for Your New Red-Headed Centipede
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Origins: We’re not positive. Most of our southwestern U.S. states have their own version of these nasty critters. They also grow in Central America and Southeast Asia. We’re not sure where some of ours came from.
Lots of different centipedes make interesting critters to keep. They come from all over the world. They live under rocks and wood -- just like our Iowa centipedes. Our Iowa centipedes measure very small on the "pede" scale. We just step on ours.
Size: Some of the Texas red-headed centipedes approach a foot in length. (Naturally Texas takes credit for the biggest pedes.) Most pedes grow to three to five inches.
Foods: Red-headed centipedes greedily rip into crickets. They’ll probably eat any insect you give them. Don’t mix them with each other for obvious reasons. Also, pedes need a variety of foods – not just crickets.
Supplements: If you can’t provide a varied menu, you’ll need to occasionally dust your crickets with vitamins or gut-load them with a vitamin supplement. Centipedes fed a single food will live a very short life. When you get right down to it, crickets live a short life no matter what.
Lighting: Since centipedes work the night shift, they need no special lighting.
Heat: All red-headed centipedes come from very warm regions. They prefer 80o or better. Put a heating pad under their terrarium.
Substrate: Keep their cage medium damp (not wet). Centipedes need a damp substrate to maintain the high humidity they need. Use peat moss, shredded bark, coconut husks, or any comparable material. Avoid pine and cedar.
Security: Obviously these guys crawled out from under a rock. A flat piece of bark will work fine. Or a rock. Whatever you put in your centipede's cage, he will crawl under it. Keep it simple enough to clean.
Décor: Red-headed centipedes could not care less. However, most pede keepers like their cages to look good.
Water: Since centipedes live atop a moist media and eat gooey insects, they probably need no water dish. We do recommend a light, daily misting.
Mixers? Forget about it. Centipedes enjoy consuming each other.
Handling? Don’t be stupid. Red-headed centipedes will never be found in a petting zoo. They bite – every time.
Allergies? If bee stings affect you adversely, never bring a red-headed centipede into your house.
Kids? If you have children in the house, do not bring home a red-headed centipede. They are not a child’s pet. Kids cannot resist the impulse to touch them – except girls, which are smarter.
Tameable: NO. You can’t train a centipede.
Breeding: Unknown. Not likely in your home, since centipedes eat each other.
Growth: Like other arthropods, centipedes shed their skins as they grow. They slow down and lose their appetites before they molt. Pedes then eat their skin – usually before you see it. Pedes replace missing legs and other parts during these molts.
In Summary: All of a sudden, we’re seeing an increase in the availability of strange bugs. We hope you enjoy the little creepy crawlers as much as we do. One man's pests is another man's pets (and you can quote me). LA.
Dave Kelly Bunzl, Isle of Man, UK, December 30, 2013
All the very best for the New Year,
A: We get the Vietnamese pedes once in a while, but I've never seen one this big. Maybe it just looks that big chewing on a cricket. Very nice pic by the way. Thanks for your input. I'm adding it to my centipede page. LA
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