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Scolopendra morsitans as a class pet

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Nicholas Rothstein, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnosquire Active Member

    Hi, My name is Nicholas. I am grade 12 and from Hawaii. I am currently in the process of keep a centipede as a class pet. I TA for AP environmental science and AP Biology (class the centipede will be kept in). I have a few pedes, scolopendra subspinipes and morsitans.

    As you already know the general public hates centipedes. In fact, here we have extermination companies that specialize in killing them. My teacher and I both think it will be a great educational experience to keep a centipede in the class.

    The administration at my school is no problem (as long as the animal is secure). The other teachers in the building are the problem. Two of them so far have said they will file a complaint for keeping "poisonous" animals (haha funny I know).

    How do I go about defending my plan? I already have an enclosure set up with a combination lock to open it. I obviously know how to take care of centipedes. But they just keep insisting it shouldn't be allowed.

    There is so much you can learn... Evolution and how centipedes have legs that "bite" you. The melting and mating processes. How these beautiful creatures breathe through holes in their side. The possibilities seem endless to me.

    I don't know where I was really going with this, just wanted to share something I thought you guys would appreciate. I've been lurking here for a while and saw another post about an 11th grader and his story.

    Please feel free to tell me that it is a terrible idea or a great one.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Ratmosphere

    Ratmosphere Arachnoking Active Member

    Great idea but ultimately it's up to the school. You should do a class presentation on how centipedes are misunderstood, could change everyone's opinions.
  3. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    Have you tried sitting down with the teachers who are against it and telling them what you just told us? Maybe show them one of the many documentaries that show centipedes and their incredible life styles, and then explain how this could provide a great way to interest people in life sciences? If they are describing centipedes as "poisonous", it is pretty obvious they are ignorant about these incredible creatures of creation themselves.
    And if it doesn't work out, you can send the centipede and all the rest of Hawaii's crazy invertebrates over here to us in Southern California :D!

    Hope this helps,

    • Like Like x 2
  4. vyadha

    vyadha Arachnosquire

    It’s a great idea! I keep a few species in my classroom.
    A presentation would be helpful as well as possibly comparing a centipede to science experiments that utilize caustic/toxic materials. This helps you defend the use of something risky as a beneficial experience as long as proper safety precautions are in place.
  5. MintyWood826

    MintyWood826 Arachnobaron

    A presentation sounds like a good idea, as well as demonstrating that the enclosure is completely escape-proof.
  6. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince

    I don't think the other teachers could really stop you if the admin at your high school have no problems with it. I run a Bug Club at my school & I constantly have a ton of different inverts (including centipedes) in & out of the classroom. I also have some that permanently stay in the classroom. All I did was get permission from my club advisors & the administration.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnosquire Active Member

    Update: With teachers in the same building not approving of having a centipede as a class pet I went to the administration. They revoked my permission since those teachers are in the same building. I plan on making a presentation and will probably post it here.

    The teachers suggested other animals. They apparently don't kind animals with equal or greater danger. I asked about a mantis shrimp and they said yes, I asked about a lion fish and got another yes. And another thing that amazes me, an eel. I guess water makes things less dangerous.
  8. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnolord

    They keep bleach at the school and its deadly. So are about 300 other things at the school. This is just irrational fear, which is the most common kind.
  9. patrick nimbs

    patrick nimbs Arachnosquire Active Member

    I actually agree with the teachers to a degree because centipedes (particularly order Scolopendromorpha) are dangerous and the larger scolopendrids, particularly, are extremely dangerous and highly venomous and the teachers are only trying to keep students safe! Try keeping something that is non venomous and can’t really inflict injuries such as a millipede or a colony of roaches, or more environmentally friendly, consider a worm farm!
  10. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnosquire Active Member

    The other animals that they would allow are arguably significantly more dangerous than a scolopendra morsitans or subspinipes.

    Centipedes are crucial to the environment. They air the soil and keep the population of other animals down. An indicator (in my area) of a healthy ecosystem is an abundance of centipedes.
  11. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    @patrick nimbs, if you use a tall cage, tongs, and be careful, S. subspinipes are less dangerous compared to some species of scorpion, tarantula, spider, etc., as they can't climb smooth surfaces. Also, worm farms smell awful after a while.

    @Nicholas Rothstein, I don't think that centipedes air the soil to such a degree that they become absolutely necessary to the environment, as worms already perform the same function and are doubtless more plentiful. Maybe they need the healthy ecosystems because of the availability of prey, lack of disturbance, etc., and not the other way around.

    I do hope you are successful in convincing your teachers though! And if not, there are so many other invertebrates out there to choose from; I'm sure you would be able to find something to serve in a centipede's stead.


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