How Many Legs Does a Centipede Really Have?

Yes, a lot of legs they definitely have. But they do not have a thousand. So, how many are they?

"The" centipede doesn't exist. Because there are thousands of species of centipedes. One thing they have in common: centipedes have less than a thousand legs, despite their name. But how many legs do they have?

Centipedes with dozens of legs

The species you will find usually have several dozen legs. The body of such an animal (it is not an insect, even though some people think so) consists of so-called segments. In each segment, the animal has one pair of legs. The species you may encounter in your backyard have about fifteen to 21 segments (strikingly, it is always an odd number). That amounts to thirty to forty-two legs.

Larger species have hundreds of legs

Larger centipedes can sometimes grow up to a quarter of a meter long. These species still do not have a thousand legs, but hundreds. Even millipedes stick to "only" hundreds of legs. These species have four legs on each segment. Want to know how many legs a particular specimen has, but don't feel like counting all those legs? Then count the number of segments and multiply by four.

Are centipedes poisonous?

By the way, centipedes are poisonous. The small ones you find pose no danger to your health (although it can feel like a wasp sting if such a beast grazes you). But the larger species can cause reactions with swelling, fever, and shock.