Are Centipedes Dangerous to Humans and Animals?

Common to all species of centipedes is that they possess a venom in which they use it to inject into their prey causing them to get paralyzed. The only differences among them is that, some species particularly those that belong into the wild have a more potent venom. Wild centipedes even have bigger sizes in which they are capable of injecting larger quantity of their venom into their prey.

The centipede's venom is actually strong enough to immobilize any insects especially those that are smaller and weaker. However, their venom have very little effect on small animals including house pets and reptiles.

A centipede posses a "Maxillipeds" that very is similar to a "pincer" which they use to sting their victims. Some people also refer the maxillipeds as the "Poison Claws".

The maxillipeds or poison claws are located at the top of the centipede's head which allow them an easy access to deliver their bite. Upon biting their victims, they will inject their toxic venom through those claws. Luckily, most animals including humans have strong immune-resistance against their deadly bites (but except for the pain).

Most of the victims of centipede bites are the children who loves to play on the dirt, gardens or outdoors. As for the animals, they are those who spend most of their time from the outside environment.

Some medical experts claims that centipede bites or their venom are known as harmless for both humans and animals. If it happens that a certain individual or animal got bitten, the side effects of the venom will only last for a few hours and they are gone. It actually depends on the size of the centipede, a giant sized centipede tends to inflict a more agonizing pain. And, the pain from the bite can last for up to a few days and it can be very uncomfortable.

Those who have allergies to a centipede bite are advised to call or seek immediate help from the doctors or go to the emergency room if any symptoms are suddenly observed. The common known side effects and symptoms are as follows:

1. Swelling
2. Skin Irritation
3. Mild Pain
4. Discoloration
5. Numbness

How Dangerous are the Centipedes to Dogs?

It is actually normal for any dogs to pick small things up especially something that is moving around the ground. So if it happens that your house is infested with house centipedes then, there are chances that your dog might have already eaten one of them. On this case, will your pet get poisoned and die?


House centipedes are quite more harmless as compared to their wild species-counterpart that lives in the forest. Most of those wild centipedes even have bigger sizes that they can surprisingly prey on mouse and small snakes.

Common house centipedes measures an average size of about 1 to 3 inches long. They do bite their prey with their sharp fangs but if they are going to use it against humans or large animals, their fangs might not be able to penetrate through their skins.

Going back into the question above, if it happens that your dog ate a house centipede then there isn't nothing to worry about because no serious harm will happen to your pet. In fact, even if your dog ate a wild centipede, your pet is completely safe.

The explanation is that, a centipede's venom will only work once it gets injected into a human or animal's bloodstream. So if your dog ate or swallowed the creature without getting bitten, there is no way the venom could get inside the bloodstream of your pet.

Wild Centipedes

As already mentioned above, wild centipedes that dwell in the forest have a huge differences to those found inside the house. They are actually bigger in size and equipped with sharper fangs and more potent venom. Now, if a wild (giant) centipede had bitten a dog, will the dog die?

The answer is "No" but it will bring a lot of pain to the dog that could last for a few hours which has the same effect to humans. A dog can only be seriously harmed if he or she is allergic to the centipede's bite.

Is it Safe for a Dog to keep Eating House Centipedes?

Upon knowing that dogs won't get harmed by eating house centipedes, it doesn't really mean that you have completely nothing to worry about. If your pet enjoy chasing and eating them around, you have to know that those insects could possibly carry diseases or bacteria. As a result, your pet may end up getting sick from eating them.

To protect or prevent your pet from eating house centipedes, the best way to get rid of them are through the methods that has already been shared on the previous posts of this blog.

Overall, when speaking about a centipede bite, it has already been confirmed by clinical doctors that it is not dangerous to humans and animals. But, with the exemption of those who are allergic to the creature's bite.


  1. Any evidence to back up claims?
    Living in Japan where we regularly have large 10-20cm centipedes of at least 2 varieties I see often, which have caused swellings on myself to sizes larger than golf balls. I wonder what the actual effects are on dogs, especially small dogs such as mipins or toy poodles.
    As for house centipedes vs forest centipedes, are these two distinct varieties? All our centipedes come from surrounding woodland and make camp in houses if favourable conditions.

  2. In my teens I got bit by a bright red centipede I found in the woods. I had taken a class on bee keeping and knew a bee sting... this sting was far worse than a bee. The sting at the sight of the bite was bad but worse was the cramps in my back, the head ache, shaky feeling. It lasted all day... and over night I couldn't sleep.