Fun Centipede Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Diya Patel
One of the best centipede facts is that centipedes are also called 'hundred leggers'.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

If your child is fascinated by the qualities of various species of the Animalia kingdom, then this article about centipedes might interest them. Centipedes are long, flat, worm-like creatures that move so fast that it hardly takes seconds for them to disappear into the dark.

The creature is also referred to as a 'hundred legger' since it has hundreds of centipede legs attached to its body.

Did you know that centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs? This creature is nocturnal in nature and can sometimes be found in bathrooms or other rooms with lots of moisture in the air!

Whether you think they are pests or not, we hope you enjoy these centipede facts and you can also check out facts on the house centipede or the worm snake too!

Centipede Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a centipede?

Centipedes are terrestrial arthropods that have at least 15 pairs of legs. There are many different types of centipede, including the black centipede, water centipede, giant centipede, Hawaiian centipede, house centipede, and the giant desert centipede.

What class of animal does a centipede belong to?

Centipedes are arthropodsbelonging to the class Chilopoda.

How many centipedes are there in the world?

8,000 species of centipedes exist worldwide.

Where does a centipede live?

Centipedes have a wide geographical range, from arctic to terrestrial habitats, from tropical rainforests to deserts.

What is a centipede's habitat?

Centipedes can be found easily all over the world, be it in South America, North America, Europe or Africa. Some of the most peculiar and largest varieties of centipedes are located in South America. One of the best centipede habitat facts is that centipedes usually prefer moist, dark, and cool habitats since they are nocturnal in nature.

Who do centipedes live with?

Unlike bees or ants, centipedes usually prefer living alone. From house centipedes to the ones living in the wild, they tend to dwell alone. They are sometimes called 'solitary hunters' since they prefer to live and hunt alone.

How long does a centipede live?

The lifespan of arthropods varies for different species. While on average, centipedes live for one year, a few have lived for up to six years.

How do they reproduce?

Almost all centipedes species reproduce through the sexual mode of reproduction, however, there are a few species that use the asexual mode, known as parthenogenesis. Sexual reproduction in centipedes is initiated by the male.

They initiate the process by churning out tiny webs all around, wherever the retrieval of sperm packages is possible by female centipedes. The female then retrieves the package uses it to lay centipede eggs consecutively under tree barks, stones or dirt.

The mother takes care of the eggs and raises the infants before the whole cycle repeats. The prime time for centipede breeding is the summer.

What is their conservation status?

Although most centipedes are listed as Not Extinct, there is one species of centipede that is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. This is the serpent island centipede that is found in Africa.

Centipede Fun Facts

What do centipedes look like?

The house centipede has a worm-like body that is split into segments and has approximately 100 legs (with anywhere from 15 pairs of legs). An average centipede pest has a brown or yellow body accompanied by dark stripes on each segment.

Its head has a pair of antennae while its mouth is small and it has venom stored in a claw-like structure. It has a waxy-segmented body, with small eyes, and antennae.

Centipedes come in various forms and sizes, while some look fancy others look alienlike.

How cute are they?

A centipede in the house is not considered very cute at all! Due to their body segments, waxy nature, and vicious centipede mouth, these creatures are often regarded as pests and are not seen as cute. Even a baby centipede isn't considered very appealing and is seen as a pest.

How do they communicate?

Centipedes have very poor eyesight (due to their compound eyes) therefore they use their sense of touch to move around and communicate. They use the movement of their antenna and legs, as well as their sense of smell and sound for communication.

How big is a centipede?

The most common pest of this species is the common house centipede. These pests are between 0.16–12 in (4-300 mm) long, with between 15 and 177 pairs of legs. The antennae and last few pairs of legs of this pest are much longer than its body.

How fast can a centipede move?

The presence of a large number of legs obviously gives them a good speed. Their speed helps them when they are a predator as well as when they are prey.

They can cover up to 1.3 ft per second with the help of their many legs, which helps them escape predators easily and hunt for their prey relatively effortlessly too.

How much does a centipede weigh?

Centipedes are extremely light, so much so that their weight is not often measured.

What are their male and female names of the species?

No specific name is given to females or males of the species.

What would you call a baby centipede?

There is no specific name for baby centipedes, these baby pests are simply called baby centipedes.

What do they eat?

Most centipedes are carnivorous and find insects, spiders, worms, cockroaches, flies, moths, crickets, silverfish, earwigs, small spiders, and other arthropods, including other centipedes to eat.

Are they dangerous?

Although the venom used by house centipedes to kill their prey is poisonous to their prey, for humans it is unlikely to cause any health complications. However, some centipedes have venom that might trigger allergic reactions in some humans (containing chemicals such as histamine, serotonin, and cardio-depressant toxins), so they can be dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Some people do keep centipedes as pets, but they aren't recommended for kids as they are pretty slippery and if they escape, could give people a good scare. It is safe to say that you will find that this pest is not a common pet!

Did you know...

One of the best centipede facts for kids is that although the literal meaning of the word 'centipede' is '100 legs', an average centipede has around 15-177 pairs of legs throughout his life!

One of the best house centipede facts is that centipedes are great mothers as they believe in sticking around with their children for as long as they need. They look after their young until they are old enough to look after themselves.

How to get rid of centipedes?

Centipedes can invade homes because to feed on species like cockroaches and spiders. Also, sometimes, the safety and warmth of a heated home lures these predators inside to reproduce.

If you want to get rid of centipedes, the best way (other than using pesticides) is to get rid of any food sources for them. The absence of food will ultimately make them leave or starve to death. Other than this, you can also use centipede repellent to overcome a centipede infestation and kill house centipedes.

How do you treat a centipede bite?

Centipedes bites aren't hard to recognize. Their bites leave behind two puncture marks which makes them easy to recognize.

The amount of pain felt by the person depends on the amount of venom injected by the centipede and swelling is quite common.

In order to heal the pain from a house centipede bite, you can do the following things: immerse the wound in hot water in order to compress the venom, and in order to reduce swelling, ice packs can be effective too.

You should use the proper medication in order to avoid inflammation, redness, or pain as well. Please contact a medical professional if you are concerned after being bitten by a centipede.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the giant African millipede, or the Atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Centipede coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Diya Patel

Bachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

Diya Patel picture

Diya PatelBachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

A member of Kidadl's fact-checking team, Diya is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science from Ahmedabad University with an interest in exploring other fields. As part of her degree, she has taken classes in communications and writing to expand her knowledge and skills.

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