The centipede (centipede) is not the most harmful creature that lives next to a person, but certainly one of the ugliest and most frightening! They are feared for many things: high speed, strange appearance and the possibility of being bitten.
Therefore, often the fight against centipedes turns into a real hell for people. We will destroy all myths about them on the basis of strictly scientific and verified data.
First, we will answer the most popular questions about what centipedes look like and where they live. And then find out if they bite and if they are poisonous. And also what to do if you are bitten by a centipede. But first, let’s take a closer look at these disgusting creatures.
What do centipedes look like, where do they live, how many legs do they have? Answers to the most popular questions
We are surrounded by many species of these vile centipedes. Among them are the usual domestic centipedes, and quite dangerous monsters like centipedes. Imagine you are lying in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, and suddenly this many-legged monster appears in front of you from nowhere?!
We think that each of us has seen a centipede near him at least once in his life. At first, people panic, start screaming and run away in terror. The same questions first appear in my head: “Who is this? How to get rid of him? Will he bite me?” . A little later, more logical and serious questions appear in my head. We have prepared answers for you that will close all the “dark spots” on the topic of fighting these creatures.
We must say right away that they cannot be classified as insects: from a scientific point of view, centipedes and insects belong to the same type (arthropods), but at this stage they diverge. Millipedes form a superclass of the same name, belonging to the Tracheal subtype. Most often they can be found in dark and damp places in the open air. For example, in a pile of foliage, under tree bark or stone, in beds and in mulch.
It is easy to recognize these aliens. They crawl only at night or in total darkness. The bodies of centipedes are extremely mobile and clearly segmented: each segment has a pair of legs. Moreover, as it approaches the tail, the length of the legs increases. Why – you ask? This allows the creature not to trip over itself and move quickly. They have two poisonous claws on their heads, which people often mistake for jaws. Certain variations are possible with the color of the body: it is usually gray with the addition of red, brown or pink. But sometimes you can see yellow stripes.
Where do centipedes live?
Where can you find the common centipede? Theoretically, she herself can fall on your face at night or look into the shower during home spa treatments. But more often centipedes settle in warm and humid basements, pantries and attics. Of course, they love bathrooms and greenhouses. There are also more inaccessible places. Experts recommend looking under concrete slabs and into all cracks, inside hollow walls, into sewers and boxes with old things. Moreover, it is much easier to “detect the centipede” in the dark: they are most active at night.
How many legs does a centipede have?
In general, they can have from 30 to 354 legs. There is one hilarious rule which is that centipedes never have an even number of pairs of legs (always 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 or 15 pairs). The house centipede (flycatcher) grows legs as it matures and typically has 15 pairs of legs. Surprisingly, the last pair of legs in an adult female is the longest – almost 2 times longer than the body of the insect itself. And, if you see an individual that has less than 30 legs, you should know that it is still small.
Are centipedes poisonous?
Millipedes themselves are not poisonous, but many of them have glands that contain poison. Arthropods need it in order to paralyze the victim and eat it. But the toxins also protect the centipedes themselves from the danger of becoming someone’s dinner: the often excreted liquid smells very unpleasant – and the predators run home!
But to be more precise, it is the insects and slugs they prey on, not humans, who should be afraid of the toxic composition of the centipede repellent. Although if you get in their way, most likely they will bite you. Scientists reassure all the alarmed: “Centipedes do not tolerate diseases . ” These are not mosquitoes for you, among which malarial can be infiltrated – centipedes cannot cause much harm to a person.
Many of these creatures have glands on the sides of their bodies that secrete poison. Therefore, it is better not to touch them with bare hands, take care of the skin: their “defensive spray” is very caustic and blisters may appear on your hands! And, of course, do not rub your eyes after touching such a creature and wash your hands thoroughly.
But who exactly should be feared, so skolopendr. Here is which of the centipede family people should avoid. Scolopendra venom is somewhat reminiscent of scorpion venom in composition! And we will talk about this below.
Do centipedes bite?
Yes, especially house centipede flycatchers. But you can not be afraid of the consequences of their bites: although these centipedes disgust you, they very rarely bite a person. As for animals, millipedes may well bite them: the smaller the animal turns out to be, the harder it will endure the bite. However, this happens extremely rarely. Bite mostly centipedes!
What to do if you are bitten by a scolopendra
But if you are still bitten by a scolopendra, be prepared for the following consequences (we will immediately warn you, not fatal). Bites can be very painful and go away slowly over 1-2 days. The main symptoms that you may experience are: at the very moment of the bite, there will be a sharp and prolonged pain; the severity of pain can vary (from mild to “10” on a 10-point pain scale); body temperature may rise; you may feel severe weakness; most likely, the sensitivity of the skin in the bite area will increase significantly, swelling and redness will appear, and loss of sensitivity and a feeling of numbness may also occur.
Skolopendra are somewhat similar to wasps that do not leave a stinger in the wound and can sting a person several times in a row. Often, at the time of discovery by a person, this creature still continues to inflict multiple punctures, introducing even more poison. Usually centipedes bite when a person is resting in bed, but they can crawl into clothes and bite the moment you start dressing.
But there is good news: scolopendra bites are not fatal! In order for a person to die from her poison, several thousand individuals must simultaneously bite him!
Helpful Hint: If you’ve been bitten by a scolopendra, find a heating pad at home, fill it with moderately hot water (up to 45 degrees C) and apply to the bite – this simple measure should bring relief. Scientists have not yet found an explanation for this phenomenon, but they suspect that this is possible due to the fact that some components of the centipede venom are unstable to heat. The second medicine is ice and analgesics.
Are centipedes dangerous for the home?
And you don’t have to worry about clothes, paper documents, furniture and other items. A centipede is not a moth or a silverfish. She doesn’t care about your things. Another thing is that some centipedes can spoil the air in the house due to the fact that they emit a bad-smelling secret – but even that is unlikely – there must be too many of these arthropods in your house for you to smell it. In addition, since centipedes are plant scavengers, they may be interested in rotting wood. We advise you to check attics and basements more often for moisture and for such “yummy”.
We hope we didn’t scare you. Therefore, at the end, in order to “whitewash” our heroes a little, we will tell you how centipedes are useful. They are very active in destroying pests. Their diet includes bedbugs, flies, cockroaches, termites and even spiders. So sometimes centipedes turn into real “guardians of housing” from even more harmful creatures. Therefore, if you are not afraid of such many-legged neighbors, then live with them “in peace and harmony.”