Most people do not consider millipedes when thinking of pets, but these interesting creatures do make fantastic pets for those fascinated by the weird and wonderful. And unlike their myriapod cousin the centipede, the millipede is gentle and slow and, more importantly, does not bite.
Millipedes are also unlike centipedes when it comes to diet. Whereas centipedes are full-on carnivores that like to eat delicacies such as crickets, cockroaches, and spiders, millipedes generally prefer a plant-based diet (although in the wild they will some insects if necessary).
What to Feed Your Millipede Pet?
Millipedes are easy to care for, and when it comes to feeding there are a number of options available to you. Surprisingly, they will actually happily feed on the substrate they are living in, but you should also add other foods to ensure the millipede is getting all the nutrients it requires for a healthy existence.
In their natural environment, millipedes enjoy eating decaying or damp wood as well as decaying leaf matter. If their environment becomes too dry though, they tend to move on to living plants while some will occasionally eat bugs.
In captivity, you can provide a variety of food options for the millipede to see what it enjoys the best. Fortunately for you, most of the food millipedes like to eat are readily available in your home. You can offer things such as potato peelings as well as other vegetables and fruits. You could give it foods such as squash, bananas, melon, apples, cucumbers, and romaine lettuce, to name but a few things. Iceberg lettuce should be avoided though because it just doesn’t have enough nutrients for the millipede to thrive.
When offering foods such as apples and cucumbers, it is necessary to peel and slice them as the millipede will find it tough trying to chew through the skin as their mouthparts are not that strong.
How Often Should You Feed Your Millipede?
As millipedes are nocturnal, they will typically feed during the night. To that end, you should provide food every evening but be sure to remove any uneaten items the following morning to prevent it from spoiling.
Another way to ensure that the millipede is getting sufficient nutrients, offer it some rabbit pellets, fish food flakes, or cuttlefish once a week.
Water is also something to think about, and while the millipede should generally be okay in a humid environment, a tank that is too dry can result in harm to the creature. Make sure you are regularly spraying the walls of the enclosure as well as the substrate. You could also place a damp cotton pad on top of the substrate so that there is access to water if required (although it should be able to get sufficient water from the food you provide).
- Featured Image (Yellow-Banded Millipede): Totodu74 – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Giant Fire Millipede: Charles J Sharp – Sharp Photography – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
- Octoglena bivirgata: Sam McNally – https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/275405 – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
- Sagmatostreptus strongylopygus: Henrik Enghoff. 2011. Trans-segmental serial colour patterns in millipedes and their developmental interpretation (Diplopoda). International Journal of Myriapodology 6: 1–27, doi:10.3897/ijm.6.1949 – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
- American Giant Millipede: Randal J. (RJFerret) – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
- Yellow-Spotted Millipede: Franco Folini – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Apheloria virginiensis: Bob Walker – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
- Spotted Snake Millipede: Whitney Cranshaw – http://www.insectimages.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=5393517 – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
- Flat Millipede: Danny Khorskhi – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.