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I love these things! First giant centipede i ever owned, first (*ahem* and only...) giant centipede i've caught in it's native environs.
The author of the care sheet, Andrew Olson ~ cacoseraph, is no an expert and has no formal invertebrate education. Unless otherwise noted, the following is based on his personal observations and could very well be incorrect. Caveat Emptor.
This species should be kept as a drier giant centipede.
|| Scolopendra, Giant Centipede|
||Nervous and Defensive/Aggressive|
||I have seen 6"BL and would not be suprised by 7"|
||Crickets ,roaches,meal worms,etc|
||peat moss,vemiculite,potting soil,Bed-A-Beast, Jungle Mix|
This is a tough North American species. Found in U.S. states of CA, NV, AZ, TX for certain, and probably in some surrounding states. Likely found in Mexico.
This centipede is available under a host of common names. Geographic variation names often include state names, such as Texas Tiger Centipede. Reference to the coloration, specifically the banding are common. I purchased my largest polymorpha as "Arizona Blue-Banded Centipede". "Banded", "Striped", and "Tiger" are all possible parts of a common name for S. polymorpha. The strangest name i saw this sold under was "Striped Desert Centipede".
In the wild i find these centipedes under various size debris, such as boards, logs, stumps, mattresses, etc. Sometimes evidence of a scrape type of hide can be found, othertimes it appears the centipedes have made no modifications at all. I also find them in piles of garbage/decaying vegetation.
In captivity, so far all the specimens i have observed (25-30) have burrowed for at least some periods of time, if given the opportunity. This leads me to believe there are many more hidden centipedes in the wild, that i will never encounter.
If you are willing to possibly not see your centipede for months at a time, i would suggest you allow it a chance to burrow. If not, a hide is required. Otherwise the centipede is likely to become agitated when you open its container. Most centipedes are fairly secretive animals. Some are VERY secretive.
I live inside this species native habitat. Therefore I have to pay less attention to these things. In an effort to let all my bug pets sync up with the seasons for breeding and molting purposes i keep my bedroom/bugroom window wide open with a fan drawing outside air in as much as possible. Hopefully, this will make cage conditions reflect outside conditions to a limited degree.
I had a few centipedes die, as i used to only mist and feed for hydration. Now i keep 1oz condiment cups with a stone or two in each, in each cage. These cups are not always full, but full 4-5 days of the week. I haven't had any deaths since i instituted the cup policy. For small centipedes i lower ventilation and only mist.
One thing i have noticed, ventilation seems to be somewhat important to these guys. I found this suprising, as in the wild i would find them under a foot or two of decaying vegetation that was left in large mounds. Perhaps they stay more near the surface normally, and are driven deeper when they sense my presense. At any rate, S. polymorpha I kept in very humid and poorly ventilated containers seemed to die more often than my other guests.
Ventilation MUST be balance with access to moisture.
The following information is from Biology of Centipedes by Lewis (1981). Most centipedes have very poor moisture retention, leaking moisture out of their breathing spiracles. Scolopendramorphae have a limited ability to seal their spiracles against water loss, but are still more susceptible than a tarantula or scorpion.
A small centipede kept in a bare cage would probably die of desication in a day or two, a larger one might last 3-5 days.
All giant centipedes should be considered nervous and defensive.
If you want to think about holding them, look at this:
The eggs from my brother's ~3.5"BL (9cm) WC female appeared to be 3-6mm clear yellow "jelly" globes. These turned into postembryo/protonymphs there were about 10-15mm long, with only 3 pairs of legs. When the eggs finally hatch the babies have a full complement of legs, but are white and don't move move around much. AFter they molt their ocloring is closer to adult and they move and eat.
Measuring centipedes: From what i have read, the correct way to measure the length of a centipede is Body Length, or BL. Body Length consists for measuring the centipede from tip of face to tip of last body segment. Antenna and legs, terminal or otherwise, are NOT counted.
Females can be as small as 3"BL, and lay viable eggs.
I purchased an S. polymorpha from a petstore that is 6-6.5"BL (12-13cm), perhaps more when stretching out lengthwise.
My centipedes eat mainly crickets. This is occasionally supplemented by mealworms, waxworms, roaches, and i know some of my centipedes bought from petstores were fed pinkies. A key to good pet nutrition is good feeder nutrition. I try to make sure my feeders have constant access to some form of food and water. I feed them a variety of fruits, vegetables, and commecial gut load.
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Handling is not without it's risks!