This morning I awoke to the sound of Mary shouting in the bathroom. This little guy was in the shower with her:
Scolopendra subspinipes– the red-legged centipede. I had heard about them but this was my first encounter. Here are a couple of bite stories from a website for people who keep these things as pets:
At first, it felt like just a bee sting. I looked at the finger and saw 2 punctures, and very little blood was coming out of the holes. I quickly washed my hands with warm water, and sat down. After 15 minutes, the finger started swelling considerably, and turned red. This is when the pain really started, and I decided I must go to the hospital. By the time I had gotten to the ER, an hour had passed, and the pain was really bad. It literally felt like my hand was on fire. I registered, and sat down in the waiting room. At about 4:30 PM, an hour and a half after the bite, the pain had really increased, and my hand, wrist and forearm had swelled up. At 5:00, i was still waiting in the waiting room, and the worst thing happened. I had been feeling fine, other then my arm being on fire, when all of the sudden I felt nauseous and very dizzy. I began sweating profusely, and my ears were ringing and my eyesight went black. My face lost all color, my lips were gray, and my eyes began rolling back into my head. I nearly passed out, the only thing that kept me from passing out was an ice pack that a nurse put on the back of my neck. They laid me on a bed, and I began to feel better. To treat the swelling and pain, I was given benadryl through an IV, and I was given 2 percocet pills. After tests and calls to poison control, I was released from the hospital after being there for 4 hours.”
“At 58yrs of age I thought I had experienced pain. WRONG! I have never experienced such pain. This was at 9pm, at 9:30 I was in the emergency room! At 11:00pm I was give an shot of morphine, which did next to nothing for the pain. I was given a shot for tetanus, a prescription for antibiotics and percocet. I was to take 2 percocet every 4 hours as needed. Two hours later I had taken all 4 of the percocet they had given me until I could get the prescription filled the next day. There was no relief until about 5:30am on Aug 5th. The pain begin to subside and by 7:30 was gone. On the 6th there was still quit a bit of swelling but no pain. I did however get a reaction to the antibiotics which was exciting.
It was obvious that a rolled up newspaper wasn’t the proper weapon for this battle. I picked it up with a barbecue tongs, laid it against the bathroom floor, and beat it with a channel lock pliers. I had to hit it several times all along its body before it stopped moving.
A dollar bill is six inches long. According to the internet, these centipedes can grow to over eight inches and live for ten years. They’re fascinating creatures- and they eat bugs, which is nice. It’s a shame that I had to kill it, but things with that much poison in them don’t get to live in my house. Sorry, PETA!