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Scolopendra subspinipes


He Who Rules
Staff member
Jul 16, 2002
This bite report is actually from Billy Norton. I am posting it here with his permission.

I acquired this magnificent giant centipede from Darrin Vernier at the AS conference in Carlsbad. It is the same centipede that Darrin handled during his demonstration. I confidently bragged to Darrin that I would handle the centipede as soon as I got home. This was certainly not the case. I actually found the big centipede (almost ten inches) quite intimidating. I did however handle my Scolopendra Heros desert centipede without any problems, as I was much calmer with it due to the smaller size and the fact that it's bite is reputed to be less severe.

I decided in order to handle the big subspinpes that I must achieve a state of calm while attempting to handle it. I started by gently stroking it with my fingers everyday. I followed this routine everyday. On the evening of Aug. 3 I found the big pede lying in it's water dish. I gently slipped my fingers under it and lifted out of its enclosure. I transferred it from hand to hand a few times and replaced it in its cage, what a rush!!! WOW! I am now an expert centipede wrangler!! But, I must have a picture of this milestone achievement!!

On the evening of Aug.4th my daughter-in-law is over with her digital camera to film this newly acquired talent! We took the pede into the bedroom so if I should drop it it would fall on the bed and can be scooped up. The lights were brighter in the bedroom then it's used to and it seemed a little upset. But hey, I'm the great pede handler and I can work around this! I reach in to get it and it runs for its burrow, I block its path, this happens twice. On the third attempt it gets partway into its burrow. I gently pull it out when WHAM!, it spins around and nails me on middle finger on my left hand.

At 58yrs of age I thought I had experienced pain. WRONG! I have never experienced such pain. This was at 9pm, at 9:30 I was in the emergency room! At 11:00pm I was give an shot of morphine, which did next to nothing for the pain. I was given a shot for tetanus, a prescription for antibiotics and percocet. I was to take 2 percocet every 4 hours as needed. Two hours later I had taken all 4 of the percocet they had given me until I could get the prescription filled the next day. There was no relief until about 5:30am on Aug 5th. The pain begin to subside and by 7:30 was gone. On the 6th there was still quit a bit of swelling but no pain. I did however get a reaction to the antibiotics which was exciting.

Looking back I realize that in my haste and over confidence I did every thing wrong! My advice to anyone wanting to handle this creature is DON'T !! But if you must; stay focused, remain calm move slowly and don't pull it out of its burrow! Will I handle it again? My wife is typing this so I plead the 5th.



Billy Norton


Nov 20, 2002
Bite from Scolopendra subspinipes

For the record I would like to say that this was by far the most painful experience I have ever encounted. It all started about a 3 years ago when working at a local pet shop. A customer asked to see one of the centipedes and me being as stupid as i am, offered to hold it. It was a mature female vietnamese red-legged centipede, about 9 inches. I placed the centipede on my hand very carefully being sure not to drop it. I was using the hand over hand method to keep the specimen under control when it started to crawl up my arm. Knowing that if i blocked or grabbed the centipede I would probably be bitten, I figured eventually it would start back down. Unfortunately this was not the case and before I knew it it had crawled under my shirt. I actually had another shirt under my work uniform that day and this caused the centipede to squeeze right up against my arm. Feeling threatened, the centiped sunk it's large fangs right into my fleashy tricep(back of the arm). Immediately a bolt of pain shot through my arm i recieved two more bites before i took my shirt of and retrieved the agitated animal. Upon inspecting my woumnds, i had received 7 large punture wounds. On 3 occasions she got me with her both of her fangs and caught me with one of them. I assured the customer that i was fine and put my shirt back on. I had another 4 hours on my shift to finish. At this point I only had swelling, redness at the sites of the punctures, and the most unbearable pain i had ever felt. I can honsetly say it felt like my arm was on fire. I decided to finish my shift, even after repeated warnings to get to a hospitol. On the bus ride home i experienced some nausea and i decided just to get to the hospitol to get some treatmnet. They eventually gave me some tylenol-3's to cope with pain. But needless to say the pain lasted a good 17-19 hours before it subsided. It was apparent damage had been done because their were signs of necrosis(tissue damage) and the back of my arm was hard and swollen.

I highly don't recommend being bitten unless you have a high threshold for pain.


Old Timer
May 9, 2003
Vietnamese Giant Centipede (scolopendra subspinipes)

Let me tell you about the most extreme pain I have ever experienced.

On Wednesday May 7th, i was bitten by my scolopendra subspinipes at around 3 PM. This specimin is 8 inches in length. I was cleaning out its cage when it came out of hiding, and crawled real quickly onto my hand. Afraid of startling or injuring the centipede, I decided not to make any quick movements, and to let it crawl off of my hand on its own. It started moving away, but quickly doubled back and struck me on my middle finger.

At first, it felt like just a bee sting. I looked at the finger and saw 2 punctures, and very little blood was coming out of the holes. I quickly washed my hands with warm water, and sat down. After 15 minutes, the finger started swelling considerably, and turned red. This is when the pain really started, and I decided I must go to the hospital. By the time I had gotten to the ER, an hour had passed, and the pain was really bad. It literally felt like my hand was on fire. I registered, and sat down in the waiting room. At about 4:30 PM, an hour and a half after the bite, the pain had really increased, and my hand, wrist and forearm had swelled up. At 5:00, i was still waiting in the waiting room, and the worst thing happened. I had been feeling fine, other then my arm being on fire, when all of the sudden I felt nauseous and very dizzy. I began sweating profusely, and my ears were ringing and my eyesight went black. My face lost all color, my lips were gray, and my eyes began rolling back into my head. I nearly passed out, the only thing that kept me from passing out was an ice pack that a nurse put on the back of my neck. They laid me on a bed, and I began to feel better. To treat the swelling and pain, I was given benadryl through an IV, and I was given 2 percocet pills. After tests and calls to poison control, I was released from the hospital after being there for 4 hours.

The following morning, my hand was still swollen a lot, but the pain had gone away considerably. There was very mild pain. Here we are 34 hours later, and my hand is still very swollen, but I feel no pain. All joints in my fingers are stiff, along with my wrist.

This was BY FAR the most extreme pain I have ever felt. I HIGHLY recommend that you use extreme caution if you ever plan on putting your hands near these bad boys. They are no joke, and should not be underestimated.


Old Timer
Aug 25, 2004
Damn Straight!!

About 4 years ago I took a nasty bite from a 6-7" suspinipes. I was pawing through her tank, picked up a rock and was bitten before I realized that she was under that particular rock. Upon feeling the nasty pinching/burning sensation I ripped my hand from the tank, only to see the centipede still attatched to my middle finger! Long story short the ensuing 24 hours were the most painful this side of breaking my arm in three places. I still had a bump at the site over a year afterwards.
Last week I was bitten by a black widow, and I'd choose the black widow hands down over a S. suspinipes.

Elytra and Antenna

Arachnosupporter +
Sep 12, 2002
Today I got in 10 wild-caught S.subspinipes all around seven inches (10 inches for people without measurement devices;) ). I was feeling very skittish around these guys for fear of the incredible bite. 2 had some damage and I wasn't being careful and one of them nearly got out of the deli-cup when I was pulling out the moss and towel to replace with coc fiber. I used the lid to get it back in without a hitch. Whew!!

Well, I decided to feed all my new arrivals. The healthy ones are in the wide, shallow, clear plastic containers most giant centipedes are kept in. I slowly pried up the lid on each container at the opposite side the centipede faced and dropped in a cricket. No trouble. On the last one I had the lid up barely half an inch when the animal shot out like lightening and bit my finger. The pain hadn't come yet so I quickly put a bucket on my escapee who had made it to the floor.

I looked at my finger and saw the familiar cut of the centipede bite and felt a tingle. "Oh crap, my whole day is going to be ruined!" I've been bitten by four inch centipedes before but they never hurt much (like a Polistes wasp sting, nothing like a yellow jacket and not on the same planet as an assassin bite). I felt sad about my ruined day and felt frightened as I waited for the intense pain and swelling to begin. I gave up the wait after fifteen minutes. It's been 90 minutes and it's a little tender. Comparing this bite to a Platymeris bite is akin to comparing a grain of sand to the earth (my body involuntarily shook any time I had my hands in the cage for six months after a Platymeris biguttata bite). Maybe my subspinipes didn't give me the 'full dose' of venom. I'm sure I'll find out since I'm not scared of them anymore.


Apr 13, 2005
first centipede bite

I definitely found the right forum on this one. We received a subspinipes today in a shipment from Florida at the store I work at. Upon arrival, it seemed the centipede had not made the trip alive. I opened the container gently and pulled out some of the paper towel in it. The centipede dropped to the bottom of the container, not moving, and remaining upside down. I pulled the rest of the paper towel and removed the lid to the deli container. I reached in to gently move the centipede (presumed dead) to remove a little more of the paper towels. Big mistake. Before I even realized it, it bit me, and took off across the floor. I quickly covered him with the deli cup before he could get more than a couple feet. The pain wasn't too bad, so I went about setting up his permanent cage. After a few minutes though, my hand began to tingle and throb. That's when I knew I was in for a long day (still over 9 hours of work left!) 10 minutes into it, and the pain began to really intensify. 20 minutes later, and it felt a bit worse than a hornet. This continued for 4 or 5 hours. At about 7:00 PM tonight, the 'hornet sting' feeling had disappeared (7 1/2 hours after the bite). The pain was centered at the knuckle of my right pinkie finger (I was bitten 1 inch from the tip of my finger), and it had now changed to feeling as though I'd broken my hand. It's now 12 hours later, the pain has not decreased, and I am currently typing this patiently with my left hand and my right thumb and forefinger :p . I've applied some benadryl cream and it's helped very slightly. My hand is now swollen halfway to my wrist, and my wrist and elbow are also sore, though probably from holding my hand in weird positions all day. I will try to post the rest when all symptoms have subsided.


Old Timer
Mar 21, 2005
I was bitten by one of these two days ago. About an 8" female. I opened the cup to remove some wadding that came in it for shipping and it immediately reached out, found my hand, and decided to take a stroll up my arm. It wandered around my body from waist to head for a couple of minutes while I tried in vain to get it to walk back into the tub it arrived in. She then found the gap between my chest and my shirt and this is when it got interesting. She crawled straight down my shirt and started going around to my back. Scorpdemon, his giirlfriend, my girlfriend and all my co-workers were laughing at the predicament I was in until I uttered the words "it bit me" seconds after it bit me it fell out on the floor where it was scooped back into it's container. We all looked at the bite site and found there were several holes and a large swollen area that was turning into a bruise already. There wasn't much pain associated with it but there were some tense moments as I realize that these are potentially dangerous. I was lucky this time and I plan to be MUCH mroe careful the next time I have to open anything at my house.


Old Timer
Apr 9, 2004
Scolopendra Subspinipes(Hong Kong Giant)

yeah i seem to have bad luck with the babies, but so far a baby Tarantulas, baby Pede and now a baby scorp got me all in 1 month

while NEVER being stung or bitten by anything else til now, good track record eh? hehe

2" Pedeling

was removing the Pedelings from the mothers tank and while removing the babies, i tried grabbing one with my fingers

well, then the lil bugger turned around and sunk its fangs right into the stop of my left index finger, sending a nice amount of venom by the tingling sensation i started feeling after

tingling, slight pain, for a few hours, the tingling went away after about 2 hours, pain went away after about 30 minutes, cant imagine the mother getting ahold of me :eek:
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Old Timer
Jan 5, 2005
well, i can tell ya how it feels getting bit by a large hong kong giant(8in) i have 19 centipedes(all kinds) i was feeding/watering,and they all pretty much go underground when i open their containers,but not this one she bit me so fast i didn't have time to move back(like lightning!! :eek: ) it was only a second bite,inthat second what ever "little" venom she injected,well it was the WORST!!!!!! pain i ever felt :eek: it didn't start to hurt right away but within about 10min that was it,i thought i would ride it out(yeah right :embarrassed: ) ive been bit by smaller ssp. but this no way,my hand blew up like a catchers mitt the pain kept getting worse and worse,and it was traveling up my arm,had to go to the hospital, they had no idea what a centipede was!!! :embarrassed: i had to tell them about it while i was suffering,they went on their comp and looked it up, they gave me all kinds of meds,and i finally started to feel better after dying for about 10 hours!! lots of ice ofcourse, should've went to the hospital as soon as i got bit. now when i go to feed i watch her very carefully :worship: she still rushes the container!!! so give these guys respect,they are really dangerous,but i still luv em :D


Old Timer
May 21, 2005
Scolopendra subspinipes dehaani ''Vietnam''

Hey guys, i'm finally in too :p. I got bit by a 3'' Scolopendra Subspinipes Dehaani from Vietnam last friday night.

When it happened, i rushed online and looked for reports from people being bit by 'pedelings or young centipedes and i didn't find anything that would give me much hope. I found mostly things like '' I thought i've had experience pain in the past but i never felt anything like that!!!! '' so it wasnt anything encouraging :p. Here's how it went for me...

It was 12h15 at night and i was packing centipedes for someone who asked me for a group of pedelings sc.s.dehaanis from Vietnam and one of the 3'' pedelings popped out of its pill-bottle while i was putting the top on and bit me on my right thumb. I swung it across the room and it dissapeared somewhere.

There was immediate pain and i remembered the bites reports that i've read before about that and i totally confirm. It felt like if there was a constant electric shock within my thumb and someone was hitting it with a hammer at the same time. I plunged my hand in a bucket of very hot water and i can also confirm that it diminished the pain A LOT. I went online and i've spent a while reading bite reports while i was myself envenomated to try and reasure myself but at 12h45 i just went to watch a movie with my girlfriend.

By 1 am, the pain had increased and i was thinking about going on pain relievers but i didnt find any... I watched the Terminal and by 2 something, the pain was a bit less intense, so i went to bed and tried sleeping for quite a while before it eventually worked.

When i woke up, at 7 am, the pain was much lighter and i was too busy to put my hand in hot water anyways. It gradually went better and better until the late afternoon, when it was almost totally gone.

As for the centipede, i'm pretty sure that with how dry my room is, he's probably not doing very good right now ( three days later ) and will dry. I am very happy with the way it all went and the hot water did help a lot. My thumb almost didnt swell so that was pretty good. I had eaten a pomagranate just before i got bit, which is a very good anti-oxidant so i think that there is a possibility that it helped somehow.

My tip for people who get bit is to stay calm and put whatever's bit in hot water fast. I hope this will help somebody who's been bit and is anxiously looking for infos on the venom's activity to feel reassured a bit. It wasn't that bad but i really wouldnt like to experience the amount of venom from a large specimen...

Thanks to my wonderful girlfriend who stayed up with me for a while while i was enduring the venom :).

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Feb 6, 2010
Don't remember how many times I've been bit.
last bite I was tagged on the thumb(base) by an 8 incher.Felt like I had just chiseled my thumb off at first, the pain got really bad as it spread up my arm.Swelling was bad ,almost my entire arm was swollen to about x3 of it's original size.Boneache and a major migraine ensued for the 3 days after the first bite.


Oct 21, 2010
Scolopendra sp. Vietnamese

My Vietnamese Centipede escaped out of her critter keeper as I was misting it. I grabed a piece of paper to scoop her up however somehow, she tagged my finger! The pain was sharp and seemed to increase over time. I did not have any other noticeable symptoms. The pain was much more severe then a bee sting or the sting from my Florida Bark Scorpion. There was no real swelling just the intense pain that lasted for about 6 hours! It was so bad I could not sleep. Today the pain is mostly gone and I do not have any redness or swelling. Just two small fang marks. I would appreciate hearing what others might have to say about being bitten by this species.


Oct 13, 2008
I recently posted about my H. maculata bite and said that was the worst I have received. I would now like to modify this statement; my scolopendra bite was the worst!

Was bitten on the side of the last kuckle on my left hand ring finger at 12:00am on August 19 2011 when the animal tried to climb out of its cage while I had it open for feeding- Laziness had me try to guide the centipede back into the enclosure with my left hand. Immediately ran hot water over the hand as I had heard from previous research about other bite victims that it may help. Called my friend at 12:05 to let her know that I had been bitten by a nasty critter and as the pain was already quite considerable at T+5min, I might require a ride to the hospital.

My friend arrived at around 12:20am and by this time there was considerable swelling and the pain, while not quite unbearable yet, was quite uncomfortable to the point where I couldn't sit still. It had only been 20 minutes and I knew from my H mac bite and from others' accounts of scolopendra bites that I should expect the pain to continue to increase, so I decided that I should go to the hospital.

The hospital ride took about 10 more minutes and at triage at 12:35 I remember telling the nurse, when asked where on the pain scale (1-10), I told her "about 700." (lol). My entire finger was swollen and my knuckles looked fat and bruised.

By 1:15am the doctor finally came and agreed to give me pain meds as I was literally unable to sit still on the hospital bed. I got a shot(dosage unknown) of Dilaudid at this time as well as a shot of benadryl to reduce the swelling and inflammation. Obviously the Dilaudid helped a ton but even so i was still in considerable pain. I watched Jersey Shore reruns on the TV for a bit (much more enjoyable while under the influence of intravenous hydorpmorphone) and at about 2:30 or 3:00am (dont remember exactly) the pain had begun to affect me more s the doctor gave me one more shot of the dilaudid and sent me home with two 5mg percocets and a prescription for ibuprofen 600mg's.

The pain was still present but not nearly as bad when I woke up the next morning. The percocets and ibuprofen got me through the day without much trouble.

It is now September 7th, over two weeks since the bite, and my finger is still considerably swollen and painful, with a blister forming on the bite area. Am considering a followup appointment if this does not go away soon.

I have broken my collarbone in three places with a bone going through the skin. I think the centipede bite was more painful, although it may have just been a factor of shock/adrenaline in the broken bone instance. Anyways, that's my experience.
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