Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Millipedes are long, round, slow, and eat decaying vegetation

Unlike centipedes, millipedes are long, round, slow, and eat decaying vegetation. They also have 2 pair of legs per segment, as opposed to 1. They can have 36 to 400 legs, depending on the species. There are over 10,000 species. Millipedes burrow into the ground. Some may secrete a poison through their skin, and there are some mammals that get drugged off this secretion by licking the millipede. They defend themselves by curling into a ball and do not bite.

Millipedes are easy to house and can live in groups. The giant African millipede is a popular pet, getting as big as 10 inches. They can be long lived and are non aggressive, making them fun to hold. Pet millipedes will eat fruit or vegetables, and need extra calcium to aid in shedding. They like damp areas and live under plant debris, and need a somewhat deep substrate so they can burrow. Being nocturnal, they aren’t quite as visible as some pets, so you would want to watch them at night. They reproduce easily, so take care not to house males and females together if you don’t want a lot. While they are not aggressive, some people may have allergic reactions to their secretions and should take care.

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