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What Do Centipedes Eat?

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Remember when you were a kid growing up, and you saw those little bugs with a whole bunch of legs crawling around the sidewalk near your house? More than likely what you were looking at was a centipede. These little creatures were named centipede because they have so many legs to crawl around on. The word centipede actually means “100 legs”, but in truth, the centipede doesn’t have 100 legs at all, most have between 15 and 200 pairs up legs or somewhere in between.

A giant centipede eating a batAmazonian giant centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) catching a bat (yes, really).

They can bite

What is for sure though, is that centipedes were generally one of those little creatures that you didn’t pick up because most centipedes actually bite, and if you have ever been bitten by one, you know why. They can cause you to swell up, get a fever or worse. It is not exactly as if Centipedes are life threatening, although they can be. There are some Centipede varieties such as the  giant Vietnamese centipede that can cause in some cases death, especially if you are allergic to the toxin.

They are nocturnal

For the most part however, you will not see too many centipedes because they are nocturnal creatures, mainly staying away to their own refuge, within dark and moist areas, usually covered by soil or other damn foliage. Imagine a rainy day and some leftover grass and dirt out by the sidewalk. This would be a perfect little habitat for the centipede.

Centipedes are carnivorous

Centipedes are carnivorous creatures, which is surprising because they don’t look especially dangerous or even meat eating, but they do like to eat spiders, roaches, flies, crickets, moths, soft skinned insects such as pill bugs, earthworms and various arthropods. Not especially tantalizing fare, but then if you were a centipede, it might seem pretty tasty. For really big centipedes like the Amazonian giant centipede, then they may eat bigger prey like snakes, lizards, birds, frogs, mice, and even bats. Just to show you how big and strong these centipedes can get, watch the video.

They are kind of useful

Centipedes do actually provide a valuable service, eating up the little bugs and annoying insects that most people want to call down to the exterminator to come out and gas to destruction. So the centipede is not too much of a destructive creature, or even one that causes any kind of problems, but it is possible that if you get a nest of centipedes in your house, you may not want to keep them around, simply to eat all the ants, spiders and other small bugs and insects that might be around.

How to kill them?

Usually the professionals recommend that if you do have a large nest of centipedes in or around the house, you should actually kill them by starving them. This means, when the exterminator or other rodent control service comes out to get rid of the centipede population, their advice is to kill the food that the centipedes eat.

They live for a long time

With a healthy food supply, the centipede will live about six years. That, my friend, is an enormous amount of time to live, if you are a centipede. As long as there is a food supply around for the centipede to eat, which there probably will be as arachnids can also live a surprisingly long life (that is, until the Centipede eats it). There are even centipedes that have gone astray from their meat eating, carnivorous cousins and decided for some more green fare.