Texas Redheaded Centipedes

Texas redheaded centipedes (Scolopendra heros) are one of the world’s largest centipede species and can grow to be as long as 15 cm. Their heads are red, with segmented dark blue, purple or black bodies. Each segment bears a pair of yellow legs.

The Texas redheaded centipede can be found throughout much of the southwestern United States, as well as in northern Mexico. Texas redheaded centipedes prefer dark, moist environments and will take cover during the day. Rock crevices, leaf litter and rocks provide shelter, although the Texas redheaded centipede can also burrow into the ground. After dark, Texas redheaded centipedes hunt for prey; insects are their chief food source.

The tails of these centipedes resemble their heads. This characteristic serves to confuse predators. In addition, they are equipped with a painful, venomous bite, which can incapacitate and kill small prey and predators.

While the Texas redheaded centipede’s bite will not kill humans, it may be extremely painful for up to few days. Individuals with known insect allergies may experience more severe reactions and should contact a medical professional.