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Are Centipedes Poisonous or Dangerous?

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Centipedes can be quite scary in appearance—slender bodies with many legs—but are centipedes dangerous? They are the epitome of creepy reptiles. Their eerie appearance fits well with their ferocity as arthropods. They are carnivorous and contain a venom that effectively stings and kills their prey. Although venomous, centipedes are not dangerous to humans. They are also non-aggressive and will not attack. However, when provoked or threatened, centipedes will bite in self-defense. This should not be a cause for concern, as centipede bites can be painful, but are usually not fatal. However, some people may have an allergic reaction to centipede venom.

centipede bite

Centipede is poisonous or dangerous tiger centipede
The centipede stings and kills its prey with its venom.


Centipedes do not attack humans. However, if you accidentally swerve or come into contact with them, they may panic and bite in self-defense. Centipede bites can be very painful and can damage skin tissue, especially if the centipede is large enough. The bigger the centipede, the more impact it can have through its bite. Although centipedes use their venom to sting and kill their prey, such as insects and worms, their venom has no health complications in humans.

One of the main reasons many people avoid eating centipedes is because their bites are extremely painful. While their bites are usually not fatal or dangerous, they can still cause great pain, swelling, and stinging that can last up to 48 hours.

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All centipedes bite humans and other animals, but some larger species can have more devastating effects in terms of bites and allergic reactions. The pincers of the smaller species of centipede are smaller and weaker, not sharp and strong enough to cut through human skin.

Are Centipedes Dangerous to Humans?

Centipede Bite - Irritation Caused by Centipede Bite
While centipedes are not dangerous to humans, their bites can cause skin irritation.

© popular business/Shutterstock.com

Despite their frightening appearance, centipedes are not dangerous to humans. However, their bite usually causes redness, swelling and pain around the bite site. Certain species of centipede have stronger toxins in their venom that can cause allergic reactions.

Centipedes don't have teeth, so they pierce human skin with two clawed, pincer-like forelimbs near the head. These pincers release a venom that they use to kill their prey. The venom is not that dangerous to humans, but some centipedes contain venom that produces toxic chemicals such as serotonin, histamine, and cardiodepressant toxin-S. Like bee stings, these toxins can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Centipede bites are easy to identify because of the distinctive double puncture marks on the skin. The area of the puncture mark is usually red and swollen and can be very painful. The centipede injects venom through its pincers, and the amount of venom injected determines the pain of the victim. Smaller centipedes produce less venom in their bites, while larger centipedes produce more venom, which causes their sting to be more painful.

Once bitten, the bitten area will be red and swollen, accompanied by severe pain. This can last from hours to days. However, some people may have an allergic reaction to centipede venom. Signs of an allergic reaction to a centipede bite include chills, itching, nausea, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, extreme swelling at the bite site, and palpitations. Once a fever rises to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should seek immediate medical attention.

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There was one incident of anaphylaxis caused by a centipede bite. Anaphylaxis is a strong negative reaction to a venom, drug, or food. Although this happens rarely, people still need to seek medical attention if they develop allergy symptoms.

Are centipedes poisonous?

Centipede Poisonous or Dangerous - House Centipede
Centipede venom is only fatal to insects and small animals.

© zaidi razak/Shutterstock.com

Centipedes have venom that is only fatal to small animals such as insects and rodents. Centipedes are not poisonous to humans, but their bites can still leave painful injuries. One study found that centipedes can use their venom to kill a medium-sized mouse in 30 seconds, suggesting that centipedes affect mammals based on their size.

After being bitten by a centipede, the first thing you need to do is wash the wound with warm soapy water. You can also apply a cold compress to the bite area to reduce stinging and swelling. Sometimes centipede bites are so severe that a narcotic is needed to relieve the pain. Some people also get a tetanus shot to prevent venom infection.

Are Centipedes Dangerous to Dogs?

Most centipedes are not poisonous or dangerous to dogs, but some very large wild species can cause severe pain and severe reactions in dogs. Some centipedes with stronger venom can be deadly to dogs and even cats. Your dog or cat may develop lumps or hives from stings, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, restlessness, and significant pain and discomfort. When this happens, the best thing to do is take them to the vet. However, as far as typical domestic centipedes are concerned, they won't cause such severe pain to your dog because their venom isn't strong enough to harm these mammals.

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How to Avoid Centipede Bites

Centipedes will usually run away when you try to approach or approach them. The best way to avoid their bites is not to touch or pick them up. Make sure to keep your kids away from them too, as they will bite when they feel cornered. To help prevent centipede bites, you should start limiting centipede exposure in your home by reducing the number of insects in your home. Centipedes feed on small insects, so the more insects you have in your home, the more you will attract centipedes. Make sure to dry the area around the house as well. Centipedes love dark, damp places, so they often roost in floor drains, basements, and gardens.


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about the author

Victor Victor

For six years, I have been a professional writer and editor of books, blogs and websites, with a particular focus on animals, technology and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with my friends.

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