Centipedes

The house centipede

Fig.96. The house centipede, a species, which stems from the Mediterranean countries. (Stresemann)

Centipedes (Chilopoda) are predators. They hide during the day in the soil, under rocks and similar dark, damp places. At night they go hunting for small animals, which they kill with the powerful venom claws on their front segment. The venom is very effective against the centipedes’ natural prey (insects, etc.), but none of the Danish species can trouble people. They might frighten people and maybe bite, but the venom claws cannot penetrate the skin. The house centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata are located in the Mediterranean countries, where it is often found indoors.

Centipedes

Centipedes

Unlike the Danish species, these can bite through the skin of thin-skinned areas. The bite can be felt and there may be swelling, but it is by no means dangerous. House centipedes are occasionally carried to the cool climates of the north and have been found in Denmark a few times.

House centipede

House centipede

House centipede

(Latin: Scutigera coleoptrata)

This centipede comes from the Mediterranean countries where it is often found indoors. It has been recorded a few times in northern Europe.

Like other centipedes this is a predator which kills its prey by using the foremost limbs which are modified to form a pair of poison claws.

In contrast to the small centipedes found in the garden, this species can, when disturbed, bite in areas where the skin is thin. The bite can be seen and it may result in swelling, but it is not serious.