Are Centipedes Poisonous?

There are many different types of centipedes found all over the world. The majority of these species are not poisonous to humans. However, there are a small number of centipede species that are venomous, and their bites can cause serious health problems in humans.

In this guide, we will take a detailed look at the question: are centipedes poisonous? We will look at the different types of centipede, their venomousness, and the symptoms of a centipede bite. We will also provide some tips on what to do if you are bitten by a centipede.

What are Centipedes?

Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metamorphic insects with one pair of legs per body segment. Centipedes are found in almost every terrestrial habitat on Earth.

What do Centipedes look like?

Centipedes can vary greatly in size, with the largest species reaching over 30cm in length. They are generally brown or red in colour, with dark mottling or banding. Their bodies are segmented, and they have a pair of large, claw-like appendages near their head, which they use to capture prey.

Are Centipedes Poisonous?

Despite their scary appearance, centipedes are generally not dangerous to humans. The vast majority of centipede species do not have venomous claws, and of those that do, only a few are capable of inflicting a serious wound. In most cases, a centipede bite will only result in localized pain and swelling.

However, there are a few exceptions. Some species of centipede, such as Scolopendra heros, are capable of inflicting a painful and potentially dangerous bite. These centipedes have venom-filled claws that they use to inject their prey with venom. The venom of these centipedes can cause severe pain, swelling, and even necrosis (tissue death) at the site of the bite. In rare cases, centipede venom can also cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

Types of Centipede

There are two main types of centipede: the house centipede and the tropical centipede.

The house centipede is the most common type of centipede found in the home. They are typically between 1-2 inches in length and have 15 pairs of legs. House centipedes are not poisonous to humans and their bites are not harmful.

The tropical centipede is the largest type of centipede and can grow up to 12 inches in length. They have 21-23 pairs of legs and are usually a bright red or orange color. Tropical centipedes are found in tropical climates all over the world. A small number of tropical centipede species are venomous to humans and their bites can cause serious health problems.

Centipede Venom

The venom of a centipede is produced in special glands located at the base of their fangs. The venom is injected into their prey through the fangs and is used to kill or paralyze the prey.

Centipede venom is not harmful to humans in most cases. The venom of a house centipede is not strong enough to cause any health problems in humans. However, the venom of some tropical centipede species can be harmful to humans.

Symptoms of a Centipede Bite

The symptoms of a centipede bite depend on the type of centipede and the amount of venom injected. Most centipede bites will cause redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the bite. These symptoms are usually mild and will resolve within a few days.

In some cases, a centipede bite can cause more serious health problems. These problems can occur if the centipede is a tropical species and injects a large amount of venom. The symptoms of a more serious centipede bite include:

  • Severe pain at the site of the bite
  • Swelling and redness that spreads from the bite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty in breathing

If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by a centipede, you should seek medical help immediately.

Treatment for a Centipede Bite

The treatment for a centipede bite depends on the severity of the symptoms. Most centipede bites will resolve on their own within a few days. However, if the bite is more severe, you may need medical treatment.

If you have a severe reaction to a centipede bite, you should go to the hospital immediately. You will likely need to be given a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. You may also need to be given pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, you may need to be given a course of steroids.

Prevention of Centipede Bites

There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent being bitten by a centipede.

  • Avoid centipede-infested areas: If you live in an area where centipedes are common, try to avoid areas where they are likely to be found. This includes dark, damp areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and under porches.
  • Use caution when handling centipedes: If you must handle a centipede, use caution and wear gloves.
  • Keep your home free of centipedes: Centipedes typically enter homes in search of food. You can reduce the risk of centipedes entering your home by sealing cracks and openings in the foundation and around doors and windows. You should also keep your home clean and free of clutter.