Centipedes are mostly venomous and give a painful bite. Normally the larger the centipede the more painful the bite. Can they kill you?
No, but it does inject toxins into your body which can cause infections or a breakdown of tissue.
The name means 100 legs although you are not likely to ever find one with anywhere near 100 legs. Most likely they will be between 10 and 30 legs and the number of legs are dependent on the number of body segments, with 2 legs per segment. When a centipede loses some of its legs it can regenerate them !
So what is the good news about these vile looking creatures? If you don’t like spiders, centipedes eat spiders!
They are nocturnal and feed on insects such as flies, cockroaches, moths, bed bugs and of course each other. Turning the light on sends them scurrying back to a dark place but wont get rid of them permanently. They have been known to find their way into peoples beds, much as scorpions and spiders can.
Should you kill them?
Some people say no as they keep the other bug populations down but which do you prefer to deal with? their prey or them?
My approach with venomous snakes has always been to catch and release elsewhere(be aware that 60 odd percent of people bitten by snakes were handling them!). See my article on this here.
Catching these guys using a bottle placed over it and then sliding a piece of paper between the centipede and the floor followed by flipping the whole story upside down can get it into the bottle, cap it and remove it to somewhere else would keep you both happy.
Apparently in Japan some people keep centipedes as pets.
Centipedes are fast and enjoy moist dark environments but the most surprising thing is they groom themselves after a meal, cleaning their legs by dragging their mouth forcipules over each one. forcipules are the front two legs that are modified to operate like pincers and carry venom.
Centipedes use their antennae to find prey and they use their speed to catch it. Followed by wrapping themselves around their prey and waiting for the venom to paralyze it then they devour their meal.
Centipedes lay eggs and some species actually wrap themselves around the eggs to protect them until they hatch. During this time they keep removing any fungi that starts to accumulate on the eggs which will number up to 35 eggs. When the eggs hatch the babies have around 4 pairs of eggs and with each molt they gain another pair!