Do centipedes and millipedes give you the creeps? They do seem a little scary with their wiggly bodies and many legs, but they can’t hurt you. Millipedes look a little like brown or gray worms with lots of tiny legs. They live in dark, wet places, like under an old log. They eat rotting leaves and wood and they’re not poisonous. Millipedes are shy and they don’t like light. Doesn’t sound too scary, right?
Centipedes have fewer legs and they move more quickly. They eat bugs. Centipedes do have poisonous front claws, but their claws are too small to bite through human skin. Only the giant desert centipede is strong enough to bite a human. A bite from a giant centipede feels a little like a bee sting, but it won’t case any permanent damage.
Fun Facts About Centipedes and Millipedes for Kids
- Millipedes sometimes come indoors when the weather gets cold. They can’t live in dry areas, though, and they usually die within a few days.
- Some millipedes have a sticky substance that can cause redness and itching.
- You might find centipedes stuck in the bathtub or in cupboards in the morning. They scurry away if you approach them.
- Centipedes and millipedes are related to insects, but they have more body parts.
Centipede and Millipede Vocabulary
- Rotting: decomposing, breaking down
- Shy: afraid of people
- Permanent: lasting
- Scurry: move away quickly
Learn More All About Centipedes and Millipedes
Get familiar with the centipedes and millipedes with this informative documentary clip:
A documentary video about the nature of forest centipedes and millipedes.
Centipede and Millipede Q&A
Question: What do their names mean?
Answer: Centi means 100; milli means 1,000 and pede means feet.
Question: What is the largest centipede?
Answer: The largest centipedes in the U.S. live in Arizona and grow to 7 inches long. In the West Indies, you’ll find centipedes that are 18 inches long. Yikes!
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