Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Okay, this is a preemptive warning to all those that are a teeny bit freaked out by bugs.  The bug below is the King of creepy.  The Sultan of goosebumps.  The Grand Poobah of nightmares.  The CEO of scream out loud. get the picture. 

His black, segmented body can reach 8 inches long. He has been  found in Arkansas, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and far northern Mexico. He has 21 pairs of legs.  The final two at the back of his body, while fearsome looking, are not "teeth" as some would believe. His yellow antennae are in constant movement looking for prey.  

Yes, they are predators.  They eat things like crickets and scorpions and roaches, but I still don't want one in or near the house.  They deliver a most painful bite and venom to go with it.  They won't kill you, but just the thought of it make me wish for a snake bite instead.

So, why is this post entitled, "Bubbles".  Let me tell you!  One morning I was making my coffee and my daughter, Pearl, came down with one of these monsters in one of those disposable food containers.  Mind you, it was only 2 inches long, but still!  "I named him Bubbles, because I found him the bathtub last night when I was getting ready for bed." "He was a little afraid at first, so it took me a while to catch him." "Why didn't you just squish him--scorpions and centipedes don't get rescued, they get squished.  That's the rule!" "Because." "Hey, do you think he would eat a grasshopper if I caught one?" "You are not keeping that thing as a pet!" (as she walks out to catch a grasshopper)

It was so much like a sound effect from a horror movie when he ate the poor grasshopper! Crunch, crunch, crunch.  Lucky for me, Mr. Red Headed Centipede ate only one hopper and then went on a hunger strike to protest his captivity.  Two days later, my kind hearted daughter let him go----a long way from the house.
"Mom, how do you suppose it got in the house?  Since it's a baby, do you think there are more?"
Thanks Pearl, thanks a lot.  I didn't even think of that.

Here's your warning.  The picture is not one I took.  We tried to get pictures of Mr. Red Headed Centipede, but he wouldn't sit still.  Maybe he was on the lamb from the law or something?

Scolopendra heros adultfemale with eggs


  1. As awesome as that guy looks..I really dont think I would want him in my house...or in my tub....

  2. Actually that made the hair on my neck stand up. I don't like those creepy things. But his colors are kind of long as he stays at your house.

  3. Hey CeeCee,
    Are their different types of centipedes in our part of the country?
    I ask because we have them in our house occasionally (running dow the hallway at night, or inside our bathroom under-the-sink cabinets), but ours don't have the brilliantly colored red heads.

    We have to be very careful if we are walking at night. I try to remember to wear slippers or flip flops, because they seem to be more active at night.

    Last week I discovered our manx cat, Javalina attacking and finally killing one in our hallway.
    It was about 6" long, CeeCee!

    You can bet I stood there and cheered on our little hunter. She rarely ever lets any crawling or flying insects escape her wrath, but she usually leaves the bodies behund for us to clean up (unless it's a moth, she loves to eat the moths).

    When we lived on the other side of the mountains, on the mesa west of ABQ, we sometimes found scorpions on our floors, especially the baseboards. It's such a terror stepping out of the shower only to find a scorpion crouched, with tail raised, just below where your foot was supposed to land!

    Laughing Orca Ranch
    New Mexico

  4. I normally don't get creeped out by bugs but any sort of leggy, squiggly thing like that is just awful. Oh and grasshoppers with their clingy legs and tobaccy juice, yuck.

  5. He is colorful and amazing,I know this sounds grim but I read this morning on Fox News about a Canadian woman traveling in Peru last year who stepped on five caterpillars and died from organ failure. I think I might stay away from all creep crawly s....

  6. He is colorful and amazing,I know this sounds grim but I read this morning on Fox News about a Canadian woman traveling in Peru last year who stepped on five caterpillars and died from organ failure. I think I might stay away from all creep crawly s....

  7. Hey LIlly, thanks for stopping by! I think your beautiful country has the most number of deadly critters on the planet.

    Lisa, the grown-ups wear shoes at our house, too. The kids don't. They are invincible after all. Centipedes and scorpions are the main reason for wearing shoes. Plus, you're already armed to squish them when you see them!

    Vonda and FM--I'm with you---things that bite had better stay outside or they risk "The Shoe".

    SC, I must be just like you. I know that grasshoppers, june bugs and crickets are perfectly harmless, but they seem to 'hang on' when they get on you. Gives me chills just writing about it. Tarantulas and snakes, bring 'em on!

  8. WELL! That's a very colorful critter, but I think I'm just as glad to admire it from afar. I've never seen anything like that in our neck of the woods and hope I never do. Just too many wiggly legs for my peace of mind. nope, I don't want to see one on the floor, I don't want to see one near the door. They can stay far out west, that's fine, just don't want them in stuff that's mine.
    p.s. you can keep the scorpions too.