Giant Centipede Handling

cacoseraph

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Giant Centipede Handling (Playing With Fire Pic!)

Purpose of the thread: The purpose of this thread is to gather first hand knowledge regarding the handling and true demeanor of giant centipedes. Please post only genuine first hand accounts (or pics!) of handling experiences. Please share both triumphs AND failures, as there is a lot to be learned from both. Thanks for reading, and i hope you enjoy!

History
Having hand caught ~25 S. polymorpha with out being envenomated, and reading tons of stuff on giant centipedes led me to think that perhaps the current conventional wisdom regarding scolos could be wrong. Countless times have i seen centis described as evil or vicious. Countless are the admonishments not to handle them... and yet...

Please read and respect:
I understand giant centipedes are venomous, defensive, and potentially aggressive animals. Please do not post on this thread to tell me how stupid i am, how bad of an idea this is, or how i am going to "ruin" the hobby for the rest of you. If you feel you must vent, *warn* me, or otherwise make a cross-purpose contribution please have the courtesy to post it to this thread:
http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?p=492451#post492451

EDIT: This is the poster shot of this thread for the time being:

this is from a buddy of mine. i told him something like that was too good to waste on just my old and failing eyes.

lo and behold, someone even crazier than me:


higher res and bigger size:
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b287/cacoseraph/pals/yikes/Dscn0267.jpg
 
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cacoseraph

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heh
ok i'll go first :)

the only time i've come close to being bit was when i was wild catching. i had just caught and was holding a ~4" S. polymorpha w/o problems... but i was having trouble getting my container open and the pede was getting more and more agitated so i decided to try to and squeeze it a little between my fingers to slow it down... the second i started applying pressure the pede froze and placed his fangs on my skin... i squeezed a little more and it squeezed a little more... i let go and it let go.

it was actually quite cool
 

Randolph XX()

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As from the sub-tropical region, i've handled a few Taiwanese S.s.mutilans and S.morsitans when i was 13.Few conditions made me do that, collecting centipedes in the wild isn't that easy when it comes to complicate terrain where no tools could be handy at the point. However, i've never been bitten because i know the timing.Only handle centipedes when they are slow ,or busy,(ex. colder temperature, feeding on preys). and each individual has different temperment. what i am saying is there are lots of way handling centipedes without getting bitten, not u will definately not getting bitten by handling a centipede.
 

cacoseraph

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Randolph XX() said:
what i am saying is there are lots of way handling centipedes without getting bitten, not u will definately not getting bitten by handling a centipede.
i agree.

i think technique is VERY important. like NiGHTS posted in the other thread, you can't impede it too much... heh, get it... imPEDE... hehehe... anyhow... i have caught & handled up to 5" S. polymorpha in all the Southern California "seasons"... but i think in like, climatically dynamic regions handling in winter is to be strongly suggested :)
 

Galapoheros

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I tried this over 10 years ago. I tried it with a WC Scolopendra h. castaneiceps. I let it walk on to the palm of my hand. It slowed down and started walking with it's legs in what looked like an unusual pattern of stepping. It looked like a "warning" to me. It raised the first 1/3 of it's body as you see them before they are about to catch something. It's legs were becoming tighter and tighter on my skin. I put it back in the terrarium and decided that I probably wouldn't do that again....but I did. This time with h. heros. It pinched my finger with it's fangs very lightly and let go. So I decided I wouldn't do that again, again.
 

cacoseraph

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Galapoheros said:
It pinched my finger with it's fangs very lightly and let go.
heh, i've had that happen... it was very er, interesting. when it happened to me it was because i was squeezing the centipede... a big mistake in centi-handling =P

another interesting habit i've noticed in just about all the centipedes i've held is they stop moving and rest their head on the substrate, bringing the maxillipeds in contact with whatever they are walking on. it used to make me very nervous, but i notice they do it all the time, even in their containers... it is just a heck of lot more disconcerting when it's your skin those giant fangs are resting on
 

cacoseraph

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Scolopendra Times: Scolopendra morsitans.... check! S. polymorpha mom. Test-biting?

Galapoheros said:
It pinched my finger with it's fangs very lightly and let go.
hey, did it do the test-bite fairly early on into holding it?

i have a theory they are just sort of testing a new substrate. i wouldn't be suprised if they have some fairly decent sensors in their big maxilopeds. it could be human skin in funky enough they need to take a few readings before they feel comfortable walking on it. :)


I was trying to measure and take stab at sexing all my new arrivals (thanks SCI!), so i wanted each of them in their shipping container, minus any shipping material or packaging. I just got 3 S. morsitans, 2 S. heros castaniceps (to hopefully mate out with the one i already have), 1 cute very blue legged S. polymorpha, and 1 "mystery"/Eastern Bark centipede.

I was pretty much done removing the shipping materials from all but one S. heros c. and one S. morsitans, both of whom seemed disinclined to part with their particular bit of paper towel. Both heros were moving very quickly, so i decided to attend the morsitans first. It's about ~4"BL (Body Length, not counting antenna or terms). So that's over 7"FL (Full Length, body + antenna + terminators.

it was balled up around it's bit of paper towel very cutely, and would NOT let go. having read enough to lead me to believe morsitans were probably similar in disposition to S. polymorpha, i decided to go ahead and rest the centipede on my open hand. It started running around, and after maybe 2-3 seconds stopped moving, lowered it's head, and definitely took a fold of my skin inbetween its maxis. I held very still, and basically tried not to breathe too much... but it let go and started running around. It was actually moderately light for a "test-bite", not painful at all. I let it run around, hand-over-handing it a number of times. I even put my hand infront of it the few times it tried running up my arm. it either turned around or started crawling on the blocking hand.

eventually i let it go into the staging/safety container 40L tupperware i was using.

last saturday i caught a ~5"BL S. polymorpha that test bit me. I was using my normal capture method of Iron Finger grab, put in tupperware container. Whilst in the midst of struggling to open the container one handed, the centipede test-bit me. She didn't puncture me at all, but it was one of the harder test-bites i've gotten, it was almost verging on a painful pinch before she eased off. Soon thereafter she was properly contained.

Far too late, after i had packed her, i realized she was on eggs. They look very similar to the eggs my brother's polymorpha produced a couple/few weeks ago. I kept the eggs, and put 50-60% with the mom in her permanent container. She ignored them until i went to bed... then she ate them, i think.

The remaining eggs i am trying to incubate in a vial. I am very doubtful this is going to work.
 

Galapoheros

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Son of Diddly! That is some interesting pioneering you are doing. Your thoughts on the centipede testing what it is walking on were exactly my thoughts when it happened to me. I think they have much more control/coordination of their maxillipeds than would first be assumed when seeing one bite or kill it's prey. I used to work in the mapping industry. I started working in the industry long before it went digital. Had allot of magnifying optics available to me. I took a snake fang, scorpion stinger, centipede fang, and a tarantula fang to work and put them under a PUG machine which is kind of like a big, low mag. microscope. They all have the same morphology. The outlet for the venom is located in the same general location on the outside curve near the tip. Always on the outside of the curve. I thought it interesting that the fang of a snake and of an arthropod are engineered the same. The fang goes in and is pulled back in a way that the venom outlet is on the neg. pressure side of the pull. So it can really get the venom in there. Guess I have allot of time on my hands but that's what it looks like to me. Got on the topic of fangs there for a while. Fangs are interesting and a big deal in our culture. Something to be fearful of. Looks like it's not working with you! Anyway, I can't ignore the possibility that the centipede is "wondering" if it is on something kind of tasty. I bet if you cut the end of your finger off and threw it in the terr., the centipede would eat it. But I'm not going to try that. I may try it with someone else's finger but not mine. It's just another piece of meat. They can obviously register the size of an animal. They stay away from attacking large, live prey. But what about a large, dead animal? Maybe they are testing to see if what they are on is alive(?). If a centipede came across a large dead rabbit that was bleeding, and sensed it was dead, do you think it would have a meal? I'm sure there is more to pedes than meets the eye. That's some scary research you are doing. But, from what I hear, it won't kill you, and what won't kill you, only makes you.... hurt. Ha! Where are you getting your centipedes? What website have you had the best luck with?
 

cacoseraph

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Where i get my centipedes from

Galapoheros said:
Where are you getting your centipedes? What website have you had the best luck with?
All the centipedes i bought online, i got from strangecargoinvertebrates.com, the rest i have either caught myself or bought from a petstore. Graham from SCI is a member on the boards, his name here is Gsc. He is very nice and i have always been very happy with the quality of the animals and packaging i get from him.
 

cacoseraph

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Galapoheros said:
The fang goes in and is pulled back in a way that the venom outlet is on the neg. pressure side of the pull. So it can really get the venom in there.
wow, that's kind of scary =P
not only do they have big ol' giant fangs... they have really well engineered big ol' giant fangs =P


Galapoheros said:
Anyway, I can't ignore the possibility that the centipede is "wondering" if it is on something kind of tasty. I bet if you cut the end of your finger off and threw it in the terr., the centipede would eat it.
i have no doubt they would eat me... of course, so would my room mates cats =P
from what i have read centipedes seem like half detritivore and half predacious carnivore. i think they eat a wide range of things in nature. i expect one day to indeed find a centipede in/on/under a dead body... and when i do, i shall name it "Stinky"
 

Galapoheros

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That is just my personal "anecdotal" theory about fang design...hehe...and is not an antidote to my ignorance. Would be interesting to see some research on the topic. I think it would be a good study if you were in school and doing some of your own research in a biology class. Probably already been done. But it amazed me that every fang from different animals is designed the same. Specifically, the location of the venom outlet. Just that fact makes me wonder about evolutionary patterns and how long it may have been going on...where it all came from.... That's what I call God. That final question that no one really knows the answer to. Some claim they know the answer but if they knew, there would be no reason for faith. Kind of got off the topic there. Been reading stuff about religion. Anyway, my heros got out. My fault. Of course, it always is. Need to go to W tx. again and catch some more. Such a rush when you see and catch one of these animals. I'm not a deer hunter but I'm sure it's the same kind of rush. Happy pede handling!....no,no..happy,safe pede handling.
 

cacoseraph

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Galapoheros said:
Anyway, my heros got out. My fault. Of course, it always is. Need to go to W tx. again and catch some more. Such a rush when you see and catch one of these animals. I'm not a deer hunter but I'm sure it's the same kind of rush. Happy pede handling!....no,no..happy,safe pede handling.
it recently escaped? i hope not :(

fully, i love catching bugs! especially the first time you catch a species... it's sweet :)
 

Steven

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i do not support handling centipedes,... just the way as i don't support handling T's :)

but it's indeed a mather of how you react and knowing in what "mood" the pede is,...



my personal experiences:

i've been bitten (mmmmm lost count :rolleyes: ) way more
by smaller specimen then by the giant ones.



don't try this at home kiddies :p
 

Bob

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Steven said:
i do not support handling centipedes,... just the way as i don't support handling T's :)

but it's indeed a mather of how you react and knowing in what "mood" the pede is,...



WHOA..........STEVEN....I suppose that took a few good Belguin beers to get up the nerve !!!! I was changing my P.Metallica cage today and it ran up my arm...woke me up ! :eek:


Bob
 

Melmoth

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What sort of pede is that you are handling Steven? I must say RESPECT,dude :worship: :worship:

George
 

Steven

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Bob said:
I suppose that took a few good Belguin beers to get up the nerve !!!!
do ya know any "bad" Belgian beers Bob ??? :embarrassed: {D ;)

Melmoth said:
I must say RESPECT,dude
stupidity doesn't deserve respect George :p

darkeye said:
is that a viridicornis?????
nope,..it's a Giant Tanz. Blue-legg :cool:
 

cacoseraph

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Steven said:
do ya know any "bad" Belgian beers Bob ??? :embarrassed: {D ;)


stupidity doesn't deserve respect George :p


nope,..it's a Giant Tanz. Blue-legg :cool:
heh, i like all those quotes =P

is Giant Tanz. Blue-leg = S. morsitans?

i haven't had my three for more than a few days, but already they (morsitans) seem very calm, almost sedentary. i was comfortable holding one immediately whilst unpacking.

that is a huge looking specimen, i thought they usually got around 10cm long?
i'll have to dig out my copy of _Biology of Centipedes_ (sorry justGreg... i lost them for a while... it's coming, one day... =P )
 

Galapoheros

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Yea, just recently my heros escaped. I think I'm about to move out to the country and I'm not focused on getting things set up properly for these animals like I used to be. Need to move and re-group. Tired of the city. I thought about when your pede squeezed and let go of your hand as you let go of the pede. Maybe it was grabbing on and was about to pull it's body through your hand with the maxillipeds. I've seen them do that in a tight squeeze before.
 
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cacoseraph

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Galapoheros said:
Yea, just recently my heros escaped. I think I'm about to move out to the country and I'm not focused on getting things set up properly for these animals like I used to be. Need to move and re-group. Tired of the city. I thought about when your pede squeezed and let go of your hand as you let go of the pede. Maybe it was grabbing on and was about to pull it's body through your hand with the maxillipeds. I've seen them do that in a tight squeeze before.
hey, yeah!

i didn't think of that, but now thatyou mention it, totally!

i just wish they didn't use their fangs like hands! it's disconcerting, i tell you!
 
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