Keeping your pet centipede happy and healthy
Centipedes from Asia and South America can be kept successfully on a mixture of topsoil and sand. The depth of substrate should be as deep as the individual centipede is long, IE. if the centipede is 5 inches long then the substrate should also be 5 inches, a 10 inch individual kept on 10 inches of substrate and so forth. This applies to all species. This allows your centipede to dig down, hide and exhibit natural behaviour in a captive setting. Avoid keeping your centipede on coir as this can cause impaction to the centipede during feeding and eating.
Many centipedes do well with a temperature of 24 - 28C as this allows them to choose their comfort zone. Centipedes will also burrow to not only hide but also to keep cool. You can heat your enclosure by using a heat mat (connected to thermostat for safety), this should be placed on the top of the side or the back of then enclosure, NEVER underneath as the centipede will want to burrow down and it will become stressed if its not able to do so because of the heat.
Not all centipedes are kept at the same temperatures so please make sure that you check the temperature requirements for individual species. These can be found on each available species on the website.
Humidity will play a big part in the centipedes enclosure as this will help them when they are moulting to loosen their exoskeleton. Species from tropical climates should have 70-80% levels, you can use sphagnum moss to help retain humidity as well as spraying as needed. Species from drier regions such Texas Arizona US will need it drier and can be kept at room humidity level without no additional misting needed. This will reduce the chance of Mycosis, a fungal infection that can be deadly to centipedes. Once again check humidity requirements per species on the website and make sure that any and all centipede enclosures have good ventilation.
It is vital to make sure your centipede is kept safe and secure in a enclosure that's escape proof. Centipedes can squeeze through small gaps, holes and can even chew through enclosures that are designed to keep other inverts in, please feel free to ask for more guidance should you need it.
Your enclosure minimum size should ideally be as wide as the centipedes length, twice the length and twice the height of the individual you plan to keep so that when substrate is added you still have plenty of room for your centipede to move and explore and to give you safe distance when feeding and maintaining the enclosure. You can add a small water dish, cork for hides and leaf litter to give it that natural look.
Depending on the size of the individual you are keeping will determine the size of the food you offer. Centipedes are apex predators and can take down large prey. In the wild they will feed on a variety of crickets, locusts, rodents, snakes, spiders, and scorpions.
In captivity centipedes are fed on crickets, locusts, meal worms, morio worms and occasionally defrosted mice. Make sure all uneaten food is removed within twelve hours, this will reduce any bad bacteria building up in the enclosure.
Small individuals can be fed appropriate size food one or two times a week. The centipede may refuse food for many reasons, it may be getting ready to moult, it may be gravid or it may simply be not hungry. Whatever the reason, remove the uneaten food and try again next week.
We don't recommend handling your centipede, species from Asia have much more potent venom than centipedes from United States and South America, bites from centipedes are very painful and can result in needing hospitalisation. If you need to move your centipede, use a pair of tongs that are twice the length of the centipede, thus giving you ample distance between the centipede and your hand.