The Common Centipede is also known as the Brown Centipede and is a fast-moving, venomous, insect-like creature which comes under the group of animals called ‘arthropods’. An arthropod has jointed legs, an external skeleton and a segmented body. The Brown Centipede can be found throughout England in gardens under stones, under piles of leaves and in the barks of trees. It can also be seen in garden sheds and in damp places in houses.
The Common Centipede is around two to three centimetres in length and has a long chestnut-brown coloured body. Its body is divided into approximately fifteen segments and each segment holds one pair of legs. The front pair of legs is equipped with claw-shaped fangs. The fangs have poisonous glands which the Common Centipede uses to paralyse prey. The legs at the rear end of the centipede’s body are nearly as long as the antennae and they project out lengthways and not sideways like the other legs. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which part is the front end of this creature.
The female Common Centipede lays her eggs in soil and the young hatch out after about a week. The young centipedes only have fourteen pairs of legs when they first hatch, but they eventually grow a new pair of legs as they develop into fully grown adults. It can take up to three years for Common Centipedes to reach maturity.