What Do Centipedes Eat?

Centipedes are predatory insects of the class Chilopoda and are usually found in moist damp places. They are of the same arthropod group as Millipedes and other multi-legged beings. Because centipedes are nocturnal, they are hardly seen during the day. These insects have poor vision but it does not affect how they scavenge for food. Centipedes are brown or reddish and have elongated bodies with two legs on each body segment. These insects are quite selective with what they eat. So what do centipedes eat? 

Centipedes are carnivores which means they feed on meat and animal tissue, both dead and alive, for energy and sustenance. These venomous predators eat other small insects like spiders, earthworms, and on some occasions, other centipedes. With a wide geographical habitat, centipedes can be found anywhere in the world even beyond the Arctic Circle. Other places include deserts and tropical rainforests. 

Giant centipede Scolopendra subspinipes isolated on white background. Giant centipede Scolopendra subspinipes isolated on white background. centipeded stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

What do different species of centipedes eat?

Several species of centipedes though feed on meat, have certain foods that are peculiar to their species. In the world, there are about 8000 species of centipedes and they are all scavengers, hunting on their prey with their venomous bite. Some centipede species are house centipedes, soil centipedes, feather-tall centipedes, stone centipedes, and aquatic centipedes to mention a few. We will discuss the food preference of some of these species. 

What house centipedes feed on

When house centipedes invade your home, they prey mostly on other household pests. Just about anyone that has invaded your house. Some of their diets include dead or live roaches, flies, moths, small spiders, and crickets. They also feed on earwigs.

The house centipede is greyish yellow in color, possessing three longitudinal dark stripes. This crawler is about one and a half-inch in length and has up to 15 legs.

All centipedes have an uneven number of legs between the range of 15 and 177. Having house centipedes can be good for handling pest infestations but it is not all that effective because centipedes can only eat as much as their stomach can carry and that isn’t good enough for an infestation. 

What soil centipedes feed on

Soil centipedes feed on insect larvae, soil-dwelling mites, baby snails, earth slugs, and other insects. This species of centipedes are often found under rocks, logs, soil in gardens, and other protected areas. They live in any type of habitat and will burrow into the soil like an earthworm. This species of insects are somewhat beneficial to your farm as they feed on insect larvae thereby preventing these pests from breeding. They can also feed on plant tissue and earthworms. The color of soil centipedes is reddish-brown and white. 

What giant centipedes feed on

The Amazonian giant centipedes are also known as yellow-leg centipedes. They feed on scorpions, spiders, millipedes, and other small reptiles like small lizards, frogs, birds, mice, and snakes.

They are about the largest of all species of centipedes and are found in places like South America and the Caribbean. You will see them in tropical rainforests and tropical dry forests. The giant centipede is reddish yellow and large- an estimate of 30 centimeters or 12 inches. 


Common foods centipedes eat

Unlike other household pests, centipedes do not eat just anything. These arthropods hunt and prey on smaller insects or pests. These insects include cockroaches, ground beetles, earthworms, spiders, crickets, and other centipedes. On rare occasions, these crawling creeps will eat plants or vegetables to survive. 

What do centipedes eat in the house?

Centipedes would hardly feed on your foods when they invade your home. They are mostly pest-feeding insects that may on a few occasions eat plants and vegetables. They would readily feast on those household pests bothering you. Insects they will readily feed on are as follows;

Silverfish, Spiders, Flies, moths, Small spiders, Ants, Cockroaches, and Crickets. If these insects are in your home, centipedes would find them and prey on them. They are also attracted to ground beetles and will not hesitate to go after them when they are in your house. 

What do centipedes eat in the wild?

In the wild, centipedes will feed on spiders, snakes, and other insects. Their diet can include cockroaches, pillbugs, bedbugs, moths, spiders, rodents, reptiles, bats, earthworms, flies, and cockroaches. Some of the species of centipedes found in the wild would include the soil centipedes and the giant centipedes. They feed on soft-bodied insects and aphids either in your garden or in forests. 

What do centipedes eat in captivity?

centipede on white background centipede on white background centipeded stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Ironically, these carnivorous insects who feed on meat would eat any vegetable or fruit you give them. When centipedes are being trained and held captive, they may not have these prey at their disposal but since they also feed on vegetables and plants, they would eat them. When breeding centipedes, know that they require calcium in their diet to develop and shed their skin properly. Also, feed them with a range of insects to give them the required nutrients for their growth. You can do this once or twice a week.

How do centipedes eat?

These arthropods are fast runners so they hop on their prey with their venomous sting, transmitting venom that can paralyze these insects.

Though they have poor vision, they possess an antenna that helps them locate their prey. Centipedes possess teeth mostly called mandibles that help them chew on their prey. Before they chew, they use a pair of claws located on their first body segment to bite and inject venom on their prey. This pair of claws are the two long legs of these insects.

Generally, these insects would wrap their bodies around their prey and wait patiently for the venom to become effective. Once they hatch on their insect prey, they immediately inject their venom into their prey to paralyze it. They curl around this prey until it is weak enough to be eaten. Once the venom takes effect, these crawling creeps will chew their prey, using their mandibles to properly devour their meal.

Do centipedes drink water as much as food?

Yes, centipedes drink water as much as they prey on other insects. In fact, they need water in order to stay hydrated and to stop them from drying out. Centipedes live in damp or moist areas because water is important for their survival. When breeding centipedes, ensure you make water available for them. However, they can sustain the fluids from their prey if the water is not readily available. 

Do centipedes eat pet food?

Not so very often but they do on rare occasions. Mostly cat food and some fruit products like salmon etc. if you feed your centipedes with pet food, do it at most once or twice a week. Some people even feed centipedes with stakes and meat so you could occasionally try that as well. However, it is advised that centipedes are given their natural diet to enable them to generate the much-needed nutrients for their growth.

Do centipedes feed on woodlice?

Well, centipedes are predators and would feed on creatures in gardens and your home as long as they are edible enough and they can prey on them. So yes, centipedes feed on woodlice. Other garden insects they eat include harvestmen, springtails, worms, and other garden insects they can find. 

Do centipedes feed on blood?

There is no prior study as to if centipedes feed on blood. They rarely bite humans. However, centipedes feed on fluids from their prey. This fluid sustains them and functions as a water source for them.

Do centipedes eat humans?

Technically, centipedes hardly ever bite humans not to talk of feeding on them but there are situations where these insects have bit humans. They do this when they feel threatened or provoked. Their bites are usually painful but would hardly cause any health implications in humans. However, some toxins in their venom could cause allergic reactions in humans. Now, do they feed on humans? Hardly so. Centipedes do not feed on humans. They only prey on other insects.

Do centipedes eat other centipedes?

These insects as much as other insects all feel the need to survive so when food is scarce, they would not hesitate to eat their other buddies. Centipedes very well eat other centipedes. Sadly, but true. 


One reason why centipedes prefer moist and dark places is that they are nocturnal and can easily dry out. Being in a moist environment helps them stay hydrated though, most of their liquid nutrients are gotten from their preys. These crawling insects have very poisonous stings that paralyze insects. Centipedes may look small and creepy, but they are very useful for getting rid of lurking pests that cause a nuisance in your home. The question however will be, would you want to have centipedes in your home? If yes, then “way to go!” getting rid of those cockroaches. But if not, do your best to avoid having those tiny critters that may be luring centipedes into your home. 

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