Other common names: Vietnamese Orange Leg Centipede; Vietnamese Giant Centipede; Vietnam Centipede
Scientific name: Scolopendra subspinipes
This centipede is commonly found throughout the tropical regions of the world especially southeast Asia, not just Vietnam as it‘s common name may suggest. They usually use leaf litter, logs, rocks, and other natural items as hiding areas.
Appearance / health:
This is a very long slender centipede reaching up to 8 inches in length. They have 21 body segments, with each segment having a pair of legs. It’s usually dark red or brown in color with an orange head and legs, but depending on where it’s found, color will have variations. There are also 4 other subspecies of S. subspinipes that all have their own color variations.
Behavior / temperament:
The Vietnamese Centipede is a very aggressive and very fast centipede. They have a very nasty bite known to be very painful. In some people it may even be medically significant. There has been a case where a child was bitten and died hours later. This is the only centipede with a fatal incident related to it. Because of their skittish, fast, and aggressive nature, they are not recommended for beginners.
Adults should be housed separately in a 5-10 gallon tank. Height is not important, just make sure the centipede can not crawl up and out of the enclosure. Babies can live in Tupperware containers or other plastic enclosures until ready for the adult enclosure.
Temperature should be kept between 75-85F with humidity levels between 75-80%. Substrate should be deep enough to allow burrowing; around 3-5 inches deep and a mixture of sand and peat, vermiculite, or potting soil. It should be kept damp to help keep humidity up. Tank décor is not necessary, but can be added if desired. Cork bark, branches, wood, logs, and other items may be used.
Adult centipedes will readily consume anything they can over-power. Offer crickets, cockroaches, and other large insects. Adults may also have a very occasional pinkie mouse. Babies will take pin head crickets, mini meal worms, baby cockroaches, and other small insects.
educational thing, beautiful appearance, amazing display bug, large size
stung, handling, centipede venom, pain, escape artists, nasty temper
substrate, soil mix, crickets, hiding place, molt
Beautiful to look at but angry
I would not recommend any centipede as a first invertebrate. Although beautiful to look this particular Vietnamese Centipede was incredibly defensive, fast and agile. Keeping the vivarium at the right humidity and temperature isn’t a problem if you invest in the proper equipment (and experience with other animals that need them). The speed and aggressiveness of the species made cleaning its tank incredibly difficult.
I purchased this particular centipede from somewhere that claimed it was a captive breed pet, however its temperament, missing legs and the fact it arrived gravid (pregnant) would suggest otherwise. She didn’t have any problems eating and was very active most of the time.
I would recommend this sub-species for an experienced animal keeper who likes a challenge..
From Bethan287 Jan 14 2015 9:41AM
Centipede as a pet
like any other invertebrate,centipedes are relatively easy to keep, and require only a terrarium with substrate (i use moss) and water. They don't really seem to want any decorations but a hiding place, and often dig these themselves. They dislike handling, and of course, will bite/sting if improperly handled. Take it from my own experience, centipede venom hurts very, very badly. It was unlike any pain I've ever felt before. So, no children should touch the little buggers. They grow to about seven inches, and prefer live prey to dead. They like to hunt crickets. They are easily visible in enclosures, neat to look at, and incredibly active, so they do make great display bugs. *Note: my rating may be prejudiced based on the amount of times I've been stung by my own pet*.
From robinsonh18 Aug 13 2012 10:21PM