There are countless weird and wonderful creatures that us humans can keep as pets, but one that may seem weirder than most to some people is the centipede. After all, many individuals class these myriapods as pests that often find their way into homes without invitation.
Smaller centipedes can be found on most continents, including Europe and North America, but some of the larger species, often referred to as giant centipedes, are found naturally in tropical climates such as the northern areas of South America. In fact, the largest known centipede species hail from the Amazon rainforest.
Do Centipedes Make Good Pets?
The question of whether centipedes make good pets or not depends very much on your perspective of what a good pet is. If you are looking for a pet that you can handle, then a centipede is not really a good choice. The reason for this is that these creatures can actually be very aggressive and give a nasty bite.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a pet that you can observe without handling unnecessarily, centipedes are ideal as they are absolutely fascinating to watch. With their countless pairs of legs and segmented bodies, both of which are used with surprising speed and agility when hunting, it is no surprise that there are those that choose to have them as pets.
Although the word ‘centipede’ means one hundred legs in Latin, they never actually have this number of legs. In fact, they have one pair of legs for each body segment, and because they will always have an odd number of body segments, it is not possible for them to have exactly one hundred legs. Depending on the species, they might have as few as 15 pairs and as many as 177 pairs. The average for centipedes generally though is 35 pairs.
Centipede owners are as much fascinated with their many legs as they are with the many exotic colors that centipedes can have. While some species are one uniform color, others can have a number of different colors such as dark brown, red, and even white.
The Best Centipede for Beginners
It can be difficult to identify a specific centipede species as a beginner pet as each person with experience of taking care of these creatures will have his or her own opinion. The best choice for you will depend on your personal circumstances. For example, you will need to consider budget and the time you have to devote to the creature.
You should also bear in mind what is required of being a centipede owner in terms of feeding and handling. You might be surprised to learn that centipedes are extraordinarily strong in relation to their size. They are also very cunning and can sneak through the smallest spaces. It is important, therefore, to ensure that they are kept in a secure tank with a lockable lid.
Centipedes are carnivorous and so will require live prey. This means you will need to provide insects for them to hunt and eat, such as crickets. Although some centipedes may be more docile than others, they are naturally aggressive hunters and will bite if given the chance. It is necessary then to make sure you use long-handled tweezers to offer food into the enclosure.
Centipedes require feeding twice a day, so you will also need to be sure that you can fulfill this requirement. If you are going away on vacation or for a weekend, for example, you will need to hand over feeding responsibilities to someone capable and trustworthy.
The species of centipede you go for will also depend on how active or docile you prefer them to be. A more docile centipede will be less likely to attack but will also be less interesting to watch. A good centipede species choice for a beginner, in our opinion, would be mutilans as these are active, yet docile and also look good too.
- Featured Image (Giant Desert Centipede): John – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
- House Centipede: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
- Waterfall Centipede: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
- Amazonian Giant Centipede: Katka Nemčoková – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Red-Headed Centipede: B. Navez – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Common Desert Centipede: Matt Reinbold – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
- Chinese Red-Headed Centipede: Daderot – This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.