp laundry and immediately killed it. It was about 3 inches in length, full-bodied, black torso with yellow legs–one of the creepiest insects of my childhood memory. I have never came across another centipede the size of "The Thing" until I read this

article. Now, I may never be the same! (Some Creepy Crawlers!)"


Dave Group
Posted 22 November 2006 at 08:02 am

Wow! Can you imagine something like this in a 1950s sci-fi movie? There would have been multi-car pile-ups as terrified teenagers fled the drive-ins.


Cyborg
Posted 22 November 2006 at 08:57 am

I worked in a Pet Store for a few years, I was specialized in reptiles/exotics animals. Quite interesting job.

I used to sell those. Honestly, they are the only animals that I worked with that gave me the creep. It got worst after someone had the idea of trying to feed it a small rat. Not only it killed it within a minute, but it took a whole 3 days to eat it whole. That was disturbing. We tried with an emperor scorpion as well. The scorpion never had a chance. It wasn't a really big one either, maybe 30 cm long.

For those interested they cost about 60 -100 $ canadian each. I suggest u get a really good cage. This is the last thing you want loose in your appartement.


uncle frogy
Posted 22 November 2006 at 10:07 am

only $60 to $100 each Canadian truly amazing that what you can buy in the exotic pet trade

A very remarkable creature to say the least and from what I remember from zoology class not the largest that has ever lived. Beautiful in the symmetry and detail of their bodies that seem to flow as they move and kind of innocent as well but startling in the speed they can exhibit and truly brutal in their feeding habits. A true champion in their time and niche yet still an awesome creature but I think the shrew has supplanted them in ferocity.

My feeling about what makes the creepy crawlies creepy is their nakedness.


Shade
Posted 22 November 2006 at 10:14 am

Yeah I've got one of those in my pants.

Just thought you all would like to know that.


Xoebe
Posted 22 November 2006 at 12:05 pm

For those interested they cost about 60 -100 $ canadian each. I suggest u get a really good cage. This is the last thing you want loose in your appartement.

Might I suggest an aquarium instead of something with any gaps in it. :)

Definitely the high ugh factor here. Catching the flying bats is astounding. Very cool. Again, ugh.


donlaudanny
Posted 22 November 2006 at 12:23 pm

Shade said: "Yeah I've got one of those in my pants.

Just thought you all would like to know that."

I take it you have a lot of difficulty convincing women to sleep with you with all the pincers and venom. Well, think of it this way: there could be worse excuses for being unable to get laid.


Silverhill
Posted 22 November 2006 at 03:29 pm

ConcernedCitizen said: "Splitting hairs results in nothing more than wasted time and hair-halves."

Then you should take your own advice, eh? ;-)Getting back on topic...I certainly didn't know that centipedes could get that big, or that they had such an interesting diet! These are definitely best observed from a distance, or within a nice safe display.


Tink
Posted 22 November 2006 at 05:25 pm

CanInternet said: ""uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming"

Ow yeaah ...."

Sounds like a great plan to me!

EEEWWWWWW!!! Gross, Gross, Gross!
There go my lifelong plans to someday vacation in Jamaica.

Oh and Happy Birthday Drakvil!


just_dave
Posted 22 November 2006 at 10:24 pm

Drakvil said: "A word of warning: if you had a squeamish reaction to this story, don't follow this link - it's much worse as far as people are concerned. http://magazine.audubon.org/ask/9901.html"

Oh my oh my oh my oh my... That one is horrible. The centipede is creepy enough, but [cringing with legs crossed] a fish that can do that! [/cringing with legs crossed.]

The Wikipedia article on that critter has a link to another article about the removal of one that was 5.5 inches long with 7/16 inch head from a guy... I will never pee in the Amazon — or any other river — ever again. Ever.

Oh, and HBDTM, HBDTM, HBDDM, HBDTM! 49!

Many happy returns of the day, dude!


Floj
Posted 23 November 2006 at 12:22 am

Drakvil said: "I'm not terribly creeped out by these guys… there are things in our southern hemisphere that are much worse.

A word of warning: if you had a squeamish reaction to this story, don't follow this link - it's much worse as far as people are concerned. http://magazine.audubon.org/ask/9901.html

I also recall reading a corroboration article about this little bugger in Discover magazine a few years ago, so if there is an error it is widespread.

Oh, and HBDTM, HBDTM, HBDDM, HBDTM! 49!"

No way! I heard about that fish on a TV show called Venture Bros. The show's funny, but wow. It's real! Ahh! There's definitely not a pie reference for that fish.


openside
Posted 23 November 2006 at 08:34 pm

Kuz_Sam said: "Come to australia…we got 7 of the world top 10 most venemous snakes. this one is at the top of the list:

notorious for having the most potent venom of any land species of snake in the world

- Oxyuranus microlepidotus: the small scaled snake, the inland taipan, the fierce snake–A single bite from the Fierce Snake contains enough venom to kill as many as 100 human adults, or 250,000 mice"

Worse still - it's full of Australians! ;-)
With love,
your friendly neighbour from the land of the long white cloud (and nothing more poisonous than an in-law)


openside
Posted 23 November 2006 at 08:42 pm

Silverhill said: "Then you should take your own advice, eh? ;-)Getting back on topic…I certainly didn't know that centipedes could get that big, or that they had such an interesting diet! These are definitely best observed from a distance, or within a nice safe display."

Nah keep it up youse fullas, there aint noone not enjoying your scintillating repartee.

You epitomise my joy in this forum.

So are these 'pedes edible?


Prince
Posted 23 November 2006 at 09:50 pm

Aotearoa rocks, unlike old Van Diemons land to the west


Drakvil
Posted 24 November 2006 at 12:10 am

I'm so embarrassed... I should have said 39, not 49. (I guess old age is getting me anyway...)
Thanks to all for the well wishes!


leooel
Posted 24 November 2006 at 02:28 pm

Xoebe said: "Might I suggest an aquarium instead of something with any gaps in it. :) "

And a solid lid with a brick on top. No, several bricks, large ones. And emergency cans of extra-potent bug spray scattered throughout the house.

Am fascinated by nearly all animals to some extent, but I prefer the dangerous ones to be OUTSIDE my house.

Also, re. the comment about BOLD and italics tags, probably everyone one else in the world knows what angle brackets are, but for any other nutters like me that had trouble working it out, they are the "less than" and "greater than" symbols.

>>


azngeek714
Posted 24 November 2006 at 04:19 pm

I keep telling them to make meat-flavored bug spray, but they never listen.


acesigns39
Posted 25 November 2006 at 10:39 am

Amazing ,

to think that this centipede even if it is this large can snap out at high speed at the bat. Wonder if the bat knew what hit it ?


smokefoot
Posted 26 November 2006 at 09:48 am

Prince said: "Centipede, 46 legs? I know its not the centipedes fault it cant live up to its name, but why are they called centipedes, if they have less than half a hundred legs?"

Time to pull from the quote file!

Sometimes men come by the name of genius in the same way that
certain insects come by the name of centipede-not because they
have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above
fourteen. - G. C. Lichtenberg


Chory
Posted 27 November 2006 at 12:54 pm

OMG, a single invertibrate devoring a whole mammal within an hour? Ewwwwww, I don't like that thought at all. And here I was thinking the little 1 inch centipedes were scary, lol.

And about that fish, owwww. Yes, people, TIGHT swim wear :P


A-Train72
Posted 27 November 2006 at 02:58 pm

OH MY GOD. Not much gives me the willies but watching that mouse video did. holy crap


bajan
Posted 29 November 2006 at 10:09 am

Alrite ppl...speaking from years and years of experience living with this things here in Barbados...one is actually dead on the bathroom floor as i type (just a baby only about 3 inches..found dead when i woke up). They are very common here and other Caribbean islands.These bastards hurtttt. The big ones put u in some serious pain while the little just sting for a day or so. I have being stung many times.. some while i slept (creepy feeling have one crawl up ur leg while sleeping) and others while just sitting around and what not. The biggest i`ve seen was at a wildlife reserve in Trinidad..its friggin huge (bigger than that one with mouse in the vid actually that was wasnt very big compared to what i seen over the years) and its allll black and fatttt... Thankfully they are the only insects or bugs or whatever you wanna call them around here that will bite if they have the chance.


bajan
Posted 29 November 2006 at 10:10 am

Ohh forgot the mention....they are alot bigger when alive than when dead.


ballaerina
Posted 29 November 2006 at 10:40 am

The Petland store in my town has these for $14.95. The first time I was there I was wandering around the store, peering in various cages. I couldn't see anything at first and I thought it might be a vacant lizard cage, so I got right up close to the glass. One wriggled out from beneath a leaf just as I did this.

If you read my earlier post you will notice that I'm COMPLETELY INSANELY afraid of worms and worm-like things.


michaelb1
Posted 01 December 2006 at 10:26 am

I got bit by a centipede in Hawaii a couple of years ago. The centipede was about 5 inches long, not like these huge beasts.

Anyway that sting felt like Katherine Trammell viciously impaled my foot with a red hot ice pick.

I can't imagine the pain these creature are capable of inflicting.


Aero
Posted 29 December 2006 at 01:41 pm

Their was a tv show about people getting stung or bitten by animals/insects. This guy got stung by a giant centipede(It was his pet, and he would touch it and stick his hand in the cage all the time) and he was in intense pain for 48 hours. Ouch. I'm not sure what he did to it after that. And beleive it or not, in the same show a guy got stung by a platypus, with a special clawy thingy they have. Pretty wierd. His arm got swollen, and he still can't move his fingers well after 6 months.

smokefoot said: "Time to pull from the quote file!

Sometimes men come by the name of genius in the same way that
certain insects come by the name of centipede-not because they
have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above
fourteen. - G. C. Lichtenberg"

Lol. Nice quote. This made me laugh alot.


*looking interested*
Posted 23 January 2007 at 09:24 pm

i like the uncontrollable screaming and running away :D


pualani123
Posted 09 February 2007 at 02:29 pm

*starts screaming and twitching uncontrollably*I HATE CENTIPEDES!!!i live in hawaii and there are tons of them around.living with them would usually make u unafraid but SHIT THEY SCARE ME!!!!


Old Man
Posted 07 March 2007 at 11:14 pm

[i]italics[/i]

???


texnation
Posted 13 April 2007 at 09:27 pm

That is the biggest bug I have ever seen, I pray to God that I never run across one of these, and I pray that a bigger bug does not exist.


maxident213
Posted 16 April 2007 at 12:06 pm

New to this site but I felt compelled to post on this as I have kept tarantulas, scorpions, & various giant centipedes and other bugs for a few years now. Currently have seven Scolopendra specimens, of different species, they are fantastic animals and most likely the favourites out of anything I've ever kept. Marvelous to watch when hunting, they are easy to care for and provided that you are cautious and give them the respect they deserve, bites are easily avoided. I keep large specimens in 10-gallon glass tanks with secure lids, and smaller pedes in screw top jars. A few inches of peat moss, some kind of water dish, and a piece of cork bark or rock to burrow under, lightly mist the tank once a week or so, and feed 'em crickets. The centipede-keeping hobby is bigger than you may think; there are many keepers in many countries and many species available in the trade. The most common large 'pedes in captivity are Scolopendra polymorpha, a 6" pede found in Arizona/Texas, and Scolopendra subspinipes, a nine-incher found in many tropical climates, most commonly imported from Vietnam & surrounding area. These will sell for around $40 per specimen, though prices vary widely among dealers. Scolopendra gigantea, the pede in this article, is very rare in the hobby at this point and often commands a price around the $350-$400 mark.

Anyone who is seriously interested in possibly obtaining one of these animals needs to be responsible and do their homework beforehand. An excellent source of information from experienced keepers is http://www.arachnoboards.com . They are excellent pets but as stated, they command respect. Anyone seeking to get a centipede so they can scare people with it, deserves to reap the effects their retardation will no doubt have on them. There are people who love these animals and spend their lives fascinated by them. I realize most people are creeped out by them but I cringe when I read the stories of them being killed one after the other. Damn Interesting anyway......


Jeffrey93
Posted 23 April 2007 at 02:00 pm

The centipedes from about 300 million years ago dwarf this thing.

I think somebody else mentioned them but didn't have a very good picture....

Arthropleura Details

Arthropleura Picture


MiladyM
Posted 08 August 2007 at 07:54 am

Not only does it cause uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming..it also causes uncontrollable pissing and crapping in ones pants!!!!!!!

"When your in a massive cave with a centipede on your face.. diarrhea!"...


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 October 2007 at 04:07 am

Last.


AntiBugs
Posted 14 January 2008 at 05:41 am

I used to be terribly scared of spiders.But after seeing this guys,holy crap!I'd rather die than to be locked up in a room full of them


detscorach
Posted 26 January 2008 at 02:17 pm

Hi, just wanted to tell you when I was vacationing on Grenada a few years back, I was woken by a rustling in my room. I turned on the light & saw an 8 incher checking out the T-shirts I had purchased that afternoon. I went into the kitchen & got a zip-lock sandwich bag, came back & captured the thing. No, I didn't pick it up, I know better after keeping many different spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc. In the morning, after showing the rest of the party what creeps around their bedrooms at night, I carried it out onto a dock and dumped it in the ocean about 100 feet from shore. I was curious to see what fish took it for a snack. It hit the water & started swimming like a snake and all the fish cleared the area. I lost sight of it, but I imagine that if it made it to shore without suffocating, it would have been fine.
Every morning there would be a couple dead ones in the pool. If you flipped one onto the concrete apron, a jillion tiny ants would swarm the thing and tear it to bits. It'd be gone in 10 minutes.


skiaeeh
Posted 05 July 2008 at 12:39 pm

I've just recently moved to St. Kitts, where these buggers chase you around your room at night. Students find these guys in their beds all of the time (not the best type of one-night-stand), they are very fast and creepy. If you try to squash one with your foot they will rear up and dart in for a bite on your ankle. It takes multiple stabbings with a broom handle (or other such long handled object) to kill one. I have thankfully not encoutered their sting (which I've heard is VERY painful!) but it's only my first semester so give it time.
As as to the people commenting on owning one of these creatures - 'to each his own'. Just remember - you get to observe and enjoy your friend from outside of an enclosed aquarium. WE get to observe and flip out without any protection whatsoever!
Great article!


[0001001100110111]
Posted 13 July 2008 at 09:19 am

I've known about these things since 2006 from some random video link to some Ebaumsworld.com rip-off and I happened to stumble across a video of a huge one, eating a mouse/rat. (Wether it's the same video others have talked about and posted links to, I'm not all too enthusiastic about looking up. These things scared the living daylights out of me for a good month or so!)

When reading comments on the video in question, I found something along these lines.

(NOTE: The Centipede I'm talking about is the one found in the Outbacks of Australia and one--if not THE biggest--species of Centipedes known to science.)

"Bla-bla-bla-video-comments, good pet, eats rodents, yadda-yadda--actually doesn't poison it's prey with it's venom, but wrather injects it's prey with a venom that cuases SO MUCH PAIN that the prey's muscles constrict and stiffen, causing "paralysis" by pain, not by venom. After paralysing it's victum, one of two things happen. 1.)a The prey dies after seconds from pain over-load in the brain. or 2.)b The captured prey Does Not Die and instead has to bare witness to the Centipede mawling their body until a vital organ is chewed on or loss of blood occurs, ultimately resulting in death. Wouldn't want one of these beasties in your house! Also, I've heard of friends that have had these things worm themselves into their house during storms when the rain floods them out of their holes and dwellings to seek high and dry ground, and even some people who claim to have woken up after these 1 1/2 foot gaints drop from their celling and onto their beds in the middle of the night!!"

I'm going to go stick my hand in a blender for posting this and reminding myself of how freaked out I am by these things. Good thing I don't really sleep anyways..

-[0001001100110111]


zamaris
Posted 06 October 2008 at 09:57 am

I think I'm going to be sick


MortallyWounded
Posted 08 November 2008 at 06:28 am

Reminds me of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Wouldn't want one of those things nibbling on your ear. Nibble nibble nibble... such a nibbler!


Cyber Rodent
Posted 07 April 2009 at 05:55 pm

The Large centipedes we have here (In New Zealand) are quite small by comparison (biggest I've uncovered was about 5 inches), but they are quite pretty - Copper coloured body with electric blue legs. A friend of mine kept one for a while - until it got out (these buggers can climb glass and squeeze through the smallest gap). Thankfully, he was smart enough to house it in the garage, not the house...


shelny
Posted 28 May 2009 at 11:18 pm

uncontrollable running-away-and-screaming, YES that's exactly what I did too! I remember vividly getting bit by a centipede as a kid on my toe, in my yard at night feeling the venom streaming up my leg. My whole leg felt as if it was paralyzed. It's a horrible pain i wish upon noone. My leg was swollen until the next day!


Amber23
Posted 25 December 2009 at 10:44 pm

This is going to sound absolutley NUTS i know... but when I was little, I sh*t you not, 2 Centipedes bigger than Me ( about 5-6 feet ) jumped out of the ground and shot upwards and then just as fast as they shot up they went back down into the ground. the ground was rumbling and everything, I was in my back yard looking for snakes when this happened, when i tell people this story, (only a few) they just say i have a wild imagination, But it was clear as day and REAL!! I dont know how to explain this, i was 9. Maybe im crazy but nothing else weird like this has happend....can someone explain?...also, I live in Canada, which makes it weirder...


cythrawl
Posted 12 January 2010 at 05:20 am

Does this remind anyone of king kong? Amber23, can I have your email? I have some info that might help.


TravelBugBrit
Posted 03 November 2010 at 12:59 am

brienhopkins said: "It’s hunting strategy is very similar to that of a snake, not to mention the similarities in physical build. I wonder how related the two are."

True, I have seen certain species of snake exhibit similar traits while they hunt for bats at the entrance/exit to well knows roosts.
The complexity of the series of evolutionary steps taken to get to this point is incredible!
I think it's fair to say, although disgusting to some, we never give amazing creatures like this enough credit.
Ask yourself when the last time you did something equally difficult just to get something to eat?

DI as always Alan, look forward to reading new material mate............(subtle hint...)


momshu
Posted 06 March 2011 at 05:55 am

Bit last night by a 40 leg in Jamaica; whoa! Serious pain, whoa! I don't cry easy but the 40 leg was a challenge. Two small punctures proved the point but no swelling. Immediatly cleaned with light antiseptic. Final solution was to walk about. That eased the pain but since it was 3AM and I was so tired I laid down and shoke my foot till I fell asleep. Woke in the morning with no ill effect.


Helen
Posted 08 April 2011 at 06:30 pm

Hey i'm new here and enjoyed comment #20!:-) But I have a real PROBLEM with these centipedi things. Because I live in an old house in Jamaica...n I have seen an extremely longgggggggggg one crawling under the surface of the house and I know that as soon as the heavy rains start...that thing will come out looking for higher and dryer ground! I am so worried:-(((( Because everything in the above article is so true and i have killed about 4 - 5 of them already, but I fear that this one is the BIGGEST ONE YET!!! I NEED SOME HELP ON HOW TO TRY AND KILL IT NOWW!!! I've never been bitten. Thank God! But does anyone know how to exterminate them???


Helen
Posted 08 April 2011 at 06:35 pm

I feel like under the old house is infested with them. I hope to move out soon...though


123SuperSergio
Posted 03 May 2012 at 10:40 am

Makes My Skin all tingly


Kelly Bates
Posted 08 October 2014 at 02:53 pm

I am friggin creeped out right now!!!! EWWWWWWAH!!! and heres why. K i grew up the youngest of three, Me and My 2 older Brothers, (no sisters) and a tuff tomboy. Blood/guts hey no problem, a bug or spider again no problems. Until that friggin day i will never forget. Ok we had a built-in pool and Jacuzzi if I wasn't swimming i would be riding my horse. We lived in Norco, Ca near the Santa Ana river bottom. I was around oh 12 or 13. In the dining room there was a light fixtlure controller called a dimmer?? on the wall with a round nob which you turn. On the other side of that wall was our den. In the den is where I was taking a nap on a corner group couch bed table in corner you know so I always took the big cushions off so I was right up against that wall in a deep sleep but always on somewhat of alert cuz my middle brother, yeah like to friggin wake me up with u no say smellin salt things and mess with me always ( gotta admit life would have been boring without him) so dead asleep I wake up to this thing yeah hang in mid air waving and trying to catch my nose but failing to grab it that .time well when I focused in on what the hell is that I couldnt get the hell away from this thing fast enough, but I did and yelling/screaming for my older brother (he liked bugs) to get it. When he did it was hanging out of the dimmer switch in the den (it had one too, on the same wall like back to back to the dining room one, only a foot and a half apart as he was tryin to figure out how to get it out we all said his friggin tail is hangin out the other fixture in the dining room that was when I ran...oh hell no as he was tellin me what it was and what it would have done and how lucky i was to have woken up. He finally got that thing in a huge mason jar. I just knoiw it was very flat tan and brown with a whole lotta legs and about 11/2 to 2 feet or more long. I remember my brother MIke sayin I dont believe it I now have 15 cotton balls soaked with alcohol and it hasnt even phased it..................it was horrible and I have never forgot it waving itself tryin to ..grab my nose.....eewwwwwwwwah....


Tianna
Posted 28 October 2014 at 05:29 am

Found out about these creatures on animal planets "Lost Tapes". Definitely freaky. I never knew about them before, and I totally thought they were harmless. Glad I looked more into it, just to know what to not touch and mess with.


END OF COMMENTS
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