Monday, May 8, 2006

The Red Headed Centipede

The Red Headed Centipede, Scolopendra heros castaneiceps, is one of three subspecies of Scolopendra heros, which are often collectively referred to as "Giant Desert Centipedes". The Giant Desert Centipedes are some of the largest and most attractive of all centipedes, but the Red Headed Centipede is widely considered the most impressive of the bunch.

The Red Headed Centipede is a desert dweller that spends the day tucked away in moist hiding spots to avoid the desert's drying affects. They are often found in rock crevices, under leaf litter, and under rocks, and will sometimes burrow into the ground. Red Headed Centipedes are nocturnal predators that feed primarily upon insects. They are well equipped to avoid being preyed upon. This species of centipede has a tail that looks similar to its head, confusing would-be predators and thus, helping to protect its most vital areas. If it is attacked, it can respond with a very painful or even deadly bite. This species of centipede is quite fast and typically very aggressive. Although the venom of this centipede is not considered deadly to humans, all centipedes have a certain amount of venom in their bites; and while be bitten usually results in nothing more than a very painful wound, some people may be allergic to the venom. Pain from the bite may only last a couple of hours, but it could last as much as a couple of days.

The Red Headed Centipede is one of the world's largest species of Centipede and can reach 6 to 12 inches in length. They may have dark blue, purple, or black bodies with red or orange heads, and attached to each body segment is a pair of yellow legs.

The Red Headed Centipede is a relatively common species found throughout much of the southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.
WARNING! NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH: Click here to see a youtube video of a Red Headed Centipede killing and eating a mouse.

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