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Vietnamese Centipede
(Scolopendra subspinipes)
by Jon Fouskaris
*Information provided by Frank Somma

Vietnamese Centipede
Specimen provided by Jon Fouskaris.
Photo taken by Jon Fouskaris.

       The Vietnamese Centipede is a large, aggressive, and medically significant centipede that is not restricted to the country of Vietnam, as its' name might suggest. In actuality, the Vietnamese Centipede is found throughout the worlds' tropical and subtropical regions, especially in Southeast Asia. There are many species being imported out of Southeast Asia, and much confusion still exists with regards to centipede taxonomy. Besides the different species found throughout Southeast Asia, there are color variations, and there's a moot claim of five subspecies of the Vietnamese Centipede! As you can start to see, centipede taxonomy is not easy. The Vietnamese Centipede is one of the less expensive centipede species in the hobby, and although it has a bad bite, it is a common first centipede in collections. This is probably because the Vietnamese Centipede is impressive, easy to obtain, and most centipedes have a bad bite anyway, so if one is planning on keeping centipedes, any one species seems as good as the other. The Vietnamese Centipede is the only species that has a human death attributed to it. The only reported fatal case was in the Philippines; the centipede bit a seven-year old girl on her head, and she lived for another 29 hours. Even though death from a bite of the Vietnamese Centipede is almost unheard of, the venom is said to cause extreme pain, therefore you want to exercise care with this centipede. Overall, the Vietnamese Centipede is a species that you won't get bored of.
Range Throughout the worlds' tropical and subtropical regions, especially Southeast Asia.
Type Terrestrial, but will burrow to some extent.
Diet Babies will eat pinhead crickets, or other small insects. Adults will consume almost any creature that is not larger that itself, including large crickets, cockroaches, flying insects, and even fuzzy mice.
Full Grown Size 7 to 8 inches.
Growth Fast speed.
Temperature 75 to 85 F.
Humidity 75 to 80%.
Temperament Aggressive and active.
Housing Babies can live in a roomy clear plastic container with air holes. Adults can live in a 5 to 10-gallon tank. The tank should be twice as long, and at least as wide as the individual. Floor space is as important as height. In this case, the height is not important for climbing, just to prevent escapes by the centipede running up the side of the tank.
Substrate 3 to 4 inches of peat moss, or potting soil.
Decor No decorations are really needed, but you can add leaf cover, or cork bark.
Other Names Vietnam Centipede, Vietnam Giant Centipede, Giant Vietnam Centipede, Vietnamese Giant Centipede, Giant Vietnamese Centipede, Southeast Asian Centipede, Southeast Asia Giant Centipede, and Giant Southeast Asian Centipede.

*Please note that ALL centipedes have a certain amount of venom. Although most people would not die from this species, some people may be allergic to the venom, or just more sensitive, making it a dangerous situation. This is one of the reasons that people should not handle this centipede. Affects of this centipedes' natural defenses may vary between people. All centipedes should be considered dangerous, so be careful, because you don't want to find out if you are allergic or more sensitive the HARD WAY!

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