Scolopendra subspinipes Got loose!

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
I'm really glad you found it and with no incident involving children!

However, I'm going to reiterate my advice to get rid of it, and replace it with a less dangerous species until your children are older, here's why:

There is always a chance of escape - despite the best of lids. My personal escape history:
  • My last "escape" happened during feeding: I spent too long (about 1 min) fishing for the right dubia in the colony while the pede enclosure's lid was open, and the 9" S.alternans calmly walked out and along the lids of the other enclosures. I heard the noise, saw it, and quickly caught it. Had it walked the other direction it would have found a blanket which would have allowed it to silently make its way to the floor. I would have assumed it was under its bark, thrown in the dubia, and closed the lid.
  • The escape before that was from a 6 bolt lid (over-engineered because I was so paranoid about escapes) which turns out had a design flaw in that if a corner bolt doesn't click it actually creates a gap. I don't know how many times I shut the lid leaving the gap before that time, but the last time I did, a 6" S.cingulata got out and was never found again.
  • The one before that (a juvenile S.subspinipes) was totally unexplained - it simply wasn't in its tub and I have no idea how long for.
  • The one before that (a undetermined 5" sp from Florida) was in a kritter keeper, with either the hatch improperly closed, or it forced its way.
And that's just the centipedes, I have had tarantulas escape too (no scorpions) but centipedes are the highest risk. Because of their body shape, able to escape from enclosures which would be safe for other animals, and will cover more distance, both generally, and in their quest to find somewhere damp and warm - increasing chance of contact. They also hide really well, meaning they stay on the loose for longer - further increasing the chance of contact. Therefore, centipedes have an overall much higher combined risk of an escape resulting in a bite, than the various spiders, snakes or scorpions we keep.

The danger to your children is very real, and is the main concern in this whole story, but there are secondary dangers:

If it had escaped to your neighbours, they could put in a complaint, or maybe even sue you or get you evicted if you rent etc...

If one of your children had been bitten, or the centipede had been found by a neighbour, this could end up in the news. Tabloids love a good creepy crawly story and will put every inch of spin on it. "Father of 3 let deadly centipede escape". This kind of thing can create problems for your family at school. I don't know what the bullying is like where you live, but having your papa appear in the tabloids is usually bad news for the kids.

But the widest reaching problem is the attention this gets from the authorities. Most law makers and politicians probably never spare much thought to whether people should be allowed to keep such pets. All it takes is one tabloid sensation story for politicians in a country, or even just a state, to outlaw these animals altogether. Most countries ban certain animals, and in most cases it is done by genus or family. 90% of the centipedes we keep are from the genus Scolopendra, so the chances are that any ban would apply to the whole genus. They are not going to fuss over losing at most a couple of hundred votes.

A lot of people in the hobby take a pop at handling for the very same reason: "One accident that gets media attentions, and the hobby gets shut down" etc... But serious media attention (and subsequently political attention) is far more likely to arise from an escaped S.dehaani in a house with small children, than with a teenager doing some handling (it typically involves a safer species, and no young children). There's plenty outrage (rightly or wrongly) over handling, with many Facebook groups banning photos of that - but I don't see the same outrage about keeping highly venomous centipedes in homes with young children, and that doesn't add up.

@Mslinger please do not take this as a personal attack on you, it's not! I'm really glad your situation ended well but I'm sure you appreciate just how easily it could have ended badly. No one can tell you what to do with your animal, but I think this hobby needs a serious discussion about this issue. I'd start it in a different thread but then it would just feel passively aimed at you, which its not.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
I'm really glad you found it and with no incident involving children!

However, I'm going to reiterate my advice to get rid of it, and replace it with a less dangerous species until your children are older, here's why:

There is always a chance of escape - despite the best of lids. My personal escape history:
  • My last "escape" happened during feeding: I spent too long (about 1 min) fishing for the right dubia in the colony while the pede enclosure's lid was open, and the 9" S.alternans calmly walked out and along the lids of the other enclosures. I heard the noise, saw it, and quickly caught it. Had it walked the other direction it would have found a blanket which would have allowed it to silently make its way to the floor. I would have assumed it was under its bark, thrown in the dubia, and closed the lid.
  • The escape before that was from a 6 bolt lid (over-engineered because I was so paranoid about escapes) which turns out had a design flaw in that if a corner bolt doesn't click it actually creates a gap. I don't know how many times I shut the lid leaving the gap before that time, but the last time I did, a 6" S.cingulata got out and was never found again.
  • The one before that (a juvenile S.subspinipes) was totally unexplained - it simply wasn't in its tub and I have no idea how long for.
  • The one before that (a undetermined 5" sp from Florida) was in a kritter keeper, with either the hatch improperly closed, or it forced its way.
And that's just the centipedes, I have had tarantulas escape too (no scorpions) but centipedes are the highest risk. Because of their body shape, able to escape from enclosures which would be safe for other animals, and will cover more distance, both generally, and in their quest to find somewhere damp and warm - increasing chance of contact. They also hide really well, meaning they stay on the loose for longer - further increasing the chance of contact. Therefore, centipedes have an overall much higher combined risk of an escape resulting in a bite, than the various spiders, snakes or scorpions we keep.

The danger to your children is very real, and is the main concern in this whole story, but there are secondary dangers:

If it had escaped to your neighbours, they could put in a complaint, or maybe even sue you or get you evicted if you rent etc...

If one of your children had been bitten, or the centipede had been found by a neighbour, this could end up in the news. Tabloids love a good creepy crawly story and will put every inch of spin on it. "Father of 3 let deadly centipede escape". This kind of thing can create problems for your family at school. I don't know what the bullying is like where you live, but having your papa appear in the tabloids is usually bad news for the kids.

But the widest reaching problem is the attention this gets from the authorities. Most law makers and politicians probably never spare much thought to whether people should be allowed to keep such pets. All it takes is one tabloid sensation story for politicians in a country, or even just a state, to outlaw these animals altogether. Most countries ban certain animals, and in most cases it is done by genus or family. 90% of the centipedes we keep are from the genus Scolopendra, so the chances are that any ban would apply to the whole genus. They are not going to fuss over losing at most a couple of hundred votes.

A lot of people in the hobby take a pop at handling for the very same reason: "One accident that gets media attentions, and the hobby gets shut down" etc... But serious media attention (and subsequently political attention) is far more likely to arise from an escaped S.dehaani in a house with small children, than with a teenager doing some handling (it typically involves a safer species, and no young children). There's plenty outrage (rightly or wrongly) over handling, with many Facebook groups banning photos of that - but I don't see the same outrage about keeping highly venomous centipedes in homes with young children, and that doesn't add up.

@Mslinger please do not take this as a personal attack on you, it's not! I'm really glad your situation ended well but I'm sure you appreciate just how easily it could have ended badly. No one can tell you what to do with your animal, but I think this hobby needs a serious discussion about this issue. I'd start it in a different thread but then it would just feel passively aimed at you, which its not.
Yeah I plan on getting her another home, I had my reservations on getting it in the 1st place.
And I did think it was of another subspecies.
 

Scoly

Arachnobaron
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
422
Yeah I plan on getting her another home, I had my reservations on getting it in the 1st place.
And I did think it was of another subspecies.
It's just unfortunate that S.dehaani are the cheapest and most commonly available centipede, both in the US and Europe. If you're in the states you should be able to get S.polymorpha quite easily, which although nowhere near as impressive are still "giant" centipedes - with full on centipede behaviour.

And if you get 4-5 then your chance of seeing them active (which is what its all about) are that much improved. In Europe people go out of their way to get their hands on S.polmorpha seeing as it's quite rare. In fact a lot of keepers get hooked on smaller species as the need for size fades away.
 

NYAN

Arachnoking
Active Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
Messages
2,361
If you're in the states you should be able to get S.polymorpha quite easily, which although nowhere near as impressive are still "giant" centipedes - with full on centipede behaviour.
They are in Alaska also. People don’t ship there’s usually.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
They are in Alaska also. People don’t ship there’s usually.
Exactly
Shipping is a issue to AK
A polymorpha is a fine size for me.
I used to catch them in Hawaii
And in California.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
I have 1 flag tail (Alipes multicostis) also.
Stays out in the open for the most part doesn’t hide. Doesn’t seem too happy with his inclosure, I dunno.
Eats on occasion.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
That may be the most common species but we have other scolopendra.
I’m not well educated on the number of variant species in Hawaii, but that’s cool that there are more.
The one I caught had to have been subspinipes imo. It was greenish and a decent size, I’ll try to find a pic of it.
 

Nicholas Rothstein

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
167
I’m not well educated on the number of variant species in Hawaii, but that’s cool that there are more.
The one I caught had to have been subspinipes imo. It was greenish and a decent size, I’ll try to find a pic of it.
Yeah I'm 90% sure the other species are not native. I've seen ones that have leaf/feather looking hind legs and ones with blue and white hind legs.
 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
Yeah I'm 90% sure the other species are not native. I've seen ones that have leaf/feather looking hind legs and ones with blue and white hind legs.
Yeah I'm 90% sure the other species are not native. I've seen ones that have leaf/feather looking hind legs and ones with blue and white hind legs.
Here’s a pic of the one I caught in Kona. Feisty,
As I filmed him he picked up a cockroach.
 

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Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
Can you link me some evidence that supports this? From my knowledge its only subspinipes in the genus Scolopendra
MECISTOCEPHALUS MAXILLARIS
And
LETHOBIUS SP
Are the other “known” species.

 

Mslinger

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
55
TBH
Animals can be native, or introduced without notice of any “official authority” to say yay or nay.
Even if you live there you may not come across a particular species, even if you look.
 
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