Which Centipedes Are Poisonous?

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Are centipedes poisonous insects? And if they are, which centipedes are poisonous? Well, to answer your question right off the bat, centipedes may not be poisonous per se. But they can be venomous. The fact is that these bugs bite and inject venom into your body.

Keep reading to understand all about how dangerous centipedes are and learn about various other aspects of a centipede!

What are centipedes, and what do they look like?

Which centipedes are poisonous?

Centipedes are elongated arthropods that can be found all over the world. They have a long, flat body with many legs that allow them to move quickly. They come in a variety of colors, including yellow, green, and brown.

These insects get their name from the Latin word centum, which means 100, because it was once believed that they had 100 legs.

This is not always the case, as some species have far fewer legs, but they are still generally characterized by their long, segmented bodies. In fact, centipedes can have any number of legs between 20 and 354 legs!

Are centipedes poisonous or venomous?

Centipedes are not poisonous to humans but are venomous. In fact, they are beneficial because they help to control the population of other pests. However, there are consequences for being bitten by a centipede because of its venomous characteristic.

Centipedes have venom that can cause pain and allergic reactions in some people. The venom is delivered through the centipede’s bite, and it can be quite painful.

Some people may also experience nausea and vomiting after being bitten by a centipede. I have discussed the symptoms of a centipede bite in the later sections.

Further, some centipede species are equipped with sharp legs which can break through the skin. Therefore, there is a chance, although a small one, that you could get poisoned by the poisonous substance that they have at the bottom of their legs.

But, to reiterate, centipedes are better classified as venomous rather than poisonous!

Should you be worried about centipedes attacking you?

While there are a few species of centipede that can inflict a painful bite, most centipedes are not aggressive and will only attack if they feel threatened.

In fact, the vast majority of centipede bites occur when people try to handle or kill the centipede. So, generally speaking, you don’t need to worry about being attacked by a centipede.

However, even though centipede bites can be painful, they are rarely life-threatening.

Further, centipedes are typically found outdoors in moist environments like under rocks, logs, and other debris. They can also be found in gardens and fields. Therefore, usually, you will only have to worry about facing the occasional house centipedes at home.

From personal experience, I will say that if you are a frequent hiker or a trekking enthusiast, make sure you wear clothes that cover your legs entirely. It is not a pretty experience to get bitten by a centipede while you’re on your weekly nature trail.

That said, centipedes can’t generally break or bite through fabric or shoes. So, as long as you’re dressed properly, you still don’t need to worry about centipedes attacking you unless you provoke it.

Which centipedes are poisonous or dangerous?

There are various different types of centipedes, but not all of them are poisonous. However, all centipedes should be avoided because they can deliver a painful bite. The venomous centipedes are the most dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

There are three dangerous centipede species in North America: the North American centipede, the Sonoran desert centipede, and the Cryptopid centipede.

All of these species can inflict a painful bite, and their venom can cause serious health problems. The largest centipedes can deliver a painful bite if you’re unlucky enough to be bitten by them.

How do centipedes bite or sting?

Centipedes use their legs located on their first body segment to puncture the skin of their prey or attacker. They have venom glands that release toxins into the wound, which can cause pain, inflammation, and even death.

Centipedes can bite if you mishandle them or if you accidentally step on one. They will usually try to escape if they feel threatened, but they may also bite as a form of defense.

How do centipedes target their prey?

Centipedes use their long antennae to hunt

Centipedes rely on their antennae to find prey. They have poor vision but are able to use their antennae to determine the size, shape, and movement of potential prey. Once they have found their prey, they will use their venomous fangs to kill it.

Centipedes use venom to immobilize their prey before they eat it. The venom is delivered by a pair of claws located on the centipede’s first body segment. They have a quick speed, which they use to capture and bite their prey.

The venom paralyzes the prey, making it an easy meal for the centipede. Once it has injected the venom, the centipede begins to eat its prey alive.

What does a centipede bite look like?

Centipede bites are identified by two puncture marks where they inject their venom into the skin. The venom can cause a variety of reactions, depending on the person’s sensitivity. Some common symptoms include swelling, pain, redness, and itchiness around the bite site.

What are the typical symptoms of a centipede bite?

Centipedes can bite.

When bitten by a centipede, you may feel pain at the site of the bite. The magnitude of pain that you will feel as a result is generally dependent on how much venom the centipede has chosen to inject into you.

It is worth remembering that centipedes can inflict a fairly painful bite, and the symptoms may develop soon after the bite occurs. The bitten person may experience pain, redness, itchiness, and swelling at the site of the bite.

There is also a risk of developing an infection from the wound. You could also experience other symptoms, and their presence might just mean you’re having a severe allergic reaction to the centipede’s venom!

There is also a risk of developing an infection from the wound. If you feel like your reaction to a centipede bite is very severe, visit your doctor. The doctor may need to treat your symptoms with proper medications.

How should you deal with centipede bites at your house?

Centipede bites can look very similar to other insect bites. Therefore, it is crucial to correctly identify the culprit before taking any action. If you are unsure if you have been bitten by a centipede, seek medical attention.

Centipede venom can cause a variety of reactions, from mild irritation and swelling to more serious issues such as seizures or anaphylaxis due to an allergic reaction to the bite.

But, generally speaking, if there are no complications, centipede bite treatments focus on symptom relief. This may include using hot water compresses or ice packs and medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Soaking the wound in hot water is particularly helpful since the water gradually dilutes the venom and eases pain.

Centipede bites are not always dangerous, but they can be if you’re not careful. In order to avoid infection, it’s important to use a topical antibiotic and keep the site clean and covered.

How can a centipede bite create complications for you?

Centipede bites can cause a variety of complications, including infection and tissue damage. Infection may occur if the bite becomes infected or if bacteria enters the wound. Tissue damage can occur from the venom in the centipede’s bite, which may cause swelling, pain, and blistering at the site of the bite.

In addition, allergic reactions may occur after a centipede bite. If you have swelling of the lips, throat, mouth, or tongue, it is important to call your local emergency services or have someone take you to an emergency room immediately.

What do centipedes eat?

Centipedes are predatory arthropods that feed on a variety of small prey, including insects, spiders, and other centipedes. They are considered carnivores, and most species eat meat or blood as their primary source of nutrients.

Centipedes usually eat a variety of small creatures, such as insects, spiders, moths, roaches, crickets, earthworms, and even other centipedes. Some centipedes have been known to feed on decaying matter, which can give them access to fluids such as plant sap or animal blood.

How are centipedes different from millipedes?

Centipedes and millipedes are two different types of invertebrates. Centipedes are elongated with one pair of legs per segment, while millipedes have many pairs of legs per segment.

Centipedes are typically predators, while millipedes are more herbivorous. Millipedes can also secrete a sticky substance to defend themselves from predators.

Millipedes also have antennae that are very short, and they use them to avoid becoming prey. Centipedes are predators, and their long antennae help them find prey even in the dark.

Why do you have a centipede problem in your home?


House centipedes are common in homes throughout North America because they love moist, dark areas. They come into homes through cracks and crevices in the foundation and walls. Once they’re inside, they can be difficult to get rid of because they reproduce quickly and can live for up to a year without food.

Centipedes are generally not welcome in human dwellings because they are attracted to the same pests that we are – like cockroaches, spiders, and other small insects. Once centipedes invade your home in large numbers, it can be difficult to get rid of them.

Centipedes like warm environments, so they may be drawn to your bed if it’s too hot. Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature, and consider using a centipede trap to get rid of them.

How can you get rid of centipedes from your house?

Here are some of the simplest ways you can implement in order to get rid of centipedes from your house.

Catch them yourself

The most minimalistic manner to get rid of a centipede is to capture the insect in a jar of sorts by yourself and then throw it out of your house! The fact is that centipedes don’t particularly infest places in swarms. Therefore, if you can catch the few centipedes that have entered your home, you should be good to go!

Trap them

You can simply opt for a sticky pad to trap centipedes. If you can place it in the right locations and at the right time, the centipede’s speed won’t be a particularly useful asset against the adhesiveness of the sticky pad. Once you’ve trapped the bug on the sticky surface, dispose of it safely!

Use pesticides

You could choose to have your home treated with pesticide chemicals to kill centipedes and ensure that they never come back! There are multiple sprays and powders in the market that work very effectively against pests!

Get rid of cracks, moisture, and other areas where centipedes feel at home.

If you get rid of all of its habitats in and around your house, you can be almost sure that the bugs are gradually going to vanish from your property. The logic is that once you take away its habitat, it wouldn’t want to live in that location at all!

Should you be killing house centipedes?

While you can kill a house centipede, you may not necessarily have to. For starters, these insects work as a natural form of pest control. Therefore, if they are there, you might just have bigger pest problems. Further, you can simply get rid of them by manually putting them outside your house!


Now, you know that centipedes are generally venomous and not poisonous. In fact, their venom can also cause some reactions when injected into the human body, some of which are extremely severe.

In general, try to avoid centipedes altogether. But if you do come into contact with one, simply leave it alone or be extremely careful in approaching it!

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.