What Do Millipedes Eat? List Of Foods And Fun Facts

Martha Martins
Oct 16, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
A Giant Millipede climbing up and eating green leaf for a living.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 4.8 Min

A millipede is a docile, detrivores arthropod that primarily feeds on decaying and decomposing plant material and organic matter.

They generally live in moist and damp places such as under rocks, under leaf piles, in flower beds, in rotting wood logs, in lawns and gardens, in the soil, or any other warm and humid place.

Millipedes play a significant role in the ecosystem as they help in speeding up the fertilization process of the soil by feeding on decomposing plants and organic matter in the soil.

Millipedes have a cylindrical segment body with a head consisting of eyes, mouth, and antennae. They have two pairs of legs per segment. Millipedes do not have 1000 legs as their name portrays.

These creatures typically have less than 100 legs. They generally have legs between the range of 34-750 depending on the species. Despite having so many legs, millipedes move slowly and can't outrun their predators.

Millipedes are not classified as insects rather they are anthropods. There are around 10,000 species of millipedes all around the world except in the continent of Antarctica.

A millipede's life expectancy is around 10 years. Millipedes do not bite or sting like other anthropods or insects. Millipedes can be kept as pets at home as they are harmless creatures and consume almost any fruit or vegetable offered to them.

Are you liking this interesting article related to millipedes? Give a read to these fun fact animal articles related to what do rhinos eat and what do iguanas eat here on Kidadl.

Do millipedes eat vegetables?

Millipedes generally feed on decaying plants and organic matter in the soil. They consume saplings, seedlings, flowers, buds, leaves, stalks, roots, wood, and leaf and plant fluids. Along with these food sources, they also consume vegetables as well as fruits.

Pet millipedes can be offered a variety of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and veggies must be peeled and cut into small, manageable pieces for millipedes to feed on. Soft and seedless fruits and vegetables can be offered to millipedes. Here is a list of foods that millipedes can eat.

Vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, lettuce.

Fruits like apples, melons, bananas, peaches.

Millipedes kept as pets often require vitamins and calcium in their diets in order to grow healthy. You can offer fresh food rich in vitamins and calcium or sprinkle store-bought supplements on their food so that they get all the essential nutrients.

Are millipedes herbivores?

There are various species of millipedes. Most of them are detrivores which means that they feed on decaying leaves, dead plants, organic matter, and waste that is mixed with soil.

Some millipede species are predatory or omnivores that feed on decaying animal-based sources of food such as rotting flesh, dead insects, or pests like spiders, ants, cockroaches, bugs, snails, and earthworms.

However, there is a wide range of millipede species that are herbivores. They mostly feed on saplings, seedlings, moss, leaves, plants, roots, plant fluids, veggies, and fruits.

A large millipedes eating mushrooms on a forest log.

What do millipedes drink?

Millipedes are generally found in damp and moist areas where they get enough moisture to stay hydrated. Millipedes get hydration from the food they consume. They drink fluids obtained from plants as well. Millipedes may often drink stagnant water to quench their thirst and sustain themselves.

Millipedes can be kept as pets at home. These pets do not take up much space.

You can create a housing environment by resembling a millipede habitat in a tank. You must equip the tank with a good substrate on the floor of the tank as millipedes need a moist environment to sustain themselves.

For creating a substrate for the housing, you can use soil and place some seedlings and moss in the tank too as it will keep the substrate moist and warm regulating the temperature in the tank.

Adequate temperature and humidity of substrate are of utmost importance for the health, survival, and life of millipedes. They like a moist environment so make sure to spray and mist a little water on the substrate of the tank so that the millipede gets moisture and humidity from it.

Offering a fresh food diet and a moist substrate to pet millipedes will keep them hydrated. You can keep a small bowl of chlorine-free, freshwater for them as well.

How do millipedes protect themselves?

Millipedes are docile creatures and not at all aggressive. They do no harm to humans or animals.

Millipedes have two pairs of legs in each body segment but they cannot move fast, so they tend to recoil and curl up as a defensive mechanism when they sense any kind of danger or encounter any predators. They often secrete defensive liquid from their bodies to protect themselves and keep off predators.

This defensive secretion from the millipede body has a foul smell and an awful taste to repel its predators. This secretion consists of a compound that can cause mild itching, rashes, and blisters on the skin.

Millipedes have the same senses just like humans. These are smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste. A millipede can see light including the ultraviolent light with its compound eyes. A millipede's antennae are used for the sense of smell and taste. A millipede can sense sound vibration with its body. It can sense danger and predators with its body.

Female millipedes lay around 100 eggs at a time. The mother millipede creates a protective cover for her newly born offspring using her own feces to guard them against other insects and animals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do millipedes eat, then why not take a look at what do robins eat or millipedes facts.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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