Amazonian Giant Centipede

If a snake had the propensity to beef himself up a tad, we would wager he’d get some legs to move faster, slip into some battle armour to become impervious to blows, and hell even stick a couple of poisonous sword-like pincers at the front. No doubt it would be the most terrifying snake in town, and would adopt the name “snakenator” or “snakeasaurus.” Unfortunately for the snake however someone got their first. Meet the Amazonian giant centipede. As long as a man’s forearm, strong as a snake, fast, armored, venomous, and what’s more doesn’t call himself silly names.

... but you can call me Stevesy...

Mammals love to eat arthropods. Bats can eat 100 mosquitoes in an hour, anteaters can slurp their way through 30,000 ants in a day, king of the crunchy-munchers aardwolves can have 200,000 termites licked in the same time. Even humans are pretty partial to them, with cultures around the world tucking into insects and other arthropods; whether by choice like on the continent, or by proxy, like you or I. Indeed It is estimated that in Blighty we get through about a kilo of state-allowed bugs a year, from the maximum allowable 340 bits of critters in a mug of hot chocolate, to the 12 allowable aphids in the hops in your pint of beer.

Not so the other way around, unless we’ve passed on and spent some time deep down in the ground, as we are generally just too bloody big for them you see. Sure we get nipped hither and thither, but in general our buggy chums generally lack the ambition to really tuck in to a mammal. All, that is, apart from the biggest. Step forward the Amazonian giant centipede, a lightning fast, toothy, armoured lump of annoyed. To be clear there are also rumors of the Galapagos centipede reaching 60cm (2ft) long, but that has never been confirmed… probably because it would only get the Amazonian giant centipede riled.

... a little on the rare side and perhaps a tad flappy, but otherwise satisfactory....

What you really have to admire in this sod is its ambition. Not content with nibbling away on vegetation or other small animals like most of the arthropod world … no, no, no … this devil wants to eat the big tasty stuff. He’s never happier than when he’s chowing down a mouse, and will happily take down a tarantula for even daring to pretend to be big and tough. Even more impressive is the way he catches bats for supper. One of his devilish ploys to get a bit of red meat is to climb to the top of a bat-infested cave and scramble up to the ceiling where he dangles his gnashers down into the bituminous abyss. Soon enough an unlucky bat will stray too close, and when it does it is grabbed and injected with enough venom to kill it in an instant. In no time the centipede will have gobbled the bat, down to the last mammalian morsel.

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Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 8:53 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yikes! How venomous is it to humans? I’ve wondered for some time out the large centipedes we have here in Appalachia. They become up to nine inches long, look like that Amazonian bugger and are rumored to be venomous. But I’ve never known someone who’s been bit or stung by one. Thoughts or answers?

    • I don’t have either I’m afraid Travis, those big pincer jobbies at the front of all centipedes do tend to be full of the rough stuff… though there is only one way to find out!


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