Puerto Rican Giant Centipede
(Scolopendra sp. - possibly the true gigantea)
by Jon Fouskaris
*Information provided by Frank Somma
||Although Scolopendra gigantea was described back in 1758, today there is much confusion between South American centipede species. The aforementioned species was noted to be the largest species of centipede on the planet, although people have doubts on even that! Since the record-holders of the centipede world are in need of thorough investigation, the next statement may one day prove to be false. The relatively new-to-the-hobby Puerto Rican Giant Centipede is most likely the true Scolopendra gigantea! Currently, Puerto Rican Giant Centipedes are rather hard-to-find and expensive in the hobby. With a bit of luck though, breeders may produce a more steady captive population. These huge, fast centipedes are definitely not for starters. They remain hidden under the substrate as long as they come out, so viewing them is hit or miss. As well as being somewhat secretive, Puerto Rican Giant Centipedes are generally jumpy and definitely aggressive! Their size is formidable, and their venom is probably medically significant. Nonetheless, the Puerto Rican Giant Centipede does have its' own special advantages. Its' coloration is as beautiful as a Puerto Rican sunset, its' menacing size can give a corrections officer the goosebumps, and its' exoskeleton is glossy enough to be used as a mirror! All in all, the Puerto Rican Giant Centipede is a unique and uncommon centipede species that should be cared for with respect and consideration.|
|Range||Forests of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad, Venezuela, Columbia, equatorial Brazil, and northern Chile.|
|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, small mice, and even fuzzy rats.|
|Full Grown Size||9.5 to 12 inches.|
|Temperature||75 to 80° F.|
|Temperament||Aggressive and nervous.|
|Housing||Babies can live in a roomy clear plastic container with air holes. Adults can live in a 10 to 15-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 5 inches of peat moss, or potting soil.|
|Decor||No decorations are really needed.|
|Other Names||South American Giant 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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