Vietnamese Centipede | Scolopendra subspinipes

Invertebrate Interests is authored & photographed by Lillie Nyte of Inverts Unlimited 

Vietnamese Centipede | Scolopendra subspinipes

General Description

Scolopendra subspinipes


Vietnamese Centipede Photographed by Lillie Nyte

Synonyms: Rhombocephalus smaragdinus

Common name(s): Vietnamese centipede, giant centipede, jungle centipede, Asian forest centipede, red-headed centipede, orange-legged centipede

Keeper experience: Advanced

Adult size: 4 inches to 8+ inches consisting of 20 body segments each with a pair of legs.


Growth rate: Fast

Lifespan: 10+ years

Type: Terrestrial, somewhat of a burrower.

Temperament: Highly aggressive, fast moving, and will readily bite.

Venom: Medically significant for humans and may cause intense pain, severe swelling, weakness, nausea, and fever. For more information on venomous animal keeping we recommend Venom in Captivity.

Natural distribution: Believed to be endemic to Asia particularly Southeast Asia, and Australia. It has been introduced into tropical and subtropical regions worldwide including South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the islands of Hawaii.

Natural conditions: Found in damp conditions under stones, logs, leaf litter, and in soil crevices of dense, humid jungles during the day and is most active at night.

Conservation status: Not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Vietnamese Centipede Photographed by Lillie Nyte

Captive Care

Scolopendra subspinipes 

Temperature: 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit

Humidity: High 75 – 80 percent

Substrate: 4 – 5 inches of moist Zoo Med Eco Earth, Zilla Reptile Jungle Mix Moss & Fir, potting soil, or a mixture of the aforementioned. A piece of cork bark or similar type of shelter may be provided.

Substrate should not be allowed to completely dry out as centipedes are prone to dehydration.

Prey items: Can be fed a diverse diet consisting of various invertebrates and occasionally vertebrates no longer than the centipede

Miscellany: Any type of (hit the jump link to check out recommendations) enclosures must be tightly secured to prevent escapes.

One confirmed fatality of a young child in its native range has been attributed to this species. (Venzmer, G. “Giftig Tiere und tierische Gifte” Berlin, 1932.)

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