Population in the Wild: Unknown
The Amazonian giant centipede (or Scolopendra gigantea) is a large, fearsome and predatory arthropod that is native to the forests of South America and the Caribbean. It is capable of catching, envenoming and killing many animals, and has learned specific techniques for catching particular prey. The centipede can reach 12in in length and can occur in a variety of colours - typically red, yellow, brown or black - with yellow legs and dark stripes between body segments.
Amazonian Giant Centipedes are solitary in the wild and therefore should be kept alone in captivity.
In order to reproduce, male centipedes deposit a protein parcel containing sperm called a "spermatophore' on the ground for a female to find. When the female comes across this, she will absorb and use it to fertilize her eggs, laying between 15 and 60 in a burrow in the soil. She guards the eggs until they hatch, regularly licking them to prevent fungus from growing on them. Once hatched, the mother will continue to care for them for approximately 3 months, often carrying them on her underside and wrapping herself around them to guard them. The young centipedes will reach sexual maturity at approximately 2 years old.
Exhibit animals can't share space with other species.
Zoopedia Fun Facts
- Although 'centipede' means '100 legs', they only have a pair of legs per body segment (usually 21 to 23 segments).
- The Amazonian giant centipede, and all centipedes, breathe through holes on the sides of their body segments.
- The bite and venom of the Amazonian giant centipede has been confirmed to be responsible for one human death.
- The Amazonian giant centipede will eat any animal it can catch and kill, including tarantulas and small snakes.
- Amazonian giant centipedes have been known to climb onto the top of caves and hang downwards in order to prey upon bats.
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