Thursday, April 24, 2008


Millipede or Centipede?? Which was it?

Our friend Walker mentioned that millipedes are often eaten by spiders, and I read that so are the centipedes. So, guess there is a good reason for not killing all the spiders. But, I just can`t help myself, I keep killing them. Had one land on the back of my hand yesterday while locking up the garage. Had just killed one on the garage door when this one showed up. Walker got my curiousity aroused and I decided to be sure it was a centipede I saw in my cellar last summer and not a millipede. It was a centipede.

This site I checked out with , mostly told about the millipedes and centipedes in Kentucky.
It is often said that millipedes have "1000 legs," especially since the word "millipede" means "1000 feet." But most millipedes have only a few hundred legs, or even less than that. The largest millipedes have about 750 legs.

In the old days, it was believed that if you allowed a millipede to "count your teeth," you would die soon after. So never grin at a millipede! Funny one, right?

Although millipedes in Kentucky are small, some tropical species can grow to a foot in length.

( Kentucky, keep your foot long ones).

Millipedes are often seen in homes, but they are not dangerous to people or animals and do not damage human possesions. Some of them can secrete bad-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals from pores in the sides of their bodies. These chemicals help keep many predators away. Despite this defense, millipedes are often eaten by centipedes, spiders, and predatory insects. Millipedes shed their skin (called "molting") as they grow, usually adding legs each time they molt.
( molting - knew snakes did this).

They are best preserved in alcohol. Be careful when you pick one up: they can secrete a fluid that will stain your hands and clothes.

(Really not interested in picking one up, are you?)

Centipedes -They feed on crickets, worms, and other small creatures. Centipedes use their venomous front legs to capture and paralyze their prey. Most centipedes hunt at night and hide during the day. Centipedes are sometimes eaten, especially when they are small, by spiders, predatory insects, other centipedes, and insectivorous mammals and birds.

(WOW, they are like cannabals- they even eat other centipede .)

House Centipedes (Scutigera coleoptera, order Scutigeramorpha, shown below) have very long legs, and are often seen running (quickly) in basements and attics and other cool, indoor places. These centipedes hunt crickets, roaches, sowbugs, and other small creatures.

( Where were they the year we were overrun with crickets in the cellar?)

House centipedes are one of the few types of centipedes that are not commonly found underneath rocks and logs. The house centipede is believed to have come to our part of the country from further South.

( The souith can have them back, I wouldn`t miss them).

If you are interested in collecting a centipede, never pick one up with your hands; instead, "herd" it into a container with a stick or forceps. Centipedes are best preserved in alcohol. ( Some people are allergic to their bite.)
If you are brave (and careful!) enough, you can try to keeping a centipede as a pet in a small container. Provide a few inches of potting soil, and some rocks or wood to hide under. The soil should be kept fairly moist. Feed centipedes living insects or worms that are about ΒΌ" the size of the centipede.

( Leave those long worms in my compost bins alone- they are helping me break done the compost materials into rich soil). :)

Giant centipedes from South America will grow to over a foot in length. For a large centipede like this, insect aren't much of a meal: instead, prey include mice, snakes, lizards, and frogs.

(WOW! what large meals they eat. . I`ll settle for the little ones I have seen in my lifetime, but not as a pet, thats for sure.)

Centipedes have different numbers of legs depending on the species. Although the species with the most legs look impressive, the fastest centipedes are often the ones with the fewest legs (such as house centipedes).
It is often said that centipedes have "100 legs." Although the word "centipede" means "100 legs," centipedes usually have much fewer legs, around 30-50. Some species of soil centipedes can have over 300 legs.

Centipedes are used as ingredients in treatments for malaria and snakebites in some cultures.

They say there is a reason for everything,even if it doesn`t sound like something we care to hear about. ( I wonder who collects them and actually gets paid for it).

Now, you know more about Millipedes and Centipedes than you ever cared to know.
Now, what do they call those small bugs that are a light brownish with a black belt around their middle? My Dad just called them a kind of water bug since you see them in damp places.

I have seen the big long ones on TV and they look just as ugly as the small hairy ones I hate to find in my basement.
It's not the they scare me physcally but the thought of one crawling in hrough your ear freaks me out LOL
Now I have my fair share of critters here, but centipedes and millipedes are not and will not be one of them! YUK!
Good post, Dot. I never thought about them much, the info you gave was interesting.
we have pretty big millipedes and centipedes here. yes the millipede is harmless, just a bit yucky to look at. But the centipede bite can be painful and poisonous. We do have the big ones here sometimes, but not in a lived in place so much.
Walker, most of them I saw on Tv were extra ugly lookingand never want to see them in my house. Think it would be awful to have one of them crawl anywhere on your body-- worse than the spider.
Have a nice day- pouring out hard here all night and still raining hard.
Thanks Itisit. I agree, i don`t want then here either, but have seen some smaller centipedes in the past-- just not recently.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Hillgrandmom, I`ve only seen the smaller centipedes and that is enough.After seeing how awful the larger ones look, I hope I never see them on my property. I would handle it, but still wouldn`t want to. Soooo ugly looking.
Glad you don`t see them often.
Thanks for stopping by.
You have these things in your home's? yuk.........
Gazza, I have only seen a few small ones in my lifetime- about a half inch long with a lot of legs and look nothing like those I saw on the net. I didn`t know they grew so large till I saw them on the net- such ugly looking things. Glad we don`t have those here.
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