Yet another "My first centipede" advice thread

Crowbawt

Arachnopeon
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Aug 20, 2016
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43
Well, technically my second... I've been keeping a little house centipede (scutigera coleoptrata) that I caught in my shower for about 6 months now as "practice" (And because I think he's cute...)

I am about to order my first Scolopendra, however. I've been doing lots of research in the months leading up to this, internet and otherwise, but I have a few questions that I couldn't find as reliable of answers to in the care guides I've read.

I'm planning on ordering a Scolopendra Polymorpha pedeling, and I have a small acrylic aquarium set up for it with about 3 inches of substrate, a cork bark hide, and a small water dish.

My newbie questions are:

1. The tank has a wire mesh lid that I'll be putting a weight on. I'm not sure exactly what kind of metal the mesh is, but a magnet didn't react to it so I know it's not steel. I've heard that adult scolopendra can chew through weaker metal mesh. I could buy some steel mesh and replace what's on there now if necessary... would a 5-6 inch adult polymorpha theoretically be able to chew through what I have? I'm saying 6 inch as the max adult size potential because if it actually got bigger than that I'd switch it out for a larger tank anyway. I've also taken the advice I've seen of scraping off the interior caulk on the aquarium's corners so ideally the pede would never reach the lid anyway, but I want to be SUPER careful since I'm not the only one living in this house and I don't want to accidentally traumatize someone with a centipede on their pillow one night.

2. Humidity gauge--I don't currently have one in the tank. I was going to go with the method of keeping one side of the sub drier than the other, specifically by overfilling the dish a little when I add water so the area surrounding it is a moist spot. It's a small tank so there won't be a huge variance in dampness from end to end of the substrate no matter what I do. Should I get a gauge and aim for a specific humidity level or just judge things by the substrate?

3. Springtails... I was considering getting a small culture of forest springtails (the guy I'm buying from sells little packs of about ~30) and dumping it in there as a clean up crew. Is this a good idea? Or will a tank of this size not support the little guys very well? I was going to get the forest kind because they don't seem to require charcoal but I admittedly don't know much about springtails at all.

4. Temperature. It gets really, really cold where I live in the winter and I live in a drafty brick house. I've heard that Polymorpha do fine at room temperature but I could easily see it dipping below 65 F in my room at night during the worst patch of winter. My Scutigera has done fine this winter, he's just a little less active and eats less often than he did when it was warm out, but he's obviously native to this kind of weather since I caught him in my house. I have a simple lamp with a UV bulb I turn on next to his tank sometimes, would that be enough to have near the polymorpha tank on cold nights or should I think about getting some kind of heater? I've heard that an undertank heater can actually backfire with centipedes since they burrow to escape the heat instinctively and might accidentally cook themselves.

5. Tank plants. This is pretty overkill for a pedeling but I'm overly excited and was thinking about putting a small plant in the tank. I have pre-established Aloe Vera and Zebra Cactus (Hawthoria) that I could very easily take a small offshoot from and put in there. I know overly damp substrate or too much humidity will kill succulents but I was considering just putting some in the dry side of the tank and seeing what happens since I'll be out nothing if they die. Any reason not to do this? Is it 100% not going to work? And if so... any advice for a very small plant that could survive in these conditions, or just I just give it up and go for a plastic? I'm slightly worried about the spines on the Aloe, even though they're really really tiny. I know T's can injure themselves on sharp plants if they fall on them.

Whew. Sorry for all the words, thank you so much for anyone who bothers to read this and respond. I'm very new to inverts in general, not just centipedes, so please tell me if I'm making any obvious mistakes!!
 

Abyss

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
281
Those humidity gauges are junk and misleading. For T's the common accepted practice is to NOT use them and keep a full water dish and possibly mist occasionally.
I dont know anything really about centepedes but im confident that if the humidity gauges are inaccurate at best and frowned upon for use w/T's then the same would apply to pede's
 

Crowbawt

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
Messages
43
Those humidity gauges are junk and misleading. For T's the common accepted practice is to NOT use them and keep a full water dish and possibly mist occasionally.
I dont know anything really about centepedes but im confident that if the humidity gauges are inaccurate at best and frowned upon for use w/T's then the same would apply to pede's
Thanks for the information! I stuck a temperature strip on the tank because it was literally 2 dollars but I will hold off on the humidity gauge then, some additional googling seems to agree with them not being that useful in a set-up like mine.
 

Crowbawt

Arachnopeon
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Aug 20, 2016
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43
polly2.jpg poly1.jpg

Here's visual ref of the tank. I put pups of the Aloe and Zebra Cactus in the tank just to see how it worked... and water splashed out of the water dish because I clumsily bumped the tank while trying to take a picture, so ignore how empty it looks. The substrate is just about 3 1/4in deep all around, for reference.

I'll be putting either a weight or clips on the lid. Suggestions? Reminder that I'm getting a young ~2 inch Polymorpha and will eventually switch it out into a larger set-up depending on how big it gets.
 

G. pulchra

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
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Jun 7, 2005
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594
Personally I would use some type of clear or translucent rubbermaid type container with a locking lid. Drill holes for ventilation and give it more soil to burrow in.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
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Dec 25, 2014
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5,825
I have a 0.1 Scolopendra subspinipes.

A nice inches of moist substrate (Irish moss peat). Cork bark pieces (they love to hide). Water dish. A couple of fake plants near the cork, but nothing transcendental. That's my set up.

When she's hungry she try to escape pushing one of the forcipules out of the air holes I've drilled, or reaching the top (always an adrenaline rush), then she chase the roach fast like hell, even in the water dish. Never saw something similar not even with OW T's :-s

I don't use springtails. I don't use additional heating of all sorts: temperatures are the same of my other T's.

The important thing is that the enclosure needs to be 'escape proof'.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
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Consider also that Scolopendridae aren't "weak" like sometimes can be depicted. Now 65 F are + or - 18° C (and something) if I'm not wrong. Not the best, ok, but for a night time not even a tragedy.

As far as humidity = nightmare for a lot of keepers :angelic: is concerned, keep always the water dish full, pour room temperature water directly in the substrate (mind, not moist like for Asian ones) using a syringe or a plastic pipette.

"Humidity numbers" doesn't exists, and they will always vary but you can 'collect' those from various sites and play those at Lotto, you never know.

I prefer, aside for suggesting a no escape enclosure, to don't talk about that issue, because I didn't exactly completely respected the "height rule" :kiss: basically my enclosure is escape proof so far, ok... just like a building created on purpose by a sadist engineer with subpar materials that would last only due to the ??? human weight variable eh eh :troll:
 

Aquarimax

Arachnoprince
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
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Personally I would use some type of clear or translucent rubbermaid type container with a locking lid. Drill holes for ventilation and give it more soil to burrow in.
I am about to embark on the centipede adventure as well. For my (soon-to-arrive) S. polymorpha, I bought a tall 29-quart Hefty container with a locking lid. For ventilation, I was planning on some large cutouts in the lid covered with aluminum screen. I am not sure whether to drill some very small holes along the lower walls of the container or not...good or bad idea?
 

Ran

Arachnoknight
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
282
Your setup looks great! I have 3 polymorpha that I have had for over 4 years and I make sure the substrate under the hide is somewhat moist...the rest of the substrate can be dry. A full water dish and the room temp is 76deg.. Polymorpha are great pedes, tough, resilient and hardy as most desert species are.
 

Crowbawt

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
Messages
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Thank you everyone for the replies! I will be very vigilant about keeping the water dish full, leave the current mesh, and invest in some clips for the lid to make sure it stays on tight. The hide is in the "damp spot" next to the dish, thanks for the advice!

My scutigera seems to be very sensitive to moisture so I'm already in the habit of checking his enclosure several times a day to make sure he doesn't dry out, so hopefully that will extend to good practice with the poly's water dish...
 

G. pulchra

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
594
I am about to embark on the centipede adventure as well. For my (soon-to-arrive) S. polymorpha, I bought a tall 29-quart Hefty container with a locking lid. For ventilation, I was planning on some large cutouts in the lid covered with aluminum screen. I am not sure whether to drill some very small holes along the lower walls of the container or not...good or bad idea?
I just drilled holes into the plastic, not overly professional but it's very functional and the ped is doing well.

http://arachnoboards.com/threads/my-first-centipede.289076/
 

Aquarimax

Arachnoprince
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I just drilled holes into the plastic, not overly professional but it's very functional and the ped is doing well.

http://arachnoboards.com/threads/my-first-centipede.289076/
Thank you! I checked out the thread you linked to, and that is exactly the container I purchased. Nice setup, looks great for a tropical centipede that needs plenty of humidity.

I'm getting a S. polymorpha, from what I understand they need considerably higher ventilation than the tropical species, thus my plans for cutouts and aluminum screen. However, I am a complete newbie with centipedes, and very willing to consider other options if they will work better.
 
Last edited:

Staehilomyces

Arachnoprince
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Mar 2, 2016
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1,489
Great setup! That is more than enough for ventilation, and it seems pretty escape proof to me. Good luck with your first Scolopendra.
 

Aquarimax

Arachnoprince
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
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Great setup! That is more than enough for ventilation, and it seems pretty escape proof to me. Good luck with your first Scolopendra.
Thank you, glad to hear it! Hopefully my S. polymorpha will be arriving today...it was supposed to arrive Thursday but it was misdelivered...:arghh:
 
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