Are Millipedes And Centipedes Poisonous?

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Have you come across Millipedes and Centipedes and wondered – Are Millipedes and Centipedes poisonous? But before you know about that, it is necessary to learn what exactly Centipedes and Millipedes are?

Centipedes and millipedes are both arthropods, meaning that they have an exoskeleton and jointed appendages. They are often mistaken for one another because of their similar names and appearances.

However, there is a key distinction between the two: millipedes always have two pairs of legs per segment, while centipedes only have one pair.

Now let us learn in detail about Millipedes and Centipedes and if they are poisonous.

What are Millipedes?

Millipedes are a type of arthropod that has two pairs of legs per segment. They are some of the oldest creatures to walk on land and can be found in a variety of environments all over the world.

While most millipedes are harmless, there are a few species that can inflict a painful bite.

Millipedes have an even number of legs—typically between 20 and 400 pairs. Millipedes often curl into a ball when threatened.

What are Centipedes?

Indian Gaint centipede, Scolopendra hardwickei, Satara, Maharahtra, India

Centipedes are elongated, worm-like creatures that have a lot of legs (usually around 15 pairs). They can be easily spotted due to their unique appearance. Although they may look dangerous, centipedes are generally harmless to humans.

Centipedes dart away quickly. Centipedes are generally considered to be more harmful to humans than millipedes because they can inject venom with their bite.

Are Millipedes and Centipedes Poisonous?

In order to anticipate exactly how dangerous can these two pests be for humans, it is necessary to understand if they are poisonous.

Are Millipedes poisonous?

Millipedes are a type of invertebrate that can be found all over the world. These are small, elongated creatures that can have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand legs.

They are generally not dangerous but can produce mild toxins meant to deter predators. These toxins can cause skin irritation and other minor symptoms in humans.

Millipedes are not poisonous, but they can release harmful chemicals if they are crushed. This chemical, called benzoquinone, can cause Millipede Burn, a skin condition.

While they may look harmless, they can secrete a toxin that can cause skin irritation and blistering. In some cases, the toxin can also be dangerous to children and pets.

Are Centipedes Poisonous?

are millipedes and centipedes poisonous

Centipedes are a type of invertebrate that has a long, segmented body with one pair of legs per segment. They can be found all over the world and vary in color and size.

They are venomous creatures that can inflict a painful bite. While not all centipedes have venom, the ones that do can cause serious harm. It is important to be aware of their dangers and take steps to avoid them.

Centipedes are not generally considered a serious threat to human health, but they should be treated as such if bitten. While most centipede bites will only cause minor irritation or discomfort, there are a few species that can deliver a venomous bite.

If you have been bitten by a centipede, it is important to clean the wound and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

Are Millipedes Dangerous?

There are over 12,000 species of millipedes in the world, and while they may look dangerous, most of them are harmless to humans. There are, however, a few species that can cause harm if they bite or sting.

Millipede bite symptoms include swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the bite. In some cases, millipede bites can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by a millipede, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

While millipedes are not typically aggressive creatures, there is always a risk of being bitten or stung if you handle them carelessly. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid handling millipedes altogether.

Do Millipedes And Centipedes Bite?

Group of Millipedes on wet soil

Millipedes and centipedes are not poisonous, and they do not commonly bite people. However, if they are provoked or feel threatened, they may bite. Bites from millipedes and centipedes are generally harmless, but they can cause a bit of discomfort.

The Florida Blue Centipede is an exception to this, as it can and will bite if provoked.

Do Millipedes And Centipedes live in the House?

Millipedes and centipedes are not poisonous and do not live in homes. They prefer to live outside but can enter if the environment is wet or flooded.

These creatures generally do not require high levels of moisture to survive, so heavy rains can flood them out and cause them to enter homes seeking higher ground.

Millipedes and centipedes are beneficial in the garden as they feed on decaying plant matter, but homeowners may want to remove them if they become a nuisance.

Are Millipedes and Centipedes dangerous to Dogs and Cats?


Millipedes and centipedes are essentially harmless to pets. While they may cause a pet some discomfort if ingested, they will not poison or otherwise harm them.

However, if your pet eats one if it encounters one, it could potentially cause problems for your pet, so it is best to be aware of the risks and take precautions.

If a millipede or centipede is ingested by a pet, it’s important to seek veterinary help immediately. Millipedes and centipedes can cause respiratory problems and swell in the mouth if ingested.

Tips on how to get rid of Millipedes and Centipedes in Florida.

Millipedes and centipedes tend to thrive in moist environments. They can often be found near sources of water, such as ponds, rivers, and lakes.

If the area you reside in has a lot of moisture, you may find that you have a higher than average population of millipedes or centipedes.

Millipedes prefer moist environments such as under mulch, leaves, or logs. Centipedes are more likely to be found in areas that are drier with less vegetation.

Unfortunately for homeowners, the condition around a home that allows millipedes to thrive is also going to be conducive for other insects, many of which will provide a food source for centipedes.

There are certain things you can undertake in order to reduce the number of these pests in your home or yard.

To get rid of millipedes and centipedes in Florida, homeowners should keep their yards free of dry plant material. They can do this by controlling their sprinkler systems so that the water does not reach these areas.

In addition, millipedes become an increasingly common problem during South Florida’s rainy summer months. This is because the flooding of mulch beds can flush out the bugs that live there.

Whereas millipedes are slow-moving, centipedes are fast and can be quite agile. Centipedes also have a very different body shape than millipedes.

Centipedes are generally smaller than millipedes, and they’re carnivorous – meaning they feed on other insects. Unlike millipedes, centipede populations inside homes are not as common.

Insect control measures that homeowners can take on their own are the same for millipedes and centipedes. Homeowners should seal off any openings to the home, keep the property clean, and reduce moisture levels as much as possible.

Furthermore, Homeowners should sweep and vacuum regularly, keep mulch and leaf litter to a minimum, and fix any leaks in the home. If the infestation persists, it is best to call a professional pest controller.


Millipedes and centipedes are usually harmless, but centipedes can deliver a painful bite when provoked. Centipede bites can affect humans or pets and may cause intense pain. They are not usually dangerous but can cause more severe reactions in people and animals with allergies.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.