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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Why are house centipedes so terrifying?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9289 points ) August 16th, 2012

House centipede

Any bug that I have come in contact with, I can handle. I’ll even pick up June Bugs and let them crawl across my hand. No problem. But, these nasty creatures have me running for the hills.

Most people that I’ve talked to are freaked out by them.

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29 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

They really don’t bother me (especially as they feast on other critters) but I suspect for many people it’s the legs, how fast they move, and the fact that you can so readily find them at eye level or above you, particularly when flipping on a light at night when you’re half asleep.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The parents’ basement used to have them. They weren’t terrifying, but just creepy and gross. It’s the number of legs. Plus, when you step on one, it often sticks to the bottom of the shoe. Disgusting!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think they’re beautiful, if a little creepy at first glance. I had one in my office last fall. I caught it in a plastic bag, got some jellies to identify it, and let it go outside.

syz's avatar

The speed freaks me out a little, especially when I’ve been startled by them in the bathroom. But they’re pretty cool – can you imagine coordinating all of those legs so efficiently? I can barely control my 2 feet.

josie's avatar

They don’t have a face.

Most human beings feel better about creatures that have something that looks sort of like a face. It’s why people like praying mantises but hate spiders.

Anyway, no need to be frightened. They don’t stand a chance against a rolled up newspaper or the bottom of your shoe.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Its the legs. They dont bother me but I know a couple people that are totally cool with spiders but cant handle centipedes. They always just say its too many legs, freaks em out.

Sunny2's avatar

It’s the startle factor that gets me. The sudden appearance of something moving fast is unsettling. Harmless garter snakes have the same effect. My heart skips a beat when I’m startled.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Sunny2 That and that they’re ugly as sin.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

It was cute. My girlfriend had to go down into the basement of her office. She went with her older female co-worker. My partner moved a desk down there and one scurried across the wall. My partner screamed bloody murder. Her co-worker screamed, as well, even though she didn’t know what my partner was screaming about, hahahaha!!!

thorninmud's avatar

They look for all the world like Kim Kardashian’s false eyelashes zipped together and started running around, and that’s just freaky.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

“Walking eyebrows”

bookish1's avatar

Nothing should have that many legs!

Coloma's avatar

I think they are cool little creatures, we have a variety out west here that can get, easily, 5–6 inches long and as big around as a fat pencil. They are harmless and interesting, but yes, squashing one is like stepping on a mouse. I once crushed one in the door jam, it was a mess! Gag!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Imagine how fast Usain Bolt could go with that many legs.

jca's avatar

They’re so hairy looking, and they’re quick. They’re just gross.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you think the House centipedes are gross, disgusting and scary, you should see the ones in the Senate.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Ha! Ha! Here’s what we get in the tropics. You guys are amateurs.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake weird, but those don’t bother. If I saw a smaller version of those in my garden, I’d pick it up (mind you, that’s if they didn’t bite).

I think that it’s the way that their skinny legs are. Like a spiders leg. But, millions of them!!!!

syz's avatar

@Mama_Cakes They do bite, and can be quite painful. When I was in Laos, the locals were more afraid of them than the cobras.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Oh, good God.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Just be happy you dont live in Peru

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Okay, that’s enough. haha

gailcalled's avatar

@thorninmud: And you are aware of Kim Kardashian’s eyelashes how?

thorninmud's avatar

@gailcalled They were featured on a Nova episode

Brian1946's avatar

I saw her eyelashes featured in an episode of Monster Bug Wars, where they defeated and then devoured a scorpion. ;-0

Coloma's avatar

Stop it you guys, I am going to wet myself! lol

Mama_Cakes's avatar

They also have a nasty bite. See: my foot.

My foot is usually small and dainty.

(house centipede bite)

Supacase's avatar

They blend in with my carpet which amplifies the startle factor.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I’ll trade someone a few dozen Millipedes for some of my rattlesnakes.
I fear every step after dark over here lately after my cat was bitten a month ago and I killed two big ones two nights ago, the biggest right under the bottom step of my deck all coiled up and on the alert. Gah!

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