Why Are Centipedes So Scary?

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky — and no, we’re not talking about The Addams Family here. What we will be discussing in this article are multi-legged and freaky centipedes, which some consider among the scariest animals on the planet.

So why are centipedes so scary? Where did they get this reputation? And is there anything that we can discover that could make us actually start to like these weird-looking creatures?

In this article, we’re going to find out!


Why Are Centipedes So Scary?

The unsightly image of a multi-segmented and multi-legged creature gliding in all directions simultaneously across your bathroom floor can definitely cause you to feel anxious panic.

There’s no doubt about it that centipedes rank rather high on the creepy factor. Perhaps it’s because of their color, especially if they’re blue or have bright blue legs.

Or maybe it’s because all of those fast and furious-looking legs wriggling around in all directions make it look like they’re quickly gliding along the floor or floating up a wall, rather than just crawling like other bugs do. 

In fact, the centipede isn’t an insect. It’s an animal known as an arthropod, which means that it has many segments with pairs of legs attached to it, just like a crab, lobster, scorpion, or spider.

But even though they have a reputation for being terrorizing, when it comes to most centipedes, you really don’t have anything to be afraid of.

Centipedes are rather shy arthropods, which means that they’re actually quite afraid of human beings. This is why they’ll defend themselves and ‘bite’ whenever they feel threatened. But as long as you leave a centipede to do whatever it’s doing, then it’s very unlikely that it will bother you.

Centipedes are rather shy arthropods, which means that they’re actually quite afraid of human beings. This is why they’ll defend themselves and ‘bite’ whenever they feel threatened. But as long as you leave a centipede to do whatever it’s doing, then it’s very unlikely that it will bother you.

The smallest house centipedes, which are the ones you’ll normally come across, average in size about two inches. 

The largest member of the species found in the United States, the Texas Red-Headed centipede, can grow to around eight inches. But you will probably never find one in your house unless you have a severe moisture problem, and it’s too hot for them outside.

By day, this giant creepy creature will hide itself under piles of leaves or rocks, or maybe in crevices in bricks or walkways, but always away from sunlight. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever see one. 

They only come out at night to hunt for insects to eat, which means the images you may have in your head of one of these crawling into your bed at night while you sleep is pure fantasy.

A centipede’s eyes are extremely sensitive to light, which is why they hide from the sun in the daytime.


Can A Centipede Kill You?

The deadly Peruvian Giant Centipede

Although it is definitely true that a centipede’s bite will release venom into the receiver, there have been few recorded cases where people have died after being attacked. And that’s because the purpose of centipedes having venom in the first place is to inhibit their prey from getting away.

Centipede venom, which they carry in their two front legs, which transform to become pincers, just like crabs, lobsters, and scorpions, is poisonous. However, it’s only really poisonous to their prey, so is very rarely life-threatening if you are bitten when a centipede feels like it is under attack.

The purpose of a centipede’s venom is to cause rapid paralysis in its victims, which are usually bugs like cockroaches, silverfish, beetles, crickets, spiders, earwigs, and flies – the same insects that you’d rather not have around your house anyway.

If you never pick up a centipede and roughly handle it, then you’ll definitely reduce any chance of ever getting bitten. And it is extremely rare that one will decide to crawl on you to bite you, even at night, because their shy nature means that they’ll run away from you as an automatic reflex.

If you never pick up a centipede and roughly handle it, then you’ll definitely reduce any chance of ever getting bitten. And it is extremely rare that one will decide to crawl on you to bite you, even at night, because their shy nature means that they’ll run away from you as an automatic reflex.

In the very rare situation where you may get bitten though, all you will likely feel is a sting, and perhaps some discomfort from the area of the wound as it heals from the inflammation. Your immune system will do the rest to neutralize the venom, and heal the skin.  


How To Get Rid Of Centipedes Around Your Home

As we’ve mentioned before, centipedes feast on insects that are generally known to be household pests. So, if you see a centipede in your house or apartment, then instead of squashing it with your shoe while in a state of panic, perhaps consider that it’s doing you a favor.

If you see a centipede in your house or apartment, then instead of squashing it with your shoe while in a state of panic, perhaps consider that it’s doing you a favor.

Centipedes are basically Mother Nature’s own natural pest control, so if you have a slight issue with gross bugs like cockroaches or silverfish, then allowing a centipede or two to get along with its business will mean they will help you to keep things nice and tidy.

Of course, if you have a silverfish or cockroach infestation, then that’s a bigger problem that a few centipedes won’t be able to manage alone. But before you call in the exterminators, it’s a safe bet that the centipedes will be happy to feast on your household pests until you do.

Getting rid of excess moisture in rooms like the basement, bathroom, and kitchen will go a long way to keeping centipedes away, because they also thrive in damp and wet environments, just like roaches and silverfish.

Centipedes also like hiding out in piles of old books, and wood, where moisture can take hold. And if you have a lot of clutter, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to centipedes finding a dark space with some moisture to make themselves at home. 

Opening windows to circulate fresh air regularly will help you keep centipedes away, as well as get rid of piles of books, and other clutter.

And if you have, or buy, a dehumidifier, then this will definitely take any excess moisture out of the air, and centipedes won’t find your home as habitable.


Are Centipedes Still Giving You The Creeps?

Centipedes are quite fascinating creatures, although we’ve definitely been conditioned to find them really creepy and scary, which gives them such a bad rap.

Centipedes are quite fascinating creatures, although we’ve definitely been conditioned to find them really creepy and scary, which gives them such a bad rap.

However, now that you know why most people believe that centipedes are so scary, all you need to do is focus on their positive aspects

Because any persistent terror you may feel about centipedes is completely unfounded, and they have a lot more to offer the world — like eating cockroaches, for starters.