Animal Facts

Giant Desert Centipede

Scientific Name: Scolopendra heros

Fast Fact:

Giant desert centipedes detect their prey using the sensory perception of their antennae.

Giant Desert Centipede

They usually spend their days resting in the shade under rocks and logs.

STATUS: Not threatened.

HABITAT: Giant desert centipedes can be found in desert regions of the southern United States and northern Mexico.

DIET: These carnivores consume insects, lizards, frogs, and small rodents.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have poor vision and rely on a pair of antennae on their heads for finding prey.

Colorful and Dangerous

Giant desert centipedes pinch their prey with gnathopods— hollow appendages resembling legs. The pair of gnathopods is located on the first body segment, which is extremely muscular and increases the power of the pinch. Glands at the joint of each gnathopod secrete venom that quickly kills the victim.

In addition to the gnathopods, they have a pair of claw-like legs at their posterior end that can also catch prey. These centipedes can actually kill two victims at once: on at the front and one at the rear.

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