Centipedes and Millipedes

Hi there,
This thing wasn’t in my home thank goodness. I was staying in a hostel in Toronto a couple weeks ago. When i arrived at the hostel way earlier than standard checkin time, they let me settle into a room anyhow because it was completely empty. they had cleaned it the day before and so there was no one staying in there at the time. Later that day another girl moved into the room, and she told me that she had been staying in there a couple days earlier, but had been moved out so they could clean the room because she had been getting weird rashy-looking bite marks all over her arms and legs. she showed me – just large red patches. no one else in the room had been bitten/stung/affected, but they decided to clean the room anyhow. a few days later, i was changing in the room one morning when something moving caught my eye. I glanced at the floor to see something dash out from the general area of a pile of luggage and run across the floor in front of me. i was stunned for a moment watching this bizarre thing and then, not having anything with which to really catch it, i tried to grab at a shoe to give it a whack (i’m not much for killing bugs though, but i didn’t feel i had much in the way of options just then). before I could get it though, it ran underneath a pile of luggage under a girl’s bunk. and she was sleeping in it at the time, so I didnt think it would be very good of me to go through her luggage, have her wake up and smack me thinking I was stealing something. The thing was never seen again during my stay. My first impression of it was that it looked like a translucent brown shrimpish thing. kind of like root beer candy, that sort of translucent brown. it was quick, it had something clawlike off the front. I didnt get an accurate leg count unfortunately… it had a small tail that was sticking out the back of it. like a shrimp. and it was certainly a couple inches long. I described this thing to a few people in toronto, and more than one of them said ‘oh that’s a silverfish!’ I’ve seen silverfish before, theyre tiny and silver and fishlike. but these people insist silverfish in toronto look like brown shrimp things. i dont know if that’s just a common torontonian nickname or what. My dad seems to think it might have been some kind of scorpion, which I guess half fits the description. I was looking at photos of pseudoscorpions and thought perhaps that was it, until i saw that those guys are much much smaller than the critter i saw. my beast looked a bit thinner and longer as well. Also, being a hostel, people come from all over the world. This bug could have i suppose hitched a ride from anywhere on earth..?! Any thoughts on what this might have been? I’m just really really curious. The hostel might like to know what’s creeping around in their rooms as well. Thanks for your help!
Andy Scheffler

Dear Andy,
What an awesome letter. I hope I can help. I’m guessing house centipede. Very quick, transluscent, about 30 legs. We get lots of questions about this one. They are predatory, eating small insects, and not dangerous to people. No way it caused the girl’s rash.

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