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Watch Out For The Centipede !!

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Under: nature

Living in the rural Algarve brings you into close contact with nature, which normally is wonderful.  But sometimes some weird creatures can cross your path, such as this little fellow: the Megarian banded centipede (Scolopendia cinglulata centipede), or in Portuguese: centopéia.

Centipede, means 100 feet, which is little overdone.  Most of these centipedes have about 40 legs, 2 per body segment. The Megarian banded centipede has alternating bands of black and yellow/gold and it inhabits dark, damp environments.  The centipede usually hunts at night for insects or small lizards. It can be quite agressive and moves really fast. An adult can be as long as 20 centimetres.

The legs of the centipede's first segment are not for walking. Instead, they're modified to form venomous fangs, which they use to inject paralyzing venom into prey. These special appendages are known as forcipules, and are unique to centipedes. 

Typical Symptoms of a bite

At the site of the bite, you can expect:
Two puncture wounds, one from each of the modified leg claws, and immediate and sometimes radiating pain as well as redness and localized swelling. Although the pain may last for no more than several hours to several days you might suffer more serious symptoms, for instance: Intense itching, local tenderness, headache, swollen lymph glands, dizziness, nausea and local tissue damage. In addition to the bite, you might also experience small puncture wounds, laced with blister-causing venom, in the tracks where the clawed centipede crawled across your skin.

What to do after a bite

If bitten, you should promptly wash the wound with soap and water to minimize the possibility for infection. You can apply ice (on for 10 minutes, off for 10 minutes) or a cool wet dressing and a local anesthetic agent onto the site of the bite to relieve the pain. You can use clay, drawing salve or activated charcoal to help extract the toxins through the skin. In instances of more serious symptoms, you should seek medical care. Treatment for centipede envenomation is essentially pain control and routine wound care.

In : nature 

Tags: centipede  centopeia  megarian banded centipede  bicho 
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