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Giant African Millipede pulled apart (?) Unpleasant topic, sorry

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Keh, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Keh

    Keh Arachnopeon

    Hi all, my first post here after being a long time lurker is unfortunately a sad one, and a forewarning that this post below is not pleasant reading, but I am trying to find out what could have caused this.


    Last week my partner discovered my beloved Giant African Millipede apparently dead in her tank. He warned me she was not in one piece, and those pieces were in different part of her tank.

    The night before she had been very active, crawling all over her tank, and I had found her halfway through walking through a hole in a log that has been in her tank setup since the day we bought her about 3 years ago. Nothing unusual; she was always stopping while half way through holes in her logs/skull tank decorations/cucumber slices. I joked 'are you really stuck this time?' which was a joke I always made. You can imagine how terrible I felt the next morning that I hadn't checked her properly before going to bed, although my partner says I would have probably hurt or killed her myself trying to help her if I'd realised just how stuck she was.

    It looked like she had gotten stuck, and then literally pulled herself in two trying to get away. She was incredibly strong (often digging, flipping things in her tank like her food bowl, and you could feel it when she gripped on to you just how strong she was) She was pretty large, about 25cms last time we measured and maybe 1 1/2cm around her widest part.

    Even worse - she was not dead. The front 1/3 of her that had broken away continued to walk around her tank for the rest of the day as if nothing had happened (amazing, but horrific) & even ate some apple! We considered putting her out of her misery, but we didn't have the heart to, so we decided to just take care of her until she stopped, which was late that evening.

    Has anyone ever experienced anything like this at all?
    We did some googling and found a couple of posts by people who had found a dead millipede in half, but they had no idea how it could have happened.

    As I said, this log had been in her tank (along with other logs and hidey holes) since day one. I've seen her attempt to go through the log before, but she always backed out. She may have been through it before without me seeing. When I looked, there was space around her body in the hole, and yet she was stuck fast. We couldn't even remove that half of her body to bury her, we had to bury the whole thing :(

    This was a particularly upsetting pet death, and we are shocked that this was something that could possibly happen. The days prior to this she was very active, eating and drinking normally. But we wonder:

    - Was she older & maybe weaker than we thought?
    - She had a good set up with a varied diet, calcium supplement on her food, oak leaves to eat, rotting wood, careful monitoring or environment etc. but could her shell have been weak or damaged somehow?
    - She had a light, hairy fungal growth towards her front end, mostly around her legs. But seemed unbothered by this & her mites were still there & active. Could this have hurt her?
    - We could not see any other damage to her shell whatsoever, but do wonder if she had hurt or cut herself inside the log where we couldn't see.

    Any ideas?

    Her name was Queenie (I named her after the Alien Queen in ALIENS) & she was very beautiful. I have added a photo of her here (https://www.dropbox.com/s/kozj7sbskmfxrqh/IMG_1532.JPG?dl=0) in better times pictured with the log in question. She was my first millipede after wanting one for several years & doing lots of research, so it was very upsetting.

    I would consider getting another millipede in time, but I will be super careful about what is in their tank. :(
    • Sad Sad x 3
  2. damhan

    damhan Arachnopeon

    Sorry for your loss....
  3. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoangel Active Member

    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    Millipedes are not necessarily the smartest creatures out there, but this is so bizarre that I don't think there was anything you could have done. It was just simply a crazy accident it seems. But this does mean that places where a millipede can get themselves into but not out of should be avoided for future setups.

    The fungus was not a good sign, but I don't think it caused the death of your millipede.

    By the way, this would be better placed in the Myriapods sub-forum.

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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