dead or molting?

kellysaxez

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May 16, 2014
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Hello. I have a Vietnamese Centipede that I have not seen for about three weeks. I spotted Sayuri once going back down her cork hide to her burrow once about three weeks ago and not since then. I put crickets in during this time and they disappeared so I assumed she ate. Spotted one roaming about this morning so now am not sure. I know they burrow and are nocturnal, but even her night time roam abouts her tank (29 long and escape proof) has stopped. Is she molting or dead? I've read the actual molt doesn't take too long, less than an hour, and I know they slow down activities about two weeks prior to a molt. I don't smell anything to indicate she's dead, not sure if I would with a pede. I did search, but didn't find much around this specific question "how to know if she's burrowed and happy or dead"
 

ErinM31

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Feb 25, 2016
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I don't know anything about centipedes, but millipedes will remain in their molting chamber for much longer than the time of the actual molt (when one formed its chamber against the side of a deli container, I saw it in there for days at least). Hopefully, you did not add the crickets at a time when your centipede was vulnerable! Crickets are vicious little beasts and can kill a tarantula molting. :( I would continue to wait: If she is dead, there is nothing you can do anyway and if she is alive and well then you risk harming her.
 

kellysaxez

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May 16, 2014
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Thank you so much for getting back to me. Really, my question is, will it give off the customary "rotting flesh" smell if it has died? I don't want to unearth it or disrupt it if she is molting or even worse, preggos, lord I hope not. I got it from Ken the Bug Guy, but don't know if it was WC or CB... I read a post here earlier this eve of a man who woke to find a bunch of babes about the tank and two or three had disappeared. If the tank starts giving off an odor I will know why
 

ErinM31

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Thank you so much for getting back to me. Really, my question is, will it give off the customary "rotting flesh" smell if it has died? I don't want to unearth it or disrupt it if she is molting or even worse, preggos, lord I hope not. I got it from Ken the Bug Guy, but don't know if it was WC or CB... I read a post here earlier this eve of a man who woke to find a bunch of babes about the tank and two or three had disappeared. If the tank starts giving off an odor I will know why
I honestly don't know. Not all of my millipedes have given off any detectable odor when they died although some do. I would think that a larger centipede would based on other posts that I have read and their habitat is not composed of decaying organic matter (which is essentially what millipedes require and so different microflora is present -- my guess as to why millipedes don't always stink when they die, but I digress). I'm sorry that isn't much help! :( It would be good to know from centipede keepers how long their centipedes have remained burrowed.
 
Last edited:

basin79

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Sep 14, 2013
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The molting process takes weeks. Pre molt, the actual physical activity of molting then post molt.

Stop feeding as if she's not buried down crickets could eat her whilst she's shedding and defenceless.

I'd have thought you'd be able to smell a large dead pede.
 

kellysaxez

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May 16, 2014
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Thank you so much, to Basin and Erin. I'm relieved to know the length of the process, most of my searching led to only the actual molt time, I could find little about how long they go down aside from "my pede slowed down around two weeks before it molted". I have a large tank for her with plenty of hiding places and she remains burrowed, so perhaps theirs were smaller and they were able to view the process more easily. And thank you for the info about the odor, too. I did search "dead centipede smell/odor" and found mostly stuff on how Millipedes give off a foul odor or that someone had "squashed" a centipede and when they did it let off a foul odor they could not get out of their home for hours. Thank you so much for your help. I will leave all as is and not put anymore food in for her. I imagine she will resurface when she is finished. I don't really know if it is a she or not, but, I'm hoping not to find baby pedes milling about lol Hard enough worrying about one escaping never mind 20 babies :)
 

kellysaxez

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May 16, 2014
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This is the tank she lives in. I am aware of their escape artist abilities and have two mesh screen tops on it with clamps and have made sure all corners and substrate is kept low enough to prevent a hoist up and over.
tank1.jpg tank2.jpg
 
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