Good centipede for a beginner?

Ratmosphere

Arachnoking
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Awesome, I'll try and find one at Walmart! Should I use organic potting soil mixed with sand for this species?
 

Chris LXXIX

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Awesome, I'll try and find one at Walmart! Should I use organic potting soil mixed with sand for this species?
I think that sand wouldn't hurt at all since is a centipede from the desert area, but I prefer to let others reply to you on this particular (I've never kept a S.polymorpha at the end).
 

Scoly

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Regarding Kritter Keepers, or whatever they're called, you need to be careful on a few points:

1) The weak point is the "window" hatch in the lid. Assume that your centipede will reach it, and if it's not solid locking with a loud clack, then pick another cage. Incidentally, I had my first escape (a small Florida alternans sp) happen because I either didn't close the hatch fully (only on one clip) or the centipede popped it off.

2) Your centipede will explore the lid, if it can reach it, which has two draw-backs. Firstly, it can accidentally get a leg trapped and snap it off (yes, I've had this happen). Secondly, you NEED to look under the lid every time you open. I once opened a cage, and went poking around with forceps for food debris, as you do, casually holding the lid in mid-air in my other hand when I suddenly noticed that my 9" Vietnamese subspinipes/dehanni (i.e. not one you want to get bitten by) was attached to the lid, an inch or two away from my hand. Needless to say I just about shit myself. That was a large pede with bright orange legs, and I didn't spot it...

3) Ventilation is extremely high, and your cage will dry out very quickly. Doing something about the ventilation is tricky with these cages. Whatever you do, don't use duct tape in a way that the animal can come into contact with it.

All said, you're far better with a plastic tub with a tight fitting lid and airholes punched into it, which you can source cheaply from many places. I just picked one up from the street outside my local pizzeria who get their ice cream in transparent tubs :)
 

raisinjelly

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2) Your centipede will explore the lid, if it can reach it, which has two draw-backs. Firstly, it can accidentally get a leg trapped and snap it off (yes, I've had this happen). Secondly, you NEED to look under the lid every time you open. I once opened a cage, and went poking around with forceps for food debris, as you do, casually holding the lid in mid-air in my other hand when I suddenly noticed that my 9" Vietnamese subspinipes/dehanni (i.e. not one you want to get bitten by) was attached to the lid, an inch or two away from my hand. Needless to say I just about shit myself. That was a large pede with bright orange legs, and I didn't spot it...:)
I was only reading this and I still had to change my pants
 

Ratmosphere

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Awesome tips. I'm going to try and find a plastic container that has locking handles. How many holes should I drill for good ventilation?
 

Ratmosphere

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IMG_3289.JPG

Would this work as a good enclosure for this species? Maybe drill 4-6 small air holes on each side?
 

Ratmosphere

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Every enclosure I set up has air holes on the sides, I never used mesh ventilation myself.
 

Ratmosphere

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IMG_3290.JPG

Just found this laying around. It honestly feels more secure than the previous enclosure I just posted.
 

LawnShrimp

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Just found this laying around. It honestly feels more secure than the previous enclosure I just posted.
Previous enclosure is too shallow- I have seen a centipede lop over the lip of a shallow container and nearly escape. The second, however, is high enough for substrate.
For polymorpha, a mix of coir/cocofiber, fine peat moss, and sand is enough; most centipedes are not picky about substrate. Despite living in the US, I mainly have Asian jungle centipedes and have little experience with desert sp.; I assume S. polymorpha would not mind a little dry. Even though it is a desert species, a humid sub, occasional misting, and water dish (esp. since your enclosure is well ventilated) are necessary. Around 3 inches of substrate is enough to provide humidity and burrowing. Clumps of dead moss can also be useful as hiding places and water sponges.
 

DubiaW

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I currently have 6 Madrean S. polymorpha that I wild caught, and 10 S. heros another local desert centipede and 8 S. dehaani. I can tell you right away that there is a difference between the husbandry of desert centipedes and tropical ones. S. polymorpha can tolerate both dry conditions and moist conditions to some extent. The only two S. polymorpha that died on me were both kept too moist. With a desert species it is good to give them a small moist side and a dry side. I used to use plain coco fiber for my plings but recently I have noticed that it harbors bacteria and the desert centipedes don't thrive in it and have changed my setup. Pouring a layer of decomposed granite sand over the top of the coco fiber seals in some of the humidity under the surface and creates a barrier against oxygen to prevent mold and some bacteria growth. I also keep a section of native soil in there too, it's a free choice experiment. Before pouring the granite sand in I place two small rocks in the container one on the native soil and one on the coco fiber. After putting about a half an inch of sand down I lift up the stones and set them back in so the pedes can access the substrate and hide under the rock (rock isn't buried in sand). I'm using native moss between the rocks that can dry up, freeze and be rehydrated and then come back to life. So far every pede that I have set up like that is doing very well. I'm going to switch everything over except my tropical pedes.

The critter keeper debate is arbitrary. It depends on the ambient humidity of the climate you live in. If you live someplace extremely humid it will probably be ok. I live someplace really dry and I won't buy them anymore. They allow the substrate to dry up way too fast. I do have a couple that are covered in tape and plastic wrap for tropical inverts. It's a pain in the butt.
 

Staehilomyces

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My biggest issue with KK's is what Scoly mentioned; the fact that they can injure themselves on the lid, and get stuck up there, only to give you a nasty surprise when you open the box. I can risk neither with my new E. rubripes.
 

DubiaW

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My biggest issue with KK's is what Scoly mentioned; the fact that they can injure themselves on the lid, and get stuck up there, only to give you a nasty surprise when you open the box. I can risk neither with my new E. rubripes.
Mine have never made it to the top of the KK that I have witnessed. I'm currently switching everything over to the acrylic displays that my friend makes so that won't be an issue soon. i'll keep an eye out for it though.
 

Ratmosphere

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Awesome! I'll definitely be careful. The guy who has this species wants 40 dollars for LAG shipping so it would be like 60 bucks total. I might just wait for the next expo to get one. How long do they usually live for and are mites a problem with wild caught species?
 

DubiaW

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Awesome! I'll definitely be careful. The guy who has this species wants 40 dollars for LAG shipping so it would be like 60 bucks total. I might just wait for the next expo to get one. How long do they usually live for and are mites a problem with wild caught species?
Where are you located? I am doing an expo and shipping online this fall. I have some of the large sky island rusty phase or "madrean" polymorpha. These are the variety that get pretty large.
 

LawnShrimp

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View attachment 249066

Is this a normal variation?
With a species as polymorphic as this, 'normal' is many things, although this morph appears to be one of the most commonly collected. I've seen pictures of 3" solid blue polymorpha, 5" bright yellow/black with red heads, and pure tan with a green head plate in the massive 'aztecorum' morph. That particular specimen is very nice. It looks large, and healthy, although one or two legs look slightly injured.
 

Scoly

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View attachment 248966

Would this work as a good enclosure for this species? Maybe drill 4-6 small air holes on each side?
That is a a really shallow box. OK for a polymorpha, not OK for a subspinipes.

As for holes, remember that if you put air holes in the side, it will be even easier for the pede to run up the sides. Personally I'd drill around 40 holes in the lid. Even then it looks like that tub is not going to give much air flow, so you may well have to drill on the sides (do it away from the corners). Also, 40 holes close together will start acting like a meshed area, 40 holes spread far apart are just 40 individual holes, which don't allow much air flow.

How much air flow do you need? That depends on how much substrate there is and how moist that it... If you've got a moist substrate (which should also mean deep) then you need enough airflow to prevent it going stagnant, but not so much that it can dry out quickly. If you've got a dryish setup, then it's not going to go stagnant, but you need air flow to keep it dry, especially if the substrate is deep and contains moisture deeper down. Temperature is also another factor, the warmer, the more humid, the quicker things will go foul.

Drill your holes and set up the box where it will be staying, without the pede in it, and monitor it for a few days. Have a look for condensation. After a couple of days open it and stick your nose inside. Maybe leave a dead cricket see how quickly it rots. A lot of it is trial and error with the individual tub. Be prepared to drill extra holes. Remember dry climate pedes will die if kept in moist or stagnant conditions.
 
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