It's Scutigera Coleoptrata Season!

Maggie Koerth-Baker is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. A freelance science and health journalist, Maggie lives in Minneapolis, brain dumps on Twitter, and writes quite often for mental_floss magazine.

Spring is in the air. The plants are sprouting. That last pile of snow on the shady part of your neighbor's lawn has successfully melted. And your bathroom is alive with terrifying, multilegged creatures that look like this:

Yes, it's active season for everybody's favorite arthropod, scutigera coleoptrata, aka the house centipede. One of these bad boys scuttled across my bathroom floor just last night. My cats, which were born in the South and are still somewhat disappointed by Minnesota's distinct lack of huntable palmetto bugs, think this is great. I'm less enthused. But I figure that when life hands you horrifying household pests, the least it can do is make them interesting.

With that in mind, I present:
Four Facts You Didn't Realize You Wanted To Know About That Thing Living Behind Your Toilet

1.Scutigera Coleoptrata are Not Your Fault
Stop beating yourself up. Unlike, say, cockroaches, house centipedes aren't hanging around because you didn't clean the kitchen. At least, not directly. Scutigera coleoptrata feed on spiders and insects--they're actually pretty beneficial if you're willing to do the devil's arithmetic here and decide that you'd rather have one fast-moving centipede than a colony of roaches. That said, leaving crumbs and half-eaten sandwiches about does create a nice environment for s. coleoptrata's food to grow in. So it might not hurt to clean.

2. Scutigera Coleoptrata are Efficient
They're actually capable of eating several other bugs at once, noshing on one meal while holding onto another with one of their 30 legs. They usually hunt at night, waiting for prey to get close enough that they can jump onto it, lasso it in, or whip it into submission.

3. Scutigera Coleoptrata are Not a Toy
House centipedes do their hunting via a set of venomous front legs. The good news: They won't come looking to start a fight with you and, most of the time, even if you do egg them into attacking, they won't be able to break your skin barrier. The bad news: That's only most of the time. S. coleoptrata has apparently successfully stung humans before. Not life-threatening, it's supposed to feel a lot like a bee sting.

4. Scutigera Coleoptrata Will Not Forget This
Unlike a lot of household pests that can be expected to die shortly after breeding, s. coleoptrata can live as long as seven years. There's a distinct possibility they've been in your house longer than you have. During that time, they can grow to be as big as 1.75 in. long. Unsurprisingly, getting rid of them isn't easy. Sticky traps are often recommended, but the house centipede can escape those by simply breaking off the stuck legs and growing them back later.

Photo courtesy Kenta Hayashi


  1. So THAT’s what those things are!

    They’re incredibly disturbing to look at. Also, I didn’t know they were venomous… that’s just great.

    Heading out to buy more bug spray, BRB.

  2. Funny timing on this, just killed one last night out of horrified impulse as it scuttled across the newly illuminated living room floor. I did feel ever so slightly guilty… but good god, those things are hellishly creepy.


    Oh, this time you’ve gone too far, Boing Boing. Not cool! Not cool!

  4. “leaving crumbs and half-eaten sandwiches about does create a nice environment for s. coleoptrata’s food to grow in. ”

    or to quote William Burroughs
    “Death needs time for what it kills to grow in”

    Are there any freaky-ass-bugs named after Burroughs yet?

  5. Now that I thought about it, they probably don’t even need to be poisonous, they could kill their prey using only sheer horror and disgust.

    @Jungletek, I don’t feel any remorse at all when I kill them. They deserve it. Something that looks like that has no business living.

  6. i get these every spring in my bushwick brooklyn loft. no big deal, they run superfast and keep my cats very entertained. more of a surprise when one books across the floor than anything else. ive seen them get pretty big though. certainly 2″+. kinda cool they live so long (unless i or my cats spot them)

  7. the bug that freaks everyone out at my house is that huge jumping furry spider thingy – the Camel Cricket. We call them Cave Crickets here.

    They don’t bite, they don’t make much noise, they like water and drains, but they jump around before you see them and they scare the crap out of you if you aren’t prepared.

    some of these things get too big for comfort, but we usually let them be.

  8. Do they eat Stink Bugs(Halyomorpha halys)? Because if they do I’m going to start growing them as livestock.

  9. I’d rather have that thing than the centipedes we usually get in my neighborhood. Unlike the house centipedes, ours are aggressive and will bite successfully. They are also up to 6″ long. Like the famous fire ant commercial, the general feeling about them is that “they have to die, and they have to die RIGHT NOW.”

  10. I have always been pretty nonchalant about bugs. I’ll trap spiders I find in my house and release them outside or pick up pretty much any non-venomous insect by hand to release it, but centipedes invoke some sort of primal instinct of ultra-hate-death-kill in me.

    I cannot abide the presence of a centipede in any fashion, and will hunt them down and destroy them without mercy. They are pretty much the only insect I will do this with. Centipedes are simply the worst.

  11. We have a few of these in our apartment complex. They freak me out to no end. I can tolerate almost any manner of bug or spider, but these make my skin crawl. I tired to kill one once with a rolled up magazine. I missed. Bad enough seeing one hanging out on the wall, but seeing one in motion made me scared to sleep that night. I thought it would come for revenge, and it would likely win any confrontation between us.

  12. Oh my god, why?! This is going to haunt me for days. I am going to be feeling phantom bugs crawling on me and flinch every time a piece of fuzz on the floor catches my eye.

  13. Here in ohio i’ve not seen many of these types of creatures in the house. In fact, pretty much the only things ive ever seen are spiders and ants. But that’s not to say that the spiders arent big, furry, and have the ability to jump.

    The apartment that i’m in right now for some reason gets these strange cricket type things all the way on the 7th floor. My roommate crafted one of those handy draft-stoppers for the bottom of the door during winter and i’m thinking we’ll leave it there through summer too…

  14. We had these in my college dorm. They were definitely bigger than 1.75 inches, though. I saw some the size of my hand. On the other hand, they had a lot of huge roaches to eat, so that may explain that.

  15. Forgot to mention, I once managed to crack a bathroom tile in half whilst attempting to obliterate a house centipede. Apparently the tiles weren’t meant to withstand hatred powered stomping.

  16. Oi! tanoshi, tanoshii, gejigeji da! Gawds I miss the cute little buggers! First one I ever met was in a futon cabinet and I just about lost bowel control. Harmless, slow moving, pretty to watch. The gejigeji.

  17. Assuage your guilt with this mantra:
    Om Mani Padme Hung – once more ’round the Dharma wheel for you!

  18. ZOMFG. Those things cause me to freak right out. As others have stated, I’m ambivalent to other insects. However, Scutigera Coleoptrata get into my psyche..

    I’ve developed a weird love/hate thing with them. I freak out and kill them, yet can’t help but to examine them more closely once it’s “safe” to do so. I’ve spent hours reading about them and have actually blogged about them as well. Where I live isn’t far from Minneapolis where Ms. Koerth-Baker is at so it’s the season for those hateful things here as well.

  19. Uugh
    Way to make me terrified to do anything ever.
    I have a serious phobia of these things.

  20. #18 I’m with you, they totally freak me out and yet we put one in a beaker in the lab for a week once and fed it little moths, they pounce like a jaguar, really cool and yet only cool behind glass. I gloved up before pouring it free into the wild, you know just in case.

  21. Aw, come on. They’re not that bad. I admit when I first moved into my house, and saw one (1st time) blur across the floor from one vent to the other, that I was a little freaked. I realized from his quick getaway-THEY HAD BEEN LIVING IN THE HOUSE SO LONG,THEY HAD THEIR OWN ESCAPE TRAIL! I do whack them though, even though I feel bad killing something with a way shorter lifespan than myself. Well, definitely way shorter after I whack ’em.

    1. Okay – yours was the greatest!! I just saw one of these THINGS in the guest room as I was getting it ready for my daughter’s visit. Unfortunately it scurried away before I could stomp on it – probably terrified of my blood-curdling scream when I saw it. Now I cannot find it. I am torn – do I tell my poor unsuspecting daughter about the co-inhabitant of her temporary digs, knowing full well she will NEVER sleep in there once I tell her, or do I trust that the demon has already secreted himself in some hidey-hole and will not come out again until the next major clean-up, so said daughter does not need to know of potential night-terror that awaits her. I will ponder this dilemma as I head out to buy my miniature flame thrower. (Now how do I explain why darling daughter should keep this on her bedside table?!)

  22. Oooh, thanks for posting this! We’ve been seeing these the last couple of days in our house. In fact, one fell off the ceiling and landed on my hubby, just about gave him a heart attack. Mostly I just catch them in a cup and toss them in the garage, so now I’m glad I did.

  23. For my last semester of law school, I was a visiting student at my wife’s (then fiancee) school. This all came together quickly enough that I just left a stack of rent checks with my roommate to ride out our lease in Georgia. What does this have to do with centipedes, you say? Well, when I came back to Georgia for graduation, we naturally enough stayed at my place, and agreed to help clean it up after the big day.

    Unfortunately, my roommate had gotten in a big pissing contest with one of the guys in the other half of the duplex (also good friends; we rented at the same time and treated the duplex like a house). Seems the other guy had been lazy and not put the garbage can out for a couple of weeks, and my roommate, despite being the only one of us who drove a pickup truck rather than a compact sedan, refused to take the now way-beyond-overflowing garbage to the city dump. But “Cowtown2,” you may say, “this STILL has nothing to do with centipedes!”

    Well, it turns out that, in order not to offend my fiancee and me, rather than explain what had been going on, my roommate had taken the blue tarp he used to cover his pickup bed back and forth for his trips back home to western Tennessee, and he’d piled it up on top of the garbage, thereby concealing, until I moved the seemingly harmless pile of blue plastic, the HUNDREDS OF GOD DAMNED CENTIPEDES THAT HAD MOVED IN TO EAT ALL THE NASTY FUCKING BUGS THAT WERE EATING THE DISGUSTING GARBAGE!

    I’m in his wedding come fall.

  24. also – they inflate themselves with air when threatened so they appear bigger. Often when I kill them I look at their dead bodies and they look 1/2 the original terrifying size.

  25. I’m always amazed at how universal is the reaction to these things. I think there’s just something so unnatural about them- you see how large they are and expect they’ll crawl slowly, carefuly, deliberately…but then you get close to one and see how these things can FLY.

    It’s freaking terrifying…as everyone else has noted.

  26. I have this policy: I, and other humans whom I invite and/or welcome, get to be in my house. Any other living thing that enters is subject to an immediate reflexive death sentence. No roaches, no spiders, and no for-gods’-sake-what-the-frelling-bloody-hezmana-IS-that-things.

  27. Cowtown2…may I suggest an appropriate wedding present?

    And Moriarty, these are intended for making crème brûlée, but I should think would serve, yes?

  28. Heh – I get those things in my house here, too. Slightly creepy, but infinitely preferable to Mukade – the more conventional, highly aggressive, Japanese Centipede of Death ™. Since they eat other things, I’m willing to grant them an amnesty. Them and the geckos – although the geckos have the decency to be cute.

  29. #12 – Oh, they have ’em Ohio. I grew up in Columbus and would see one of these things scuttling in a corner occasionally. I think it’s all the legs that creep me out.

  30. Sweet merciful crap! I suddenly feel slightly better about finding the occasional silverfish or ant crawling across a wall in my apartment. If I ever see one of these things I’m gonna move.

    Also, it reminds me that I need to put a fresh layer of Raid down around the edges of my windows and doors.

  31. Ah yes, these guys. I’m quite used to them now. They startle me occasionally (they’re quick!) but they don’t really gross me out anymore. One of my dogs finds them fascinating.

  32. In total agreement with Ferry and others here. Spiders, no problem: I actually find their dexterity appealing. Even the large hairy ones, while menacing, don’t evoke a strong visceral response.

    But house centipedes, oooh… The pale body, the long legs like… *hair*… and the insane velocity of the things: you feel like no sooner would you have spotted one than it would have already crawled up your nose…

    Die! Die! Die!

  33. poison? stomping? FLAMETHROWERS for the godssakes??
    They’re just trying to make a living and less likely to bother you than your next door neighbour.

  34. Uhhhh, wow. I grew up in FL, now live in PA and have fortunately never seen one of those nasty suckers in person. That thing is at least 5x worse than a palmetto bug.

  35. Wow, I was just googling around the other day, trying to read up on these cause I spotted the first one of the year scuttling around my apartment.

    1. I did the same, I just spotted one, and killed it. It was so gross, I needed to learn more to see how to kill more if there is more in my house, which I am sure there is, though I would like to think not!! I hate them !!! They give me a stomach ache they are so gross!!!

  36. My wife calls these LotsaLotsaLegs (I don’t believe she hyphenates whilst screaming) and she is unspeakably terrified of them. We used to get them all the time in Chicago, but haven’t seen any in SoCal.

  37. Kill it with fire. Actually, I usually just walk away when I see one of these. I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with them.

    1. I was like that the first time I saw one, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about it crawling around, and maybe getting in my bed at night, and sleeping with me. Yuck!! So today I saw one, and got the courage to get an empty laundry detergent bottle, and hit it a couple time. It must have been an old grandpa one because it just let me hit it, it didn’t try running off. So it is in two pieces, and dead. Thank goodness! It was terrifying, and gross, but at least I can some what feel better knowing there is one less centipede in my house. Hopefully the last one!!! YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!!!!

  38. There are multiple reasons I’m happy to live on the cold northern edge of civilization. That the worst thing I’ve met inside a house so far is a slightly large house spider is high on that list.

    1. I’m in Central Ontario. I just saw one in my room. Not sleeping tonight, that’s for sure! D:

  39. Cowtown2:

    YUCK . I had that happen with maggot though after a trip back east. Came home and kept hearing an eerie noise in the side yard. After finally getting the nerve to check what was happening, I headed out the side of the house.

    The trash wasn’t taken out before vacation and apparently there must have been some meat in it. All the trash bags were kind of wiggling around and there was a deafening noise of plastic being bear around…. it was maggots. Probably thousands and thousands of them.

  40. These, amongst almost all bugs, were the only ones that could freak me out. The most troubling aspect of them is their *speed*, which is completely out of proportion to their size.

    I forced myself to catch one in a jar and get a good look at it while reading up on them. Immersion therapy seems to have worked, I have nothing but good feelings for them now.

  41. The first thing that my wife and I did after discovering a house centipede in our old apartment was to confirm that they don’t crawl in your ear and feast on your brains while you sleep.

    The second thing we did was send a close-up photo to my family to show them how much freakier the bugs are in Savannah, Georgia.

  42. I believe that centipedes such as these, or ones that look hair-raisingly similar, do in fact thrive in some of the more tropical parts of the South. My bedridden great-grandmother was stung by a centipede when I was visiting one Christmas. According to her, it hurts worse than a yellowjacket. Anyone care to do a blind test?

    These things are creepy, yes, and they’re faster than anything living in the cold, wet recesses of your house. But if you happen to chase one of them up a wall, it’s likely that they will freeze in place, unable to see you approaching with a strip of duct tape, until WHAMMO. One freaky looking dead bug, and one more use for duct tape.

  43. I remember seeing these (or some similar species) about the size of an alligator in the last iteration of “King Kong”. I’m probably not the only one whose skin was crawling during that scene.

  44. I don’t know what it is about Ohio, but here in Columbus we usually encounter 1-3 of these in any given year (and damned if that doesn’t sound like a Monster Manual statistic).

    I confess in the past I’ve been guilty of smashage – now that I know that they’re a naturally occurring species, and not horrible mutated aberrations caused by toxic chemicals in the bottom of the pile of my unwashed socks, I’m inclined to let ’em live.

  45. Jesus I hate those fuckers. I’ve seen too many to count. They are nasty.

    /kill them all
    //with fire

  46. Interesting fact of human psychology – we’d rather spray our living space with poisonous chemicals almost GUARANTEED to have some long-term health impact (if it kills hardy insects within seconds/minutes of exposure… SURE it’s safe :P ) than tolerate the existence of something that looks “icky”. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bottle of mukade-spray in my laundry for use on Japanese centipedes (the other, short-legged, bite-happy kind), and that I flushed the last house-centipede foolish enough to be lurking within sight of my futon when I woke up, but still…

  47. i promise i will not kill the centipedes.
    I think they’re fantastic with their venomous legs and all that…

    I freaked myself out googling brown recluses a few years ago — i’ll take these things any day, _esp_ if they eat the effing brown recluses.

  48. i don’t mind them. i knew they were hunters, though, so i let them be. i have to say, the ones we have must be ancient, though, because they are MUCH larger than 1.75″ long. i’m guessing 2-2.5″ long. i like startling them into fleeing, but the trick is to guess which side is the back, so i’m not surprised when they run.

  49. Oh for pete’s sake, everyone, grow a pair. They are harmless- I have handled them and they are in fact quite delicate. They rid the home of household pests. As far as I’m concerned we should be keeping them as pets.

    What’s that? They bite? ONE THOUSAND people are treated for dog bites in hospitals every day in the USA. Guess how many folks get hospitalized for centipede bites? That’s right.

    Sure, they give me the heebie jeebies too. So do monkeys. So do fake fur mice and really tall people.

  50. These are one of the many bug-related reasons I am glad I moved back home to Alaska.

    In my first apartment in Oregon we had a cockroach problem. It was fine at first but it got to the point that I was afraid to sleep or enter the kitchen alone – not due to the amounts of them, just because seeing just one got to me. So we moved.

    Second apartment was cockroach-free. Then one day one of these bad-boys went sprinting across the living room while we were watching a movie. Hoo boy, I never jumped so high so fast! My roommate caught it, though, and we studied it with horrifying disgust. I went to the local library and researched the House Centipede, as I discovered it to be, and as #48 said, the immersion therapy seemed to do the trick.

    I only ever saw a few of them and it was always in daylight. If I could, I caught them and released them outside because once I found out their favorite food was cockroaches… well, let’s just say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  51. Interesting fact of human psychology – we’d rather spray our living space with poisonous chemicals almost GUARANTEED to have some long-term health impact (if it kills hardy insects within seconds/minutes of exposure… SURE it’s safe :P ) than tolerate the existence of something that looks “icky”. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bottle of mukade-spray in my laundry for use on Japanese centipedes (the other, short-legged, bite-happy kind), and that I flushed the last house-centipede foolish enough to be lurking within sight of my futon when I woke up, but still…

  52. By the way- hate to be nitpicky but when you use the scientific name, the Genus is capitalized but the species epithet is not.

    Hence, Scutigera coleoptera– cos it’s also customary to italicize the scientific name.

  53. Hmmm. Apparently I’m the only one that saw the post right below this creature, and thought “Aww, it’d be cute in a Althea Crome sweater!”

  54. hmmm… this blog is rather Northern Hemisphere biased at the best of times, but this one takes the cake. Where I live it is neither Spring, nor a home to these scuttling things.

  55. I was innocently scrolling down and was wondering what had warranted the super-sized unicorn chaser… Then I scrolled a bit further :(

  56. @Shamoononon: What happened when your trashcan full of maggots hatched into flys? It must have been the Black Swarm of Death! I had something similar happen on a much smaller scale: came back from a week or two vacation, just in time for me to disturb the kitchen garbage can and have about 100 of ’em take flight, with most of them hanging out on a lampshade. I wound up vaccuuming them up and they died inside a dust bag.

  57. I’ve lived all over the United States and seen a lot of crazy scary bugs but I’d never seed a house centipede until we moved to Delaware. Now we live next to a state park in a cul de sac surrounded by trees which means no matter how much we clean or how many cracks we seal there are a gajillion bugs in our house. I have a severe phobia of bugs but I also hate to kill anything, even a disgusting insect, so we catch them in a jar and put them outside. House centipedes are indeed lightning fast and since I’ve been stung several times I can tell you it does feel like a bee sting. But they eat the spiders so we have an uneasy truce. Just an FYI, every site says they only get an inch and a half or so long but we’ve caught some as much as five inches long (and with those crazy legs, just as wide).

  58. I had never seen these things until I moved to Atlanta. (I’m originally from Statesboro, Georgia!) They freaked me out, mainly because of all that rippling leg action and how quickly they move. And if you kill one, the legs break off and twitch. That’s just blinkin’ weird.

  59. The image was somewhat shocking at first, but I liked this entry. I only rarely see these centipedes, but it’s good to know they’re beneficial creatures. I’ll try to refrain from shrieking like a little girl and pounding them with work boots in the future.

    Or, at the very least, I may introduce a few to the cave cricket city in my basement. I imagine it would be like the squid robots finding Zion down there.

  60. Takuan, do I have a pest for you (although we think of them more like national icons than pests and they are a protected species)

    The New Zealand giant weta grows to around 20cms long and is pretty much the biggest an insect can grow without requiring lungs for breathing.
    Wiki page:
    Photo of one sitting on a person’s hand:

    We are also the home of the gorgeous cave weta:

    And don’t forget Weta Workshop, creators of such movies as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Narnia movies, the new King Kong among others:

  61. Since i drew The Exterminators comic at Vertigo, i’m convinced i’ve unleased some Grant Morrison comics magic that has guaranteed that any house i live in is infested with some kind of horrible bugs. In Kansas it was wolf spiders, and now in Indiana, it’s ladybugs and wasps by the truckload.

    fortunately, i’ve only seen a couple of centipedes this season. they weren’t the long-legged House Centipedes, though, they were their less-leggy cousins, the blueish tinted Hemiscolopendra marginata.

    Beneficial or no, these dudes get the boots put to ’em when i find them in my house. i don’t give a shit. F ’em. F ’em in the B.

    i used to be chill about coexisting with my insect neighbors, but now, generally, i exterminate with extreme prejudice.


  62. I had such a visceral reaction to the photo upon seeing it, that I had to stop and force myself to study it intently for a few minutes to try and figure out what was making me feel this way, since I knew it couldn’t hurt me to look.

    After a minute or two, I decided that the legs reminded me of the ends of calligraphic letterforms, so I started to make it all okay in my mind. Not so bad, eh? Then, I came to read comments, and while I was scrolling down, I somehow kicked it back to the top of the page accidentally, and saw that thing once more.

    Instant horror all over again!

  63. As someone who is deeply paranoid about bugs – including sleeping with the light on for years in my adolescent life, fearing the nighttime spiders – this little guy ain’t so bad, for some reason.

    I think they look sorta cool, and nowhere near as horrid as “real” centipedes.

  64. These are poodles compared to the centipedes in Hawai’i! SRSLY! When we first moved there we we nt to look at an awesome A-frame house in the hills above Honolulu. We loved the place until we went out back and saw the stone retaining wall crawling with huge 6”+ centipedes! I’m bfrom Florida and I’ll take snakes, alligators, and palmetto bugs any day. The Hawai’i centipede’s venom doesn’t burn right away allowing them to get in several bites. I got bit three times by one in bed as it crawled up my body. Sweet dreams.

  65. Yes, it’s a freaky looking critter. But nothing beats getting a 17-year locust (cicada) down your shirt.

    Those things are LOUD.

  66. Buncha leg bigots up in here. When the revolution comes, y’all are gonna be the first stuck to the wall, cocooned, and drained of tasty juices.

  67. I love bugs and assorted creepy crawlies, but that thing even gives me the creeps. Yeesh!

  68. I once moved into an apartment a few days before my furniture arrived. I slept on the floor with only a sleeping bag — didn’t even have a pillow. Guess what woke me up in the night.

    When I had furniture, I once opened a book and one of these things dropped out of it onto my lap and ran all around. I squealed like a pig being butchered.

    Strangely, I had a spider that lived between the oven and the wall that killed these things like crazy. It would slay a couple of them a week.

    I was glad to leave that place.

  69. Yuk. My GF and I were taking a bath, during an LSD afternoon, and one of these bastards crawled out of the drain. We got the cats to kill it.

    Captcha words: grown urban

  70. I’d never encountered these before I moved to Boston- incidentally my girlfriend and I call them ‘eyebrows’- captures their morphology in a slightly more approachable way…

  71. I think we need a programme to introduce giant NZ wetas everywhere! Heavier than a sparrow! Do you think we could breed them to eat meat?

  72. Yeah I’ve got these things in my place, and man do they ever creep me the hell out. I kind of look at it like this, they are beneficial, and if I don’t have to see them they are welcome to stay. However If I catch one out in the open, it’s game on. The fire idea is good, but a bit of overkill, pesticides are a total no-go for me, so I suggest a dustbuster. Works great. Really. Hopefully I’m helping to evolve a more cowardly beast. Either that or they are going to totally get me in my sleep.

  73. This is the kind of guest blogger I heartily welcome!

    None of this ex-Wired editor kleptocracy justification!

    Big thumbs up, Boing Boing!!

  74. Takuan – I’m glad you enjoy the giant weta. Massive insects and flightless birds can abound in remote areas like NZ with no native mammals (apart from two types of bat).

    You might also want to check out the Avondale spider:

    These huntsmen spiders caught a ride in a shipment of wood from Australia in the 1920s and first showed up in the Auckland suburb of Avondale. Over three hundred of them were sent to America to star in the movie Arachnophobia. I know it’s not technically a NZ insect, but those Aussies steal heaps of NZ stuff as their own so it’s only fair.

  75. I have them. When I see them I leave them the hell alone. I figure they’re around eating things I *really* don’t want around. like silverfish. the visceral reaction some people are having to Scutigera, I have to silverfish. Something about them seems exceedingly Devonian.

    My wife, however, if she sees Scutigera, I’m forced to deal with them — and I do it by using some canned spray air and pushing them out the door.

  76. “A beautiful creature.

    Just me and Muno then?”

    I think they’re totally awesome. I love the way they move.

    My unreasonable phobia is anything black and yellow that flies. In a side note, today was the first time I’d ever gotten stung by anything yellow and black that flies (because I normally run around screaming anytime I see one). Not actually worth the running around screaming, it turns out.

  77. hate hate hate hate hate hate hate.

    I’m generally easygoing about the bugs and the spiders and the so forths…but not these. We had a nickname for them, back in the day – “Land shrimp”. Had a friend with glass shrimp in his aquarium and these were like a satanic version of them.

    Every year, one shows up on my bedroom wall or ceiling and Medusas me on the spot. I freeze, cannot move or breathe except to squeal for help from my husband.

  78. My wife and I used to call these things MURDERPEDES the first time we saw one in our new basement apartment. We now opt for the nickname “swifties” so as not to alarm dinner guests.

  79. When I lived in Cincinnati we had something like this. Maybe the same thing, maybe just similar. It looked like a walking hairbrush or maybe a “tiny” flattened-out Cousin It. I both marveled at and recoiled from their smooth and almost fluid motion across our (horrible) seafoam-green carpet. I picked up quite an aim with waterguns while I lived in that apartment, and became adept at hitting bugs, large and small, from a good distance.

    Nowadays I haven’t seen any here in NV. Of course we have Solpugids, scorpions, and giant flying water bugs so it’s not a “total loss”. My kid loves strange creatures so I’m relatively certain that should we see one, while the other adult in the house may scream and stand on a chair the kidlet and I will capture and study it. Perhaps name it. Name it Skeletor.

  80. Why does it seem like so many people are happy to have a phobia of things like this? You don’t get the same reaction when you talk about cliffs or clowns.

  81. Those Scutigera puppies don’t faze me at all, but these Scolopendromorpha bastards give me a serious case of the willies.

    In my experience, their bites aren’t like bee/wasp stings, they’re like being slashed with a razor.

    They’re also dumb as a can of paint. At least, it’s the only animal I’ve ever seen actually walk into a fire, catch light and burn up. (Whereas moths and our slightly dimwitted cat, Rosie, only ever set light to themselves by inadvertent proximity to an open flame.)

  82. Holy Jesus fuck, those things are horrifying. I remember when I saw my first one – I shook it out of my BATH TOWEL. I screamed for ten minutes, googled it, and realized it was eating all the other stuff I didn’t want around (I had a basement apartment.)

    So, I left ’em be. But goddamn are they scary.

  83. The article doesn’t say anything about the fact that when you squish them, their legs fall off and keep twitching for a minute or two. The first time I did that I thought I had killed a pregnant one and those were the babies. Yuck…

  84. How sad. 100 comments and the overriding reaction is “Ugh! Kill it!”.

    If this is the best we can manage for a small, harmless creature that’s been around for an order of magnitude longer than we have, then we’re fucked.

    “I cannot abide the presence of a centipede in any fashion, and will hunt them down and destroy them without mercy. They are pretty much the only insect I will do this with. Centipedes are simply the worst.”

    Let’s hope that should we ever encounter a life form more advanced than us, they don’t feel the same way.

  85. @95: CLOWNS! Don’t get us started on clowns. I think centipedes are cool, especially with their wavelike leg motion, though these guys here do look a bit like they were designed by an SF movie monster maker. But clowns are inherently creepy, in my opinion, much the more so because they are supposed to be just the opposite.

  86. Ohmygod, I am so glad I’ve never had one of those things in my house! The earwigs and ants at my old place were bad enough..


    1. Wait till they’re on the wall.

    2. Get a nice-sized clear glass and a CD or whatever to cover the glass.

    3. Approach slowly from behind and place the glass over the cute little guy, making sure not to crush any legs.

    4. Slide the glass over so it makes contact with a leg… this will send him scuttling toward bottom of cup.

    5. Tip glass upright and cover.

    6. Go outside and toss him in some lush greenery.

    This ALWAYS works and is both more humane and less disgusting than smashing them with a magazine. That’s a lot of guts.

  88. Hey, before you hate on my beloved house centipede, remember they love to eat bed bugs and cockroaches.

  89. i was on the toilet in the basement, i went to grab some toilet paper off the roll – and to my surprise, one of these buggers was on the roll. to this day i still cringe at that memory. eeew.

  90. So that is what they are called…

    I’ve alwasy called them Scoot Dogs….for their speed…

  91. As a kid I played with ants, potato bugs, worms, and centipedes. I thought I was immune to the fear of all pests. I wouldn’t even mind an occasional roach zipping through the cafeteria or crickets in the apartment. I didn’t see one of these until I was 27. If I had just seen it on the wall I probably would’ve been okay. This thing fell from the drop ceiling in my apartment right past my face.

    I let out a man-scream. Then I saw it run. My blood chilled. My pupils dilated. I choked back vomit.

    I lived there for 16 months. I had to kill about 5 or 6 during that period. I’ve lived in three others places since then and hadn’t seen one since… until I bought my first house. I don’t know if my wife or I saw it first but OH GOD not MY HOUSE! We had to talk each other out of burning the place down. We’ve only seen them on the first floor and in the basement. The fear of one crawling in my ear while I sleep (and feasting on my brain as brainspore shared above) is very real.

    This article helps. Now that I know it battles with spiders I can adapt to its presence. I will be brave and attempt the glass capture technique. I’ll be wearing surgical gloves with my sleeves tucked into the cuffs. My wife will back me up with a can of hairspray and a lighter.

  92. We call them “moustaches” in our house. We caught a large fellow last year in a big glass jar and took a look at him up close. Really amazing creatures. Their walking movement is incredible to watch up close.

    We let him go outside on the patio.

    Thanks for the info!

  93. I kind of like them. I don’t mean I’d like to have a house full of them, I just think they’re funny. Their undulating walk and the wiggly feelers just make me laugh. I’ve seen a few in my house, and I always pick them up (by hand!) and put them outside. Of course, now that I know they’re going after inside bugs, I still can’t help but think of them as outside bugs.

  94. We get these guys in our apt in Spring and Fall – sometimes thru the summer too. Unlike a lot of folks who report seeing them on the ground, we see the majority of ours on the walls and ceiling in our bedroom. We are in an old apt complex on the upper floor, and my guess is they are in the attic. We are also near the water.

    My main issue is not the grossout factor, although it is for my wife; it’s the fact that our cockapoo has a major interest in them, and I do NOT want her getting bit by one of these. It may be pretty harmless to us, but I don’t want to underestimate the power to a little dog.

  95. I guess I’m weird, I’m far more terrified of spiders than these guys, even though they have so many many more legs.

    I once was all set to freak out about a spider I caught sight of in the bathroom when I realized it was just a frakking centipede and squashed it.

  96. I love these things! They kill any other bug that wanders into the house. And unlike spiders they don’t limit themselves to corners.

    I think if I make a leash I can walk it.

  97. PS – all the comments about “eyebrows” and “mustaches” don’t really do it justice: it looks like a mass of running pubic hair.

  98. Oh boy, I remember huge red centipedes that looked like this on Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. About 10-15cm long though and man can they move. My girlfriend locked me in the bathroom with one for about 20 minutes. According to a friendly local afterwards “Don’t worry, the black ones are poisonous… The red ones are REALLY poisonous!!” Good times.

  99. disclaimer: I am vegan, into Buddhism, lived in e a temple etc.

    and yet when I saw one of these things in my apartment I grabbed the biggest knife I could find chopped it straight in half. I felt like it was self defense, this thing was RUNNING at me across the kitchen counter. I mean come on!!!

    Better yet was when my girl friend screamed from the bedroom and I run in just in time to see THE LAST THREE INCHES of this giant red centipede slither into a hole on the side of a poorly fit plug socket…. I would have never believed here had I not seen it squeezing its way in…. man. Not a good time.

  100. I too have been bitten/sting by one of these things. I was taking a shower and while washing my hair I felt a pinch or pressure on the back of my head. I felt it with my hand an realized something was stuck in my head (stinger AND an unknown bug at the time). I brushed my head in a panic to see one of these things fall to the shower floor and crawl up under the shower bench. I smacked it, injuring it, and kept it under a glass on the kitchen counter where IT LIVED FOR WEEKS AFTERWARD without a means of nutrition! The sting site on my head still becomes apparent once in a while. Kind of like an ingrown hair or pimple…yuckie fer sher! This happened at least 5 years ago. Weird.

  101. As a resident naturalist and pest control for my home, be aware that the further south you are the more likely you are to encounter centipedes that ARE poisonous and CAN sting you. If you’re in the tropics you already know this because hella huge centipedes live in those realms.

    If you’re seeing centipedes bigger than 1 1/2 inches long you’re likely seeing another species than S. coleoptera so beware.

    I live in the middle of the country and in urbia (near downtown Kansas City, MO) and the only centipedes I have ever seen were outdoors in the garden. I’ve always had cats that were extremely diligent at pest control (no play, kill dead dead dead!) so if one of these little guys got in they’d have no chance.

    On the other hand, despite my training and other circumstances, seeing baby flies could make me scream like a little girl (oh, wait, I’m a girl, but a big one).

    One time I had to haul a bag o’trash from the porch to the street and did not look at it. As I was walking the short distance I realized the bag felt really really weird but I dared not look until I dropped it at the curb. Lots of commuters got to see me scream and do the gross-out dance, wiping my hands on the grass, etc. (we lived on a major thoroughfare at the time.) Had to go back in, put all clothing in washing machine and take a second shower, quivering with gross-out all the while.

  102. Seriously? You guys need a unicorn chaser for a tiny little bug? Why are people so terrified of anything with more than four legs?

  103. One of these fuckers climbed on my arm while I was coming down from an already hellacious mushroom trip. This prompted an sweaty, extended dismantling of my room until I found it and exterminated it.

    After you live with them for awhile, you kind of get used to them. I did, anyway. I’m glad my current house doesn’t have them, though.

  104. Oh dear lord. I never wanted to see one of those things again in my life.
    When I lived in Ottawa [Ontario, Canada]I was sitting on the couch in my ghetto student house and I jumped 3 feet and screamed the first time I saw one fly across the floor. My roommate and her brother laughed at me until they saw the wretched thing.

    When I moved, I thought I’d escaped the evil bugs. Alas, my half basement apartment was also home to them. And yes, there was no real way to kill them all. However, I found some insect killer that you spray and it turns sticky. I put it around the baseboards and discovered afterwards, quite a few Evil Bugs laying back up, legs curled in: nice and dead.

    I want to say the stuf was “Ortho…” something.
    The night I came home from work and found one in my underwear drawer…. I’d like to forget that night.

  105. Gillagriene 90: My unreasonable phobia is anything black and yellow that flies. In a side note, today was the first time I’d ever gotten stung by anything yellow and black that flies (because I normally run around screaming anytime I see one). Not actually worth the running around screaming, it turns out.

    I got swarmed by those one summer day when I was four. We counted 59 stings on me. I think it’s well worth the running around screaming.

    This summer I will begin my program to run those bastards into extinction, now that I know how to kill them wholesale rather than one-off.

    Bibliog 119: My girlfriend locked me in the bathroom with one for about 20 minutes.

    Now EX-girlfriend, I presume.

  106. You guy’s really think these little buggers are scary? Wow, I always thought they were kind of cute.

    I was also the little kid that ate bugs though. I have a fondness for these guys if only for the fact that they were fun to chase. Never ate one of them though.. Lol

  107. Folks,
    1. These are, IN FACT, harmless, near as matters.
    2. So, if harmless, why the hate? (not judging, just asking).
    3. Can we switch this thread to the more interesting question: what is the nature of your distaste, where does it come from? Why do each of you personally hate this particular bug? You know zip about it, they are, intellectually viewed, cool engineering, etc. I’d be really interested to hear meta-level commentary on what is so hateful/terrifying about this bug/image?

  108. If you spray centipedes with condensed air it stuns/freezes them for about 10-30 seconds. Since most compressed air gives you a decent reach you can kill them before they run away, if you are so inclined.

  109. @95 EW CLOWNS!

    I’d rather have a Scuttly cleopatra on me any day than be in the vicinity of a clown.

  110. If I were more of an anthropologist and less of a–what’s the word?–girly-man, I could probably explain the exact evolutionary reasons for us to be afraid of these suckers. Probably something to do with a superficial resemblance to snakes, scorpions and other venomous critters living in the jungles our remote ancestors inhabited. As it is, I’ll settle for the following simplified explanation: Rather than looking cuddly, like puppies or kittens, or useful like horses and other large quadrupeds, centipedes look like something accidentally brought here from a parallel dimension like in Stephen King’s “The Mist”, and which, for our sins, is here to inhabit our homes and our nightmares until doomsday and beyond. It does no good to remind ourselves that centipedes (and potato bugs) aren’t really bad, they’re just drawn that way–one look at those sci-fi beasties and suddenly we’re Commander Ripley on the Nostromo.
    With 400 years of science fighting three million years of evolutionary instinct, it’s amazing we’re as kind to our n^2-1 legged friends as we are.

    1. Hey, I’m a girly man, and I catch scorpions in the house and release them into the wild. And by ‘the wild’, I mean my neighbor’s yard.

  111. Are ya sure its evolutionary instinct at work here? I wonder because my little one spent the better part of an hour today watching a wasp try to fly. (I think its wings were wet.) No fear. Stuff like that makes me think our fear of bugs is more learned than hardwired. I blame the bug spray people. For a lot of things.

  112. We use diatomaceous earth to protect ourselves from the scourge of centipedes. Sprinkling some of this fine dust behind radiators or windowsills has cut down dramatically on the number we’ve seen alive.

  113. the first time I saw one was when it jumped on my head while I was using my computer in the basement set-up a nice computer room and I’ve seen them crawling on the ceiling I got rid of them for 5 years but I saw a few so far this year…they aren’t there anymore and are smaller than the hellion things were when I first moved into the house some were easily 4-6 inches long and with the legs 3 inches wide.

    Joing the anticentipede squad now

  114. I was going to extol the virtues of diatomaceous earth, too, but I see another poster beat me to it. I like it because on a microscopic level it’s a bunch of very sharp edges that slice open the centipedes and let them die the (I assume) slow, painful death they deserve. Of course I will also dole out a swift, angry, stompy death when I see one, usually followed by a war-cry of “Let that be a warning to the rest of you fuckers!” Yes, I am part of the kill-them-with-fire club. I know it’s all so unenlightened to go into horror/disgust/kill or be killed mode when I see one of those things zoom across my floor, but I can’t help it. I’ve tried telling myself they are harmless and eat other bugs, but my logical side just can’t convince my ZOMG WTF side. I do think it’s partly an evolutionary response to things that look somehow vaguely dangerous, because my reaction is always an instant fight-or flight response, but I suspect there is an evolutionary jealousy thing going on too: I know they were here before us and will be here after us. They are simultaneously prehistoric and futuristic. They are immortal. They are the Borg. And even though resistance is futile, I can’t see one and not kill it.

  115. I know they are completely harmless, but I’ve lived in my apartment for 8 months and have killed 19 of them. Who knows how many more there might be. That’s just a few too many for me!!!! I’m moving as soon as my lease is up.



    I had to search to find out what this thing was. UGH! EWW! EEK!


  117. I’ve lived my 30 years without ever seeing anything like this until tonight, and I’ve always been around critters (Ohio countryside). I’ve seen centipedes under rocks before but these things look like wooly bear meets alien. The one I just saw was at least 2.5″ long, and about 1″ wide including its legs. I didn’t give it a chance to move, and mashed it with a toilet brush. It broke into at least 3 pieces and shrunk up, twitching, legs running like hell in place. I am not a fan, and thank God I didn’t see it run and/or hiss. Leaving these in your house to eat spiders is like letting a serial killer stay to eliminate burglars. I’ll take my chances living with something that doesn’t make my anus pucker when I see one. Call me afraid of the unknown and the misunderstood, call me ignorant, you weren’t there. You don’t understand. They’re not cute, they’re not pets. They don’t belong in my basement!

  118. A year ago, we moved from our house in Indiana to a rental duplex in Upstate New York when my husband found a better job. My biggest fear (and I mean above all else)is cockroaches. Renting, you’re never sure what you’re gonna get (especially sharing a wall with other people). When I saw my first house centipede last spring, I flipped out and it became a skid mark on the bathroom floor. I was curious afterward and Googled it. I felt a little guilty when I found out that they’re beneficial. I have since named all our centipedes “Bob” and have instructed our kids to let them be. My daughter still flips out and does the furniture dance, but my boys have taken to chasing “Bob” back into crevices to protect him/her from the cat. I have to admit, it takes some self-control to not smash them, and I tend to keep my feet off the floor when I’ve seen one, but if we can prevent any roaches from making themselves cozy by letting Bob do it’s thing, I’m willing to look the other way. So far today, we’ve seen a “baby Bob” and a “Daddy Bob”.

  119. So i was playing Goldeneye for N64 in near complete darkness, when one of these frightening things scurries across my 10 inch screen, so I got it in my crosshairs and started shooting, and realized it wasn’t part of the game!!!!!!

  120. What bothers me about this bug is that they have a tendency to chase me. I just saw one crawling up the wall beside my TV. Having been recently educated about the favorable services performed by this particular creature, I ignored it. A few commercials later I heard a PLOP on my sub wrapping and felt it give a little. Horrified as in slowmo, I looked down to see my pardoned fellow hunched over inside the flap of a book sitting next to me. The damn thing dive bombed me from the ceiling then took cover- literally. And for the record I am not a cockroach. The others just came close enough to stare at me, which was bad enough. Tell me not to have the creeps, I dare you. I’ll sic my centepide on you.

  121. they were scary enough when they flew across the room at mock speeds but knowing they can bite you now wow I’m crept out!! Ive seen them in my room go under my bed now i m afraid to sleep my anus is thoroughly puckered.

  122. I started just accepting that these are running around. I live in Georgia, lived her all my life. I hate hate hate hate hate these bugs. No i just see one running around and i just let it go into the other corner. Now i know atleast there getting rid of cockroaches. I’ll deal with an allusive creepoide than have a cockroad on me in the night or something.

  123. Holy Mary Mother of God.
    Worst. Bug. Ever.
    So my co-worker says this morning, “what the hell is that?” I get up to look and there’s this freaky creature on the carpet. Then it moves. Lightning fast. Of course we had to call the rest of the office in to see if they could a) identify it or b) scream with the rest of us. No one knew what it was. I called an entomologist friend and tried to describe it and he didn’t know what I was talking about, either. Someone said “silverfish” and though I knew that wasn’t it, I googled it and that led to an image of this lovely (not) creature. Then I got the shivers all over again seeing images of it all over my screen.
    I’m glad to know what it is but the more I read about it the more horrified of it I am. It’s in a jar on my desk. Not sure what the hell to do with it.
    Why is it scary? I agree that it’s instinct. It’s pre-historic and vile looking. Kill it with fire definitely.

  124. (I posted before but it was anonymous, I hadn’t signed up)

    So I tell the entomologist that we’ve figured out what it is and he’s obviously familiar with them. I ask if they’re common around here and he said no. I told him from everything I’d read it looks like they’re hard to kill and his response was, “Yeah, get a hammer.” He’s also a pest control person. This is not comforting, LOL. However, I think it might have died in the jar.

  125. Thank you sooooo much for posting pics of this bug!!! I was beginning to think we were white trash…no one knew what they were or had ever had them in their house…except us! We thought they followed us from Illinois to Missouri to Kentucky and finally Indiana!!! These things have reduced my macho manly husband to a screaming teenage girl in a matter of seconds!!!

  126. Oh poor centipedes. They really do get the brunt of it. I read somewhere that at one point they were called “moving eyelashes” or something to that effect, for obvious reasons. I’ve banded with a little spider who’s doing a pretty good job at getting the little ones, but i fear that my little partner in crime is not long for this world if one of those big mothers finds it. I have tried to love them, but there is no loving a creature who, when it’s legs fall out, they still wiggle. Excellent job, Mother Nature, but ugh. Did you have to?

  127. I just ran across one of these ugly monsters in my bathroom.. He almost scared me to death. It seems as if he was trapped in my garbage can. I sprayed him with some off and some clorox bleach spray and thought he was dead. I came back in about 30 mins and he was still moving around swiftly in circles. It freaks me out. I think he is dead but I’m scared he might be playing dead. I’ll give him a day or two and if he is in the same spot I’ll remove him..

  128. My first reaction is EEEEEEW!!! Then I take a deep breath and realize that Scutigera coleoptrata are eerily fascinating! …as long as they don’t try to crawl on me. A few months ago, I read a forum discussion in which some folks discussed why House Centipedes evoke such a visceral response; they reasoned that S. coleoptrata have a high creep-factor for many people because they scurry so fast. They also reasoned that this was why so many people are creeped out by spiders and mice.

    BTW: Why are you all having so much trouble killing these? Like silverfish, these are relatively fragile creatures. The experiences I have had with them leads me to almost believe that they will curl up and die if you just look at them funny! They are fairly unaggressive creatures, unlike their snap-happy Scolopendra cousins. If I find one in the house, I usually try capture it in a deli cup and relocate it to the cellar. I am not a vegetarian nor a buddist, but I still don’t believe in killing creatures without good reason. I like to think of S. coleoptrata as a form of walking organic pest control.

    RE:#139 Angela from Ohio wrote:
    To answer Angela: they hiss by stridulating.
    Here is a quote from the Chilopoda page at earthlife dot net: “Like the Scolopendrids they can autotomise their legs when under threat from predators, in some cases these legs continue to stridulate (make a noise) thus distracting the predator from the whole animal.”


  129. i yust moved to istanbul(turkye)
    and my house is full those nasty Scutigera coleoptrata i killed 5 different generations of these bastards but they still keep on coming .

  130. We just found one in our school about 5 minutes ago, and we nicknamed it “Scooter”. Is was FAST! We let it go later, after looking at it for a while. What a way to spend a half-school day!

    Minerva Deland Sudent, Fairport NY
    3rd Period, Small Gas Engines Class


  131. DIE centipedes, DIE! These things scare the bejesus out of me and I hope something endangers them toward extinction in the near future.

  132. I had seen one of these creepy crawlers on my wall before going to bed. That thing was huge. I was laying on the floor and got up very quietly. I headed for the closet for a shoe and whacked that thing silly. I was so disgusted to see it. I dont care if it does eat other bugs…..let me take care of those just like i took care of it.

  133. Saw one of these babies tonight zip across the door to my basement office. I got up to chase it down, and watched, in amazement, as it hit a small wooden toy left on the floor. The thing stopped, and it CIRCLED it, almost like it was looking underneath it. Wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it – it then saw me and froze, at which point its life ended. They’re smart – and will do what they can to avoid you.

  134. Two weeks ago I put my shoe on, without any socks, and one of these devils was inside. It stung my toe and immediately felt a burning sting that lasted about 10 minutes.
    It was fine after that but now 2 weeks later, there is a small red bump that is tender to touch and also extremly itchy at times. There is a break in the skin and a clear liquid like substance emits lightly. Squeeze the bump and it oozes out.
    Those things have always given me the creeps and now I’ve got its venom in me. Great.

  135. I have been killing this little shits for a while, couple days ago one of them, old one too, crawled on me somehow but didn’t bite, it only sat there till i felt something on my arm, when i saw it, it was looking at me phaha I blew it off my hand and stepped on it, holly shit what a creepy creature! Shivers..

  136. I found 1 3 days ago in my room and it was crawling on my bed!!! … My mom killed it XD now I think I saw another crawl under my bed! there i probably lots of them hidine under there! I HATE them

  137. I’ve always wondered what the hell these things were. My bathroom is in the basement and every time I turn on the light, I see at least 3 of em scatter like roaches. I didn’t realize they actually bite. Now every time I need to relieve myself it’s like a damn horror movie. I look frantically at the cracks in the walls expecting one to jump at me and start attacking my face. Any movement at all and everything in the bathroom becomes and immediate weapon. The first time I saw one of these little bastards, I too had the overwhelming urge to smash it to oblivion and light it on fire. You are not alone.

  138. O M F G , I just had a freakin heart attack! 1 of these things just ran up my arm. It just took me 30 minutes to stop shaking. I was sitting on my couch, surfing the net on my net-book computer. for a few split seconds this thing looked bigger then my net-book. I shook my it off my arm & it landed on an open book which I slammed shut. aaaaahhhh, all I could think about was that Alfred Hitchkock movie where the spine creature crawls after the guy. I hope my screamming didnt wake up my hubby, he gets irritable when he gets wokeup. now its 4am & my insomnia kicked into high gear.

  139. These little guys are so cool! They are fast too. Thanks for taking the time to make such a good page about them.a

  140. I have watched, in horror, as one of these creatures sucked all of the color out of a brown cricket! The cricket was white when it was done! It was horrifying!

  141. I don’t care what they are or how they eat other bugs. I give them ALL the same treatment “Bug Killer or Boots” Send them all to their maker and let God sort it out. These guys are right up there with Potato Bugs, something from another world

  142. i am in Cincinnati Ohio and I have Now Seen a and Killed Two of them. Scary part was both times were around my kids. Thats the main reason i Looked this up online. Thanks for the info. I am Less scared but still Not comfortable with these creatures

  143. Saw one of these for the first time last night. My housemate and I were just chatting in the hallway when we looked at the mattress bed in the spare bedroom and there it was, plain as day!

    We both pretty much screamed the house down – for example “WHAT THE FREAK IS THAT?!?!?!?!”, before I bolted for the bug spray…. I used nearly half a can before ending it’s life with a shoe.

    I’ve never seen anything so disgustingly scary in my life!

    I think my initial reaction was because at first glance it looked like GIANT spider (and not just a huntsman!) and when I saw how fast it moved, I was like ” a spider that big that moves that damn fast must DIE!”

    Good to know it’s pretty much harmless, we have white tiped spiders around our house (and they are the silent killers!) and so I may be inclined to let the next centerpide I see live….

  144. I’ve been horrified of these for years, my first encounter was when one ran into a bokk I was reading. I shut the book immediately, and never opened it again. These days, they still induce a super jumpy response (Luigi in Mario World 2 style jump). Honestly, I like them, but they scare me, and I can’t have them around.

    For those of you looking to kill them in the best hands off way, here goes… From my years of experience, and dozens/hundreds of kills:

    I’ve found the best way to kill them is with dish soap. You squirt them with some dish soap, and they get stuck to the ground, can’t run, and die almost immediately from asphyxiation.

    Poison doesn’t work on them, you spray, and they run away. If you’re lucky, like I was once… You spray the bastard for a solid 6 seconds (chasing it with the can as he runs), and it runs into a clothes basket where you can’t get to him without a potential HANDS ON encounter.


  145. I was in the shower one day washing my long hair. Well my hair is really long i normally have to clear the drain at least 2 times in a 30 minute shower.
    i did that once and it wasn’t hair. Talk about freaking out. i’m not grossed out by many bugs. Ticks Bedbugs and these nasty things (ants too) scare the crap out of me.

  146. Gejigeji are neat! I think they’re beautiful. In Japan, where I first saw one (in a bath room, a room with a furo but sans toilet), they’re often welcome members of the household (because of their arthropod-eating habits).

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