Cluless about millipeeds


Nov 4, 2002
I have never really been interested in Milli/Centipeeds...but the other day while I was at the of the employees was holding a millipeed. I thought they bit and were potentially that only centipeeds? I am now thinking about getting a millipeed....they are kinda cute. I would like to be able to handle it and for it to be pretty big. Are they easy to maintain? Do they escape easily? Are there such things as starter millipeeds??? Thanks.


He Who Rules
Staff member
Jul 16, 2002
Hey Mac,

While millipedes have been known to bite, it's more of a nibble and does not hurt from what I've been told. They are vegetarians and detrius feeders as far as I know. While you do not have to worry about being bit, some species can exude a noxious substance that could be harmful if gotten in the eyes or mouth. In some species it is a cyanide like compound and in others, it just kind of stains what it touches (such as your hand)

Most are handleable, but if they don't want to be handled, they will roll up as a defense. Most of them need to be kept moist and warm if I'm not mistaken.

I have heard that a good starter species is the Giant African Black (not sure on the scientific name) and they can be found in many petstores.

As for escaping, I don't believe that they are able to climb glass or smooth plastic, but they may, like centipedes, be able to push themselves up off of substrate or any decorations in the enclosure they are kept in.

Centipedes on the other hand are voracious predators that I can see no reason to even think about handling. Some of the smaller species are reported to have a milder venom, but if bit by some of the larger species, you may well want to have the bitten appendage cut off to stop the pain. One species, Scolopendra subspinipes has the death of a seven year old girl in the Phillipines attributed to it.

Hope that helps some,