Caring for Your New Giant African Millipede
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Giant African Millipede Factoids

Origin

Africa

Size

Blacks 12+ inches, oranges slightly smaller

Temp

Room temp fine

Humidity

Needs good humidity

Water

Shallow water bowl

Attitude

Lackadaisical

Substrate

Immaterial

Security

Likes a hiding place 

Foods

Feed pelleted foods 

Supplement

None 

Lighting

Immaterial.  Prefers low light.

LA Pic
Giant millipedes ball up when threatened.  Note the color variation.  He's a "black."

Origins:  Out of Africa.  But that’s a pretty big place.  We’re not sure where giant millipedes come from exactly.  Since different colors appear from time to time, they probably come from different regions.  One source says grasslands; another says tall, equatorial forests -- quite a range there.  No point in obsessing.

Info from Adam Southard, Hillsboro, OR, June 30, 2005
I hit your page on the web. In case you’re interested, your Giant African Millipedes are from the Congo Basin.  It’s warm.  Lots of fruit falls to the ground (mangos, star fruit, monkey fruit, breadfruit, papaya). It’s humid and rains constantly and the things are extremely common.
They’re harmless, so no one hurts them. But they smell bad so no one really picks them up either.

LA Pic
Here's an index finger for size comparison with these orange giant millipedes.

 

Size:  Black giant millipedes exceed a foot in length.  The oranges, often called pumpkins, never seem to grow that large.  They all get along together.

LA Pic
Giant millipedes like ZuPreem's hook bill formula.

Foods:  When we first tried (unsuccessfully) giant millipedes, our research books said to keep them moist and feed them decaying vegetation.  They never fared well at all.  They now live very well when fed pelleted foods -- iguana, turtle, even bird food.  They greedily devour cucumbers (except the peels).  The pellets are easiest to feed and keep clean.  Decaying vegetation makes a poor display and evidently a poor diet.

LA Pic
Giant millipedes jump on these cucumber slices faster than the pelleted foods.  This end eats.

LA

LA Pic
Giant millipedes eat watermelon out of your fingers but still prefer the cucumbers.

Natural Food:  Apparently giant millipedes really enjoy sliced cucumbers.  We get the impression theyll eat about anything you might put on a Subway sandwich.

LA
Millipedes grow great on pelleted foods.

Supplements:  Commercial pelleted foods contain lots more nutrition than decayed vegetation.  Giant millipedes need no supplements.  You might try different brands -- just for variety.

LA Pic
Typical daytime activity for giant millipedes -- unless misted.

LA
Much more active under low light and no light.

Attitude.  During the day, they curl up and take long “giant millipede naps.  They scuttle about more at night.

Lighting:  Since pedes work the night shift, they need no special lighting.  Actually, giant millipedes prefer dim lighting.

Heat:  None needed.

LA Pic
Shredded wood works as their substrate and can be cleaned in hot water or tossed out.

LA
They show very well over white gravel.

Substrate:  Use sand, gravel, peat moss, shredded bark, coconut husks, or any comparable material -- just pick a contrasting color that shows off your giant millipede.  Avoid pine and cedar.  You can use dirt, but water and dirt don’t mix well.  Well, they mix but make a muddy mess.

LA Pic
Somehow, giant millipedes manage to reach the top.  Keep yours well covered.

Keep Covered:  Giant millipedes weigh too much to climb the glass.  You would not think they could climb out.  Think again.

 

Security:  Obviously these guys crawled out from under a rock.  A flat piece of bark will work fine.  Or a rock.  Giant millipedes don’t demand a hiding spot, but will use it.  You’ll often find them under their food or water bowl

LA Pic
These black giant millipedes like to climb upright pieces of wood.

Décor:  Provide something for your giant millipede to crawl upon -- rocks, driftwood, decorative fake plants.  They like to climb.

LA Pic
Some giant millipedes drink out of bowls.  Most get along on the drops from their daily misting.

Water:  Provide a shallow drinking bowl.  And, as you might expect from something that looks like it came from underneath a rock, they like moist conditions.  Giant millipedes really appreciate a daily misting.  It seems to re-charge their batteries.

LA Pic
Giant millipede simply do not argue -- even when crowded.

LA
They seem to like each other.

Mixers?  They get along fine with other giant millipedes.

LA Pic
Lots and lots of legs -- but not quite a thousand.  Four per (segment minus10) for the total.

Handling?  Giant millipedes don’t bite, but they may “spit” a bit of goo on your fingers.  Actually, this goo comes out their back end.  It’s not really spit.  One source says this liquid “should never be eaten or applied to the eyes.”  Good advice, Doc.

Kids?  If you have children in the house, boys will enjoy chasing girls with a giant millipede.  Boys enjoy this exercise more than the girls (or the millipede).

Other Uses:  Breakfast snack on TVs Fear Factor.

LA Pic
Giant millipedes prefer to loaf during the day.

Breeding:   Un-observed by us.  Apparently a very easy process when you keep them uncrowded.

LA Pic
Here's one giant millipede giving another a back rub.  Can you see their cleaner mites?

LA Pic
07/03 Update:  Here you see two giant millipedes copulating.  Note the tiny blob.

LA Pic
Another giant millipede coupling.  Note the little blob they're swapping.  No babies yet.

LA
Here you see another pair copulating.

LA Pic
Check out the tiny mites on the black guy.  They move so fast, they blur out.

Cooties?  Tiny motile mites run all over these big guys.  The little guys apparently clean the big guys.  

Canada Info.  You cannot legally own an African giant millipede in Canada without a federal permit.  We
re not the only country with stupid laws, eh?

LA Pic
Which end of the giant millipede eats?

LA
This end eats.

LA Pic
Cuke slice after about 35 minutes with the giant millipedes.

LA Pic
No matter how long you keep them, giant millipedes still curl when you pick them up.

LA Pic
Nice colony of milipedes.

LA
Apr 07.  Now we're seeing these smaller reds, rainbows, psychedelics.

LA
You can mist them or dip them in water daily.

LA
Florida "red" millipede.

LA
Likes the pelleted bird food.

LA
Sheds his entire skin at same time.

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.

© 2002, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2007, © 2010  LA Productions
 

Charlotte Hanks Moher, South Africa, October 26, 2006
Hi! I'm an American chick who's recently moved to the bush in South Africa.  Among other creatures, I'm finding an increasing need to Google bugs these days, and was thrilled to be able to learn a bit more about what crawled over my toes last night as I was making dinner.
However, you write this:
"Origins:  Out of Africa.  But that's a pretty big place.  We're not sure where giant millipedes come from exactly.  Since different colors appear from time to time, they probably come from different regions.  One source says grasslands; another says tall, equatorial forests -- quite a range there.  No point in obsessing."
I think, in truth, they're pretty widespread.  They seem to eat a lot of different stuff, so can be adapted to a lot of environments. I've seen them up in the Kalahari, where rotting vegetation is pretty scarce. I've heard tell of them in the Congo, and now, apparently, they're in my goddamn kitchen.  Don't worry, though, I'm not the screechy kind of chick. I picked it up and sent it on its way into the garden.
FWIW, I live in rocky, hilly bush veldt: pretty dry, not much rotting vegetation around, but this guy seemed to be pretty healthy.  He wasn't huge, maybe 5" or so, but pretty active.
Thanks for the great page!  I might catch the next one I find and give him cucumbers.
 
A:  Jambo.  How you day?  I'll add your comment to my millipede page.  LA

LA

LA

LA

LA

Dave Kelly, UK, January 22, 2010
Hi, I live in the UK and was boning up on the best care for my new Emperor Scorps when I came across your excellent site -- Nice One!!
Just a couple of quick thoughts on Giant Millipedes, especially with kids in the house. Lovely things to hold (the millipedes, I hasten to add...) but a strict handwashing regime must be implemented as the malodorous juice that's exuded can be toxic if ingested. I don't know the level of toxicity but better safe 'n' all that. Don't need any court cases pending!!!
The other thing is regarding breeding -- Yes they can be bred if not over crowded. Also is of benefit to have one of each sex.... ;)
Cheers for a great site.

A:  We always say "wash your hands after handling reptiles."  We probably should also say "wash your hands after handling anything squirmy that pukes on you."  Pet store crews also wash their hands before using the rest room.  BTW, thanks for the sex tip.  LA
PS 
We haven't been able to get the black millipedes for years.

    

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