Meet one of the oldest animals to inhabit the earth 

Yes! It’s the European House Centipede. Fossils have been found dating back more than 400 million year so it can definitely claim to be one of the oldest animals on earth!  Lizzie found it wandering around Jumble House and thought you would like to see it before we set it free again. 

What kind of an animal is it? Well it’s not an insect because it has more than six legs and it’s even got more than a spider!  A centipede belongs to a group of animals called Arthropoda. Crabs and lobsters also belong to this group. 

It’s also one of the fastest running like grease lightening at a speed of 40 miles an hour so it would be breaking the speed limit in all the built up areas of the U.K. or Europe!

100 legs? No!  Although the name suggests that they have 100 legs they just look like they have.  Most European centipedes have about fifteen pairs of legs. The legs are very thin and nearly as long as it’s body.  Centipedes can live for several years and they can regrow their legs which often get chopped off when a bird tries to catch them! They live in dark damp places like under rocks and wood and prefer to hunt at night. 

Are they dangerous?  No.  Just scarey because they are so wiggly and move so quickly.   They have poisonous front claws but these are too small to bite through our skin.  In the desert there are giant centipedes which can bite humans and this is a bit like being stung by a bee.  They use their claws to catch food for their dinner. They are carnivores (meat eaters) and eat insects and other bugs like worms and they may even eat their friends!  The larger ones can eat frogs and birds! 

But, despite their choice of food, Centipedes can be good mothers and some carry their eggs around until they hatch. 

For more on centipedes and to have a closer look at the one Lizzie Witch found at Jumble House, click on the link below: 

The European House Centipede

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