For almost three decades, our readers have been writing in with sightings of insects and bugs with requests to identify them. But when you see one such insect come out of you in your stool, the sight can be disturbing, to say the least.
From over thirty thousand emails that we have received, these stand out where writers found a centipede in their stool (or close to their private parts)!
Read on and let us know in the comments if you have had such an experience in the past.
We have compiled a separate list of emails where people have found an unidentified insect in their bowel movement.
Letter 1 – Centipede found in human stool.
Subject: RE: centipede in stool??
Location: Houston, TX
September 1, 2016 8:10 am
Hi, I am hoping that you can give me some insight into this matter. My husband has had diarrhea for about a week now. He went to the doctor, and we are waiting for results from his stool sample. This morning, he had an accident in his pants, and we found this worm that doesn’t resemble any of the more common intestinal parasites. I searched the internet, and found a post from Feb. 2013 titled “Can Centipedes really crawl up your butt??” The culprit resembles the picture in the post, so I am wondering what the final findings were. Thanks.
Signature: concerned wife
Dear concerned wife,
We invested much research into the posting you cited: Can Centipedes really crawl up your butt?? What we find troubling about your submission is that your Centipede does not look like a Soil Centipede, the group that was the subject of all our research as well as other strange reports we have received including Soil Centipede presumably passed during bowel movement and Soil Centipede found in Bath Water. BugGuide also has a submission of a Soil Centipede found in a human stool sample. Soil Centipedes are described on BugGuide as being: “Slender, rather sluggish eyeless centipedes that have 27 to 191 pairs (the number of leg pairs is always odd) of legs and 14-segmented antennae. They burrow in the substrate in a manner similar to earthworms, by elongating and contracting their bodies.” If our calculations are correct, your Centipede has fewer than 21 pairs of legs, so it is NOT a Soil Centipede. Additionally, your Centipede does not appear like it has been in a human gastrointestinal tract. Your Centipede appears like it might be in the genus Cryptops, based on this imaged of Crytops hortensis which is posted to BugGuide and appears to have the same number of legs as your individual. We also have a posting on our site of a Tiger Centipede found in a young lady’s panties, and it was definitely NOT a parasite. We suspect it just sought out a warm dark place, which is what we are inclined to believe regarding the Centipede you found. We would urge you to keep the specimen and take it to the doctor conducting the stool sample, but again, we are inclined to believe the two instances are a coincidence and that your husband’s diarrhea is not related to the discovery of the Centipede in his dirtied pants. Please keep us posted if there are additional developments or questions.
Letter 2 – Soil Centipede presumably passed during bowel movement
Subject: Pooped a worm?
Location: Hartland , WI
November 5, 2014 1:52 pm
My husband sent this text to me and I’m waiting for a return call from the doctor. Any idea?
Signature: Freaking out
Dear Freaking out,
Though we have been spared the text from your husband, we are deducing by your subject line that this Soil Centipede was passed during a bowel movement. Please refer to our extensive posting entitled Can Centipedes really Crawl up your Butt??? We would be eager to hear what the doctor has to say.
His text was basically he was freaking out because he just pooped that out. The doctor said since it was floating in the water and not mixed in the stool, it couldn’t have come from him, must’ve already been in the toilet.
He has still been having pretty intense stomach pains that come and go. He does see his regular MD for a physical on Tuesday.
Letter 3 – Centipede in her panties is Desert Tiger Centipede
This huge centipede was IN MY UNDERWEAR for over an hour…please help!
I was running errands with my sister. Stopped in for a bottle of water and noticed something kinda “pokey” down in my underwear. Got back in car. Dropped trou. Nothing. Drove home. Felt poking again. Dropped my pants and Hello…this was there. Did it bite me? Exactly *how* alarmed should I be? I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He appears to match more than one photo on your website. This experience has made me question the existence of God. I am looking into inpatient therapy. Seriously. I can’t stop scratching my whole body. Did it *have* to be in my panties? My cousin says it’s “punishment for former misdeeds”, but I’m not all that bad. My sister can’t stop laughing.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Your letter is so amusing. We don’t want to appear insensitive to your trauma, but your letter did make us chuckle as well. Since you have provided a nice sense of scale for your specimen, we can tell you that your Centipede is not huge, as there are reports of 8 inch long Centipedes, especially from Texas and Oklahoma. We believe this is Scolopendra heros, and though all specimens don’t have red heads, it is commonly called the Red Headed Centipede. If your youngster had bitten you, you would know it since Centipedes have venom and the bite is reported to be quite painful. It probably just wanted to find a nice warm spot to curl up and rest a bit.
Oooh! Thanks Daniel,
I’d kinda been thinking it was scolopendra polymorpha, but hey – you would know! I appreciate your response. I’ve been researching it for hours now…the good news is: statistically I can’t imagine that something like this could possibly happen to me twice in a lifetime! I think truly I was okay until I picked yesterday’s cargo pants up off the bathroom floor and put them on. He must have been in there. It’s actually a miracle that he didn’t show himself while I was behind the wheel – that would have made for a nasty pileup and a ridiculous story for the cops. Great work and many thanks,
Comment: (08/30/2008) Centipede bite feels like . . . Maui-style
Aloha Daniel –
Please tell Katie in Santa Fe that the bite of a centipede is nothing like you’ve ever felt before. Yes, she was very lucky it did not bite her as she drove. This memory is from over 12 years ago. I was bitten by an 8″ chocolate/red ‘pede in Hawai`i in my bed about 1/2 hour after going to sleep. You feel like a hot poker has jabbed you. Worse than a bee or wasp sting. Yes, there is a toxin injected into the body. There are usually two parallel bites – about 3/8″ long & about 1/8 wide. Treat yourself for shock – Vitamin C, “Rescue Remedy” by Bach, and then for flu – echinacea & golden seal tabs. Poultice of baking soda on the bite – water w/ a drop of Rescue Remedy. Years later, my semi-feral cat rolled onto one and got bit between the shoulder blades. About 3-4 days later the cat wanted me to open the wounds and drain them. Was very patient and tolerant of me squeezing the toxin and infection out of him. Suggest to Katie to keep her bathroom drains covered up. They come up them into our homes that way. Keep a pair of cooking/bar-b-que tongs handy to grab them. The folk tale in the islands is that someone is jealous and is sending those emotions and thoughts to her. Just an FYI – Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for all you do!
Correction: January 7, 2009
Thats actually not Scolopendra heros they are far larger and do not occur in NM. That is Scolopendra polymorpha sometimes referred to as the desert tiger centipede.
Update June 2, 2014: A similar experience
Subject: desert centipede
June 1, 2014 4:46 pm
I just wanted to comment on the experience of the gal with a centipede in her pants. It just happened to me too. I left my jeans thrown over the edge of the bathtub last night and put them back on in the morning to do yard work. When I came inside, I felt something picky on my thigh and, having read her story, peeled off my jeans. There was a 4″ centipede on the thigh of my jeans! It is no longer with us. I generally enjoy bugs and teach my grandkids to watch and enjoy them, but centipedes are the exception to the rule! I have drain covers in my bathtubs to try to keep out the centipedes but they are still managing to get into my house. Any idea how? Last month I watched a centipede and a triangular shaped bug doing battle in the same bathroom and that was interesting. The dark colored bug actually looked like it injected something into the side of the centipede and it appear to kill the centipede. Any idea what that bug might have been?
Signature: Santa Fe Mary
Dear Santa Fe Mary,
We have added your comment to the original posting. Perhaps the Centipedes are seeking a warm location much like Scorpions crawling into shoes at night. We cannot think of what the predator you saw might be.
Letter 4 – Soil Centipede found in Bath Water: How did it get there???
Subject: Found this in my kids’ bathwater
February 20, 2014 11:11 pm
We live in Arkansas and it’s late winter. We found this dead floating in our children’s bath with them. I just wanted to know what it is and if it is something we should worry about. I can’t seem to get a straight answer because everyone I ask thinks it’s something different.
This is a Centipede, and it appears it is most likely a Soil Centipede in the order Geophilomorpha. You can compare your individual to the images posted to BugGuide. Almost exactly one year ago, we received an identification request that prompted a posting on our site entitled Can Centipedes Really Crawl up you Butt??? once we began doing research. As we noted in the past, the book Sanitary Entomology: The Entomology of Disease, Hygiene and Sanitation by William Dwight Pierce indicates that pseudoparasitism by Soil Centipedes is possible in the nasal and alimentary passages of humans. You might want to consult with your physician on this matter.