Centipede CAre Guide

Housing

Despite being found in a very wide variety of habitats, even in the desert centipedes will seek out cool damp areas, such as crevices and burrows.

In captivity it is imperative to do our best to simulate this environment. A small plastic, glass or acrylic enclosure of minimum 2x body length for each LxWxH. Being predominately scrape and burrow dwelling animals ventilation is not overly important, a small number of holes in the sides and roof will provide them with all the fresh air they’ll need. Best to provide only pinholes or no holes at all if using plastic takeaway containers, as centipedes often will get their fangs into the holes and make them larger until they can escape. Centipedes are notorious escape artists make sure to do everything you can to keep them contained, well sealing lid is a must

Appropriate substrates for housing centipedes include, cocofibre, pesticide/fertilizer free soil, loam, our burrower mix and our forest floor mix. The enclosure should be filled over halfway with this substrate, which must be kept slightly damp, add water until a ball can be formed in your hand using the substrate.

Temperature for centipedes needs to be kept between 10-30 degrees Celsius. They are able to tolerate temperatures below this for short times, but activity, metabolism and growth with slow down. Temperatures of 34C and over will often cause irreparable damage to your centipede ending up with it dying from overheating or dehydration.

Feeding/Watering

Centipedes are voracious predators, in the wild they will eat anything that they can take down, even being known to eat tarantulas, rodents, snakes and baby birds given the chance.

In captivity centipedes can be fed large crickets, wood roaches and even pinky mice (keep these to less than 3 times a year). Feed them 3-4 appropriately sized insects every 1-2 weeks, they will eat more if kept at higher temperatures. Remove any waste or uneaten insects within 24hrs of feeding, crickets can kill a moulting centipede, half eaten prey may attract unwanted pests such as fungus gnats as well as allowing mould to flourish.

Centipedes get majority of their water from their prey, but mist the inside walls of the enclosure weekly or as the surface dries out, if thirsty the centipede will drink from the water droplets.

Sexing

Sexing centipedes is no easy task, most species cant be sexed at all visually. Try to avoid sexing them if you have no intention of breeding, as risks far outweigh rewards and you could easily kill your centipede as well as causing a lot of unneeded stress.

To sex your centipedes (make sure you’re comfortable, as this is a very risky procedure). Put the centipede in a glass or plastic jar with a small hole in the lid, start filling the jar with water until its full. Keep an eye on it, once your centipede becomes unconscious remove it from the water and place on some paper towel. The sex organs are found in the last segment, apply slight pressure to the second last segment and they should pop out. Take some high quality pics and compare them to pics available online. You can also knock them out with CO2 gas.

Heres some great videos detailing the process: Centipede Sexing tutorial pt 1, centipede sexing tutorial pt 2

Handling

Don’t handle centipedes with your bare hands, their bite is very painful and venom is very toxic, which can result in hospitalisation and nerve damage from larger specimens.

For relocating use padded forceps or catch them in a tub with a well fitting lid.

Lifespan

Up to 10years

Common Concerns

Why is my centipede not eating? Centipedes may not eat for various reasons, if temperatures are low they may not be metabolising their food as fast as they’re being fed, they may also just be full. Centipedes can go for over 6 months without food at times.

Why is my centipede always hiding? Centipedes are nocturnal predators. You could keep them in a dark area with a red light to see them during the day.

Why isn’t my centipede burrowing? Burrowing invertebrates burrow to reach an area with higher humidity levels and to hide from predators. Try drying out the enclosure slightly or place in a better lit area of the house, the sunlight can stimulate them to burrow.

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2 thoughts on “Centipede CAre Guide

  1. Hello,

    I currently have two centipede and I never see them. They only eat when the cricket goes down into their burrow. I understand that I shouldn’t expect to see them all the time but I haven’t seen them in 3 months. I only know they are still alive because I dug them up. I see a lot of videos on YouTube of people centipedes tracking down their prey and exploding out of the substrate to catch their prey, and here’s me who haven’t seen mine in 3 months. How much substrate should I put in because I feel like the centipede does not feel the vibrations of the crickets. Also, where would you suggest getting good, cheap containers for centipedes and tarantulas from.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you can help. Thanks!

    1. Hi, a good way to get most predatory invertebrates more active and eating more is to increase temperatures, it does this by speeding up their metabolism.
      Any depth of substrate over 5cm is fine, theres a lot more soil in the wild than you can replicate in a tub so too deep is never an issue.
      Most of the discount stores will generally have some cheap suitable tubs.

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