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Centipedes are invertebrate arthropods. The ones we see in London tend to be the common centipede, which is from the stone centipede family. They are nocturnal, which means they mostly come out at night.

There is no specific name for male or female centipedes. A baby centipede is called a larva or nymph. There is no official name for a group of centipedes.


The common centipede lives under stones and logs, sometimes burrowing into soil to keep cool. They live in gardens, grassland and woodland.

What does it need?

They eat smaller insects, spiders, earthworms and slugs.

What needs it?

Birds, toads, shrews and badgers prey on centipedes, whilst ground beetles, ants and spiders hunt young centipedes.

Through their diet, centipedes play an important role in preventing the overpopulation of certain species which could otherwise spread diseases or reduce food sources for other animals.

Not only do they feed on soil pests, but they also help to break down organic manner in soil, and improve it.

Fun fact!

Common centipedes have 15 pairs of legs. The front pair has evolved to resemble fangs and contains venom. The back pair are long and look like another set of antennae. They can walk backwards almost as quickly as they can walk forwards.

See a video here, and learn more here!

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