This creepy critter, a redheaded centipede (Scolopendra heros), was about two inches long. I say “was” because after I snapped this picture Ami killed it. It was climbing on her cabin at our Red River Ranch family reunion Labor Day weekend. She has two curious toddlers and didn’t want them getting acquainted with him.
He was eating a bug, which is why he was so patient with my photography. Too bad it was his last meal. His brother, however, got away.
After we got home I did some research on centipedes (the ranch has electricity, but no internet) and figured out these were just young pups. They average about eight inches in length. This guy and his brother, who was nearby, were just getting started.
We probably didn’t need to kill him, but they are venomous and can be aggressive. Centipedes have a pair of legs on each body segment, just in case you’re interested. Evidently millipedes legs are attached differently.
I was surprised to find a lot of information about how to keep them as pets! I even found an ad for someone selling his office pet. He says he never sees it because it comes out at night. Why would you have a pet you never see? He’s including a cricket terrarium so you can always have fresh crickets to feed it. eeewww!
Here’s a pretty big one that obviously wasn’t well or he wouldn’t been caught and probably wouldn’t have posed for these pictures.
I also found out they are predators—and even carnivores—eating bugs, crickets, moths, spiders, scorpions, small snakes… There is even a youtube video of one eating a mouse. I haven’t watched it, so if you are squeamish, avert your eyes.
It’s not an insect because it has more than six legs. It’s an arthropod. When I looked that up I found it’s in the same category as wasps, hornets, fleas, ticks, scorpions. And with further reading, I learned insects are a type of arthopod. It’s an invertebrate animal with jointed legs and a segmented body. It has an exoskeleton which is shed periodically. It includes spiders, mites, crustaceans—yes, shrimp and lobster—and insects. I also found it spelled anthropod, but I can’t tell if that’s an alternative spelling or misspelling. An anthropoid, I found out, is a man-like creature which includes apes, chimps, monkeys, gibbons. It comes from the Greek anthrōpoeidēs which means resembling a human. But that’s a whole different story.