Centipede?
Hello,
I was recently at a home at Lake Travis 30 minutes north of Austin, Texas, when I came across this awesome insect. I have never seen anything like this before especially out in the open. I was wondering what you call this type of insect, if it was native to central Texas, and it if is harmful. Thanks,
Michael

Hi Michael,
First off, Centipedes are not insects as they have more than 6 legs. That is just the most obvious difference. Your centipede is a Giant Red Headed Centipede, Scolopendra heros. Though your photo shows the classic color variation of this species, there are many other color forms depicted on BugGuide. Like other centipedes, the Giant Red Headed Centipede does have a venomous bite, and the bite is reported to be quite painful. That said, it is not an aggressive species, unless you are small enough to be food. Food can consist of small vertibrates including reptiles, amphibians and rodents. We do not consider this to be a harmful species, but it is a formidible predator that will bite a person who disturbs it.

2 Responses to Giant Red Headed Centipede

  1. Misty Lewis says:

    I have found 2 of these ‘giant red headed centipedes’ at my home. One was already dead, so I didn’t worry about it, however, I just found a living one in my driveway last week (11-1-2013). It was very large and looked very dangerous. I have 2 very small yorkies, (4lbs and 5lbs), I was very afraid that this venomous looking centipede would kill my dogs if they were to be bitten by this creature. At that time, I had no idea what it was so I cut off its head and saved it for my exterminator. When he came, I showed the insect to him and he was ‘amazed’. He also had no idea what it was. He said he had NEVER seen anything like it. He took it with him to get it identified. In the meantime I have come to your site to ‘identify’ it on my own.
    I found your site very helpful and informative, as I now know what it is and that yes it is venomous. Thank you. P.S. I live 30 miles North of Tulsa, Oklahoma in rural Claremore.

  2. Forrest D Johnson says:

    I also have seen a couple of these Red Headed centipedes by accident while moving dirt back about 1999.
    Lived rural area 5 miles north of Claremore, OK just west off Hwy 66

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