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Many-Legged Horrors

So I was in bed last night reading on my iPad, with the lights off, and Kevin was asleep next to me with Sergei the cat curled up in the crook of his arm, as is Sergei's wont.

Something tickled my elbow. I assumed, because of my position, that it was Sergei's tail, and ignored it.

It tickled me again. I absently brushed at Sergei to get his tail out of the way, and realized that Sergei was curled up in Full Meatloaf and his tail was nowhere near me.

My brain executed a remarkable series of calculations in a very short period of time, involving what it must be, to be so...large...and then that I should under no circumstances swat at it because that would cause it to bite, and then that leaping out of bed would result in the monster being somewhere in the bed with sleeping Kevin and Sergei and Sergei might try to attack it and get bitten.

I have been bitten by this sort of beast before. It is agonizing and it lasts for days, like a hot wire being dragged through your skin.

The centipede--for such it was--wandered off my arm and into the blankets.

"Aunnggh?" he said from the depths of sleep.
"Kevin! Wake up, now!"
"What? What?"
"There's a centipede in the bed! A big one! You have to roll out of bed and grab the cat!"

Only a few phrases will bring one from a dead sleep to instant consciousness, but there's a centipede in the bed is among them.

Like a precision drill team, we rolled out of the bed. The centipede, a sizable Florida Blue in the two-inches-and-some-change range, flailed around the blankets in multi-legged wrath. (Centipedes don't get frightened, they just get angry.)

Kevin dropped a rudely awakened Sergei onto the floor, grabbed for his glasses, and went into the bathroom while I kept watch on the centipede. He returned with toilet paper. It is nearly impossible to stop a centipede with toilet paper--it's hard enough just to beat one to death with a shoe or a shampoo bottle--but you can at least grab it and keep it occupied for five seconds to get it to the toilet and send it to a watery grave.

And then it was somewhere in the septic tank, and we both slowly climbed back into bed. I considered shaving my head so that every touch of hair on my shoulder did not send me into shrieking horror. I considered shaving the cats. I considered burning the house and moving to a new house that had never had centipedes, or at least the bed, which was now a centipede bed and not a human bed.

And that is why I did not sleep well last night.



I'm sitting at my desk whimpering and we don't even *have* centipedes like that where I live. (I do, however, still vividly remember the exact moment when I was putting my arm into a shirt sleeve and realized that the object my hand had encountered was a black widow spider. That was over 35 years ago and I *still* remember it like yesterday.)

*Boggle* *Eyes go wide*

You can tell black widow spiders just by touch?

*wild eww handflail*

I don't mind finding non-bity things where they don't belong, so long as I encounter them. I do not like surprises, alive or dead. I particularly object to them in my bed. And when they can bite in ways that leave welts that are bad enough to scar, I really really REALLY object.

A watery grave sounds right to me.

And for anyone else reading the comments: ... Centipedes bite when they feel endangered or harmed. Not only can centipedes bite, but they can also penetrate human skin with their clawlike legs. There are toxins produced at the base of each leg which can drop into the wound and irritate it furthermore. reference: http://pestproapp.com/bug-guide/57-florida-blue-centipede-

Edited at 2016-05-24 05:50 pm (UTC)

I really wish I had a time machine right now so I could go back in time and NOT click on that link...but I don't, and I did, and now I have to move to Siberia. Thanks loads, reedrover...

O, my word. I would have had to strip and remake the bed, because there would have been a brown streak left behind on the sheets as I exited it.

I have a hundred-year-old house with...shall we say, challenges? And among them has been the various too-many-legged critters inhabiting it. I'm in the habit of shaking my towels when I get out of the shower, and of turning the basement light on and staring out the back door for a minute or two before descending the stairs, so as not to see any unwarranted scurrying-about.

And yet: I'm currently battling kitchen pests, and so long as they do their job out of my sight, the centipedes are the more welcome species of the two. Go figure.

I've been getting huge mileage out of one of Otter's jokes.

Q: What is simultaneously flat on the ground and 100 feet in the air?
A: a dead centipede!

That is an excellent joke XD

I saw your tweet right before going into a meeting where I had to at least pretend to be professional. My skin was crawling through the whole meeting. Just... UGH.

Deepest sympathies, and I can totally understand if you need to burn the house down.

At least it gave you warning, unlike the Brown Recluse that bit me on the leg while I was asleep. I am still battling the venom that is trying to liquify my leg.

i would rather see a marathon of Rob Zombie horror/torture-porn than read this again and imagine it happening to me. I may need to take a shower now.

When I was living in the desert in the Middle East we had various issues including scorpions and centipedes. The scorpions, like most species of scorpions, were smallish and generally scared of people, although shaking out boots before putting them on was a sensible morning practice. Their sting was comparable to a beesting: only dangerous if you were allergic. Avoidable as long as you remembered not to scoop up anything you were picking up from underneath.

The centipedes, however, were the length of my hand, aggressive, stung like a very very bad wasp sting with more lingering, and ran at almost 1 meter a second, which is much faster than almost any human can back away on sand liberally scattered with fist-sized rocks. To make matters worse the centipedes burrowed and came back out from the sand without slowing down noticeably so their movement pattern was like orcas in the sea, or tiny venomous Arrakis sandworms. We were cautious of the scorpions but actively watched for centipedes.

1 m/s is 2.2 mph.
Nope Nope NOPE!!!!


All aboard the NopeTrain to Fuckthatville. I would have set things on fire...


*waves tickets and runs to hop on board*

And this has reminded me that despite snow and ice and raking leaves, there are advantages to living in the NorthEast where there are fewer such nasty bugs.

Exactly what I was thinking.

Sunday, I pulled the sheets off the bed and there was a CENTIPEDE where I had been laying. It escaped.

Sunday afternoon, there was a post on a sub-reddit I read about centipedes and I ended up chatting about biology and mythconceptions for a while.

Sunday NIGHT, we found the bed-centipede and killed it.

And now this. What is the universe trying to say about centipedes...?

Those things are the creepiest. I once drifted off only to be awaken by a centipede skittering over my lips. Thank god I sleep with my mouth closed.

Okayyy then... BRB, moving to MARS!

I googled for pictures and found this description: "The Florida Blue Centipede is an aggressive arthropod that is not particularly likeable from which we have come to conclude from several testimonials."

No kidding. D:

I'm very glad we only get house centipedes here, and none of the really nasty sorts.