To kill their prey centipedes inject the victim with a poisonous bite after they grab hold of it in their jaws. This bite is not usually poisonous to humans, but can inflict serious pain depending upon the size of the centipede, especially children. Some people are allergic to the bite of a centipede, but it is uncommon.
Though they commonly feast on insects, some centipedes are so large that they can even eat bats, birds, small mammals, and certain reptiles. Sometimes they even eat each other. They play the role of a special kind of exterminator getting rid of pests that bother humans. It is kind of like a Black Snake who kills rats and stuff, and is doing a favor, but it does bite if you try to pick it up. The Black Snake is considered a friend, is not poisonous to humans, but if you get bit by it, you most certainly won’t want that to happen again!
One of the largest centipedes known to man is the Amazonian Giant Centipede. It can reach lengths of up to 12 inches. It is also known as the Peruvian Giant Yellow Leg Centipede. Centipedes are commonly considered to be a help to mankind by getting rid of pests.
Outside the average home in the United States, the centipede lives anywhere they can find moist damp areas such as old standing logs, bricks, or rocks. In other countries there are centipedes up to a foot long. These do eat insects but they also go after unsuspecting birds, snakes, and small mammals. All centipedes need a water source as they have problems with maintaining hydration.
The largest centipede in the United States is the “S. Heros”. It can reach the length of approximately ½ foot. If it were in captivity and had every need catered to it could reach a length of around 8 inches. You can find these in Arizona, but they stay pretty well hidden because of their sensitivity in needing water sources. The “S.Heros” likes to live underground on most days in sunny Arizona and usually only comes out on cloudy days.
The problem with having a lot of centipedes around your home is a signal that you might have an abundance of other insects, spiders, and such that centipedes are there for as an abundant food source. It also means your home is having a problem with a lot of moisture or standing water which could breed mosquitoes. Why turn your home into swamp conditions and invite a host of creatures to take up residence such as rattlesnakes under your house. Maybe they are there for Brown Spiders, or cockroaches. There could be a number of insects that attract the common House Centipede. On the other hand, perhaps you are attracting the larger centipedes to your residence with the conditions along with Bark Scorpions, Black Widow Spiders, and venomous lizards. Maybe the larger centipedes are there because they live on mice or rats and other small rodents, plus frogs. Do you have these around your Arizona house? Are you a possible target for the larger dessert centipedes such as the Banded Desert Centipede or a Giant Desert Centipede? Be careful and don’t invite centipedes to share your home in Arizona.
Arizona isn’t quite as bad for centipede infestations as environments like Oregon and Washington where the conditions are wetter. Your home in Arizona can be a place where moisture is in certain places along with insects and you can draw centipedes in just as if you were in a Northwestern City of the United States, like Seattle. Standing water which attracts centipedes also attracts mosquitoes. As far as the common House Centipede’s bite it is best not to have them around your children or babies, so get rid of them using a professional exterminator or pest removal company. It is usually the environment around your home or in your home (such as rotting wet wood) causing damage when centipedes are present.
The centipede has actual pincher like appendages called “forcipules”, you can see them if you look closely. When they bite they force their special venom into you that they normally use on insects and such. If you are not sure the centipede bit you or one of your children, look for the “Chevon” shaped marks caused by the pair of pincer like appendages that centipedes have.
Bites from large centipedes, such as the “S.Hero” found in Arizona are rare but can inflict more harm and pain. This is especially true for those allergic, children, people in poor health, and the senior sect of the population.
Sometimes the panic and anxiety of being bitten can be harder, especially in those with a heart condition, than the bite itself. It is always best if you get bitten by anything, including centipedes, to remain calm and identify the source that bit you. If you get bit by a centipede you will want to note the size.
Centipedes have a problem with keeping hydrated so they hang out where they can easily access liquid. Outside you will often find them under bricks, rocks, and old logs because the moisture dries out there less. They are hardly ever in the direct sun. Dry up the areas in your house where they might gather, to the best of your ability.
Outside in your yard, try to store piles of lumber away from your entryways. Keep all yard wastes, such as leaves, twigs, and branches, away from your front door and back door to keep centipedes from entering your home.
Outside in your yard it might be a little harder eliminating the congregation of centipedes as this is a natural habitat for them. Leaves, trash piles, fallen twigs, and branches, can quickly become a home for them and other insects which they love to eat.
Centipedes even like hanging around old cement bird baths that serve as ornamental structures in your yard. These will attract insects and they often have moss and other growth on them which are to the centipedes’ likings. To keep centipedes from invading your environment you might need to recruit the services of a pest control company, even if it is only for advice.
First, the centipede injects poison into its victim to immobilize them to a certain degree before they consume what it is that they use for a food source. The bite from the centipede doesn’t have the same effect on the larger cat and dog, or human, even though the bite from a centipede can hurt dreadfully.
Dogs and cats, especially dogs, have a different kind of skin than a human, and also they have the barrier of fur on most of their body to hamper the bite of a centipede. The common House Centipede is small and does not pose a real threat to your pets, except the bite, which is uncomfortable but usually not serious. If your pet gets bit from a House Centipede, you probably won’t even know it. If your family is getting bit by centipedes, then your pet probably is too. Go ahead and keep a flea collar, and use flea powder on your pets to be on the safe side. Keep your pets bedding clean and dry and free from insects such as fruit flies, fleas, and ticks, because centipedes are attracted to moisture and insects as a food source. The common House Centipede is not considered dangerous to your pet, unless they are allergic, in normal circumstances.
Centipedes are most definitely nocturnal as they scurry about on their many pairs of legs looking for a tasty meal in the middle of the night when all is damp, quiet and dark. It is amazing how quickly they can move and coordinate their many legs. The centipede’s body is made in sectors of 15 on up to 170 or so. Each sector has a pair of legs, with the first sector’s legs incorporated into its poison fangs in which it injects its poison liquid into its night time snack.
The last legs in both the male and female are not used for moving around, they seem to be mostly for sensory functions and even for courting other centipedes. The female’s last set of legs are real long. This definitely supports the notion that centipedes are all legs (which they really aren’t). “Centi” means 100, and “Pede” means foot, even though we know they have more than a hundred feet. Centipedes are definitely more active at night if you investigate their feeding habits and lifestyle, you will see this.
In your house you will find them hiding in your basement, under kitchen sinks, behind baseboards, and in the bathroom. Attics also seem to be a place where they hide out, especially if you have rotting wood or leaks. They like places that have access to water when they are hiding because they have trouble maintaining hydration. You will also find them hiding in the places that are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
It is actually surprising how fast a centipede can run and hide coordinating all of its sets of legs, they can even run straight up a wall or head to hide under the nearest piece of furniture at a quick rate. Centipedes are made in segments with a pair of legs attached to each segment of their elongated bodies.
The small common House Centipede has a certain degree of sensitivity to light so they are usually hiding in the darkest and wettest areas of your home. When thinking of common hiding places for centipedes always think of damp, moist, and dimly lit areas with a possible feeding source.
Centipedes have been known to live as long as six years, and do their mating when it is warm. They do not like the cold. Centipede mothers are good mothers and actually turn their eggs and groom them to make sure they don’t get dirty or collect bacteria. When the eggs hatch into baby centipedes she will often take care of them for a while, around two days or so, until they start crawling away to lead their own lives. When centipedes are born they already look like a centipede and do not go through the larvae stage common to some insects.
When the female centipede is trying to attract a male centipede she will release “pheromones” to attract the attention of the male centipede. A “pheromone” is a chemical made by nature for this purpose. The centipede can also release a chemical reaction or poison when protecting itself, or when hunting for food. When the male perceives the “pheromone”, he creates a sort of silken pad upon which he deposits his sperm, which is called “spermatophore”. Once they mate, the centipede lays up to 35 eggs to begin the birthing cycle of a new baby centipede’s life.
Their oblong body is made in segments, and each segment has a pair of legs. The actual name of centipedes means 100 feet, but we all know they appear to have more feet or legs than that. If each segment has a pair of legs, and they have 100 legs, that would mean 50 legs on each side. It really all depends upon the species of centipedes as to how many legs they have in general. On the average centipedes have anywhere from 15 to 70 pairs of legs. This means if they have 70 pairs or legs, they actually have 140 legs which are more than 100. The most common pairs of legs are 35.
The prefix “Centi” is originated from a Latin prefix, and it most likely appeared to the one coining the term and name that they had 100 Legs, or many legs. 100 legs are pretty close to what they actually have. The centipede legs have been put to good use and you will often see the centipede in a child’s toy design or in books created for children. It has gained fame for its legs, much as the Octopus has gained attention for its arms. The history of centipedes is interesting and popular, indeed.
Standing water which attracts centipedes also attracts mosquitoes. As far as the common House Centipede’s bite it is best not to have them around your children or babies, so get rid of them using a professional exterminator or pest removal company.