Reddit user DamnColorblindness posted a picture titled “This was waiting for me by the front door this morning“.
I thought maybe the photo was in some tropical foreign country, but this centipede is located in Austin, TX. These are called Texas giant centipedes or Scolopendra heros. Though these can be found in New Mexico, I have never heard of a centipede this big in the Albuquerque area.
Reddit user Jozer99 says centipedes hate you.
Careful with centipedes. I did some graduate research on these little beasts, and came away with new-found fear and loathing.
Snakes only bite you if they feel threatened by you. Sharks want to eat seals, don’t look like a seal and you are A-OK. Tarantulas are more afraid of you then you are of them. Bees are just defending their nest from perceived threats.
On the other hand, centipedes hate you. Not just humans, you in particular. Centipedes are remarkable in that they have a special individual loathing for every creature on the planet, as well as many inanimate objects. If a centipede can sense your presence, it wants to do nothing more than to fuck you up. You don’t have to poke it with a stick, or step to near its nest, you just have to be somewhere nearby, and a centipede is more than happy to kamikaze you. It doesn’t help that many centipedes have poisonous front legs that have evolved into giant needle like pincers, and despite having several dozen legs, many larger centipedes are capable of moving at close to 10 miles per hour. They are also armor plated and are nearly impossible to squash. Centipedes spend their lives wandering around and picking fights with whatever creatures they happen to meet, be they insects, spiders, birds or even small mammals. They usually win, munch on their victims a bit, then move on to the next helpless victim.
Stay the fuck away from centipedes.
While common in Austin, they have painful but not deadly venom. I will take the occasional scorpion over one of these.
On Flickr, I posted a video of a centipede I found while walking on the sidewalk at work in Rio Rancho, NM. It’s 1/1000 the side of the one pictured in Austin.