The Universe and Me

Monday, August 07, 2006

Do we need 'em? : centipedes

My niece has recently returned from her trip to Japan where they have some large bugs, she says. I’m curious to find out if they’re the same bugs we have here, but only on a larger scale (and if so, why are they so large over there? Does it have something to do with the Godzilla phenomenon?) or different bugs completely. We’d heard rumours there were mega sized centipedes in Japan which made me wonder what purpose those wiggly creatures could possibly serve. There are close to 3,000 different species of centipedes. Pity the poor soul who had to count. Most of them are less than an inch long. They eat larvae, slugs, snails, worms, woodlice, small beetles (lookout Ringo!) and other centipedes. In turn, they provide food for birds, ants, frogs, lizards and small rodents. These little ones sound harmless. It’s when they become up to a foot long and an inch wide that I have a problem with them. These giants eat flies, frogs, snakes, lizards, even the mice and birds that are supposed to eat them. And they can bite humans. A centipede’s first pair of legs acts as fangs that contain poison to ferociously sting their prey. So this brought to my mind the old Genesis song Get ‘em Out by Friday where to fit more people in apartment complexes, the government places a “four foot restriction on humanoid height.” I think we should keep the centipedes but only the small ones.


  • At 4:19 PM, August 11, 2006, Anonymous SK said…

    I'm not very good at estimating length, but I'd say the centipedes were 4-5 inches long. Not big enough to eat a bird at any rate, but big enough to keep a distance from. I heard plenty of stories about how painful their stings are.


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