Is the Bite of a Centipede Dangerous? Does a Centipede Bite?

by barbarab

This article came about due to a night time scare with this creepy crawly bug.

The Centipede Attacks After Watching The Season of the Witch!

The Night of the Living Fright!

Entering one's own kitchen after watching a scary movie should not involve a deathly struggle with a thousand legged creature! But, that is exactly what happened this weekend and it is probably just because of all the influenza vaccines I have taken over the last decade or so that kept me from death's door! Oh allright, but it might have improved my immune system a bit! The flu shot does improve the immune system! 

Course, the benefits of the influenza vaccine doesn't have anything to do with the shock of a centipede slowly dragging itself over your bare foot and the feel of tiny needles piercing your tender skin in the dark! 

Even though I was in absolute agony and fear and screaming "It bit me!" hubby retained his calm character, placing his hand on my shoulder and saying, "It's a centipede, Boo, not a snake, it isn't poisonous."

What difference does that make? I was practically bleeding to death in the kitchen! All I could see in my head were the horror stories of a giant centipede cutting their victims skin to ribbons just by crawling on them!

Then! Hubby turned on the light.

I was intact, not a mark, not a scratch and the centipede was squirming on the floor. Not a giant either, barely two inches long. 

You would think hubby would have had the decency to at least stomped it flat but NO! Hubby gently scooped the insect into the dustpan and dumped it out the back door.

I hope a dove eats it!

What did you say? You said "a centipede is already flat, it's the millipede that is round and fat? Oh thank you! As if I needed to know there is something worse than a centipede out to end my life as I know it!

Maybe next time it will come after you!


Do you have a fear of any insect biting you?

Come Clean! Tell your worst nightmare!

What Is the Difference in Centipedes, Or Are They All Out to Get Me?

The type of centipede determines if you live or die by its sting! Oh OK, maybe not die, per se, but close!

Truth is, living in the desert carries its joys and sorrows tied with the same prickly bow. You have to be aware at all times inside or out for insects or other lovely things that will scare you senseless. I know that.

I have loved my Sonoran Desert since 1979. I know better (now) than to walk outside without shoes. I know to shake out my shoes before I put them on, even if they just came off my feet two seconds ago!  I do not pick up rocks (that holler at me) with my hands; I turn them over with my booted foot first (then I tote them home!) 

The centipede that was in my kitchen was probably the garden centipede, or the Scutigera coleoptrata). These insects are actually beneficial, if you can get over the creepy crawly thingy feel. I still want to get them out of the house, I don't really care if they do live seven years and were probably here first! However, if hubby and I had been in the rainforest of South America the night could have ended in tragedy! The venomous centipede known as Scolopendra gigantea can cause a type of anyphylactic shock. 

There is a desert centipede that can cause discomfort and that is where the horror stories come from as well. The giant desert centipede or the Scolopendra heros, has hooked feet and when it crawls on you it leaves a puncture mark with every step! However, the centipede that was in the kitchen this weekend bites with its front appendages and every step did not leave a puncture in my foot.

It just felt like it did and the feeling lasted nearly a year! Oh all right, it only happened last night, not a year ago and I don't feel a thing on my foot today...But it makes a good story!

Any bite or sting from any centipede can cause temporary discomfort and this would be worse for children and elderly persons, however, these centipedes are not aggressive and will rapidly leave the area if encountered. The desert centipedes usually stay in the desert at any rate. All centipedes are remarkedly fast, they can scurry under the tiniest slit and get into the house. Sounds like I am contradicting myself you say?  True, but the giant desert centipede prefers to remain in the desert; it has more opportites for growth! The giant centipede can reach a length of eight inches and it's feet are orangish in color though the body is brown and black striped. 

The smallest and most striking is the red coloured centipede or the Arizona Giant Centipede. It is found in the Sonoran Desert and its red/orange color is a warning to other predators but it is also not poisonous to humans. It just looks frightening, especially with its false head! The most impressive fact of all centipedes is that they are all very fast, they can eat anything that is the same size and it actually helps humans by getting rid of bedbugs, roaches, spiders and other insects in and around the house!

However, if it is in my house I will still make hubby put it outside and I really prefer it be squashed but he says they are so juicy it would make a huge mess.

Men! They never want to help clean house!

Updated: 08/14/2011, barbarab
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barbarab on 08/28/2011

thank you Forest Bear! Want to hear about the tarantula we saw this week?

ForestBear on 08/27/2011

I'm not fond of creepy crawlers. Great article, I enjoyed my visit.

barbarab on 08/18/2011

me too!!! and yes I screamed!! loudly!!!

happynutritionist on 08/18/2011

All I can do is scream, almost, this is my LEAST favorite creature to come across of all creatures, and I generally tolerate and like almost any living creature large and small. ICK!

barbarab on 08/16/2011

good morning Peggy!! I know!!
let them stay outside right ??? !!
having been in the south for/lets just say too long cough/I still buy the insecticide from wmart and I use it!!! y
es!! I admit it!!!
well where else did the DDT question come from :)
we southerners know we have to stay ahead of all the creepy crawlies!! :)
what desert if I may be so bold as to ask?

PeggyHazelwood on 08/16/2011

I too live in the desert and am getting used to (sort of) the critters here. I don't mind any of them OUTSIDE; in my house is another matter. Yuck. Good luck to you!

barbarab on 08/15/2011

hello T Harmon, kajohu and mivvy!!! :) it was totally horrible so the only way I could deal with it was to laugh!! then when I read they eat bedbugs!!!! I was so checking out the bed linens before I went to bed!!! and fast!! man that thing can scoot!!!
"horrible nasty things make me late for supper!"

mivvy on 08/15/2011

I am glad i don't livein the desert. The only stinging desert animal I know is the scorpion. When travelling in southern Morocco, we always put our shoes against the wall, heel downward (at night)

kajohu on 08/15/2011

oh, yuck, yuck, yuck to the centipede crawling on you and biting you!!! I hate our house centipedes (they have long, long legs, and are creepy!) and fully sympathize with your horror!

T_Harmon_Art on 08/15/2011

LMAO! I love this article! I'm about to head to bed and that was a fun end to my night! Of course, now I'm going to be wondering if some creepy crawly is going to be out to get me as I sleep! Thanks...thanks a lot!

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