The Giant Centipede, Scolopendra Gigantea, of South America can grow up to a foot long with more than twenty body segments. The venom delivered by the bite of the giant centipede is powerful enough to cause swelling, pain that can debilitate an entire limb, and even necrosis, killing the skin around where the bite occurred.
Uncomfortable and traumatizing as this is, we humans most always survive these bites. Smaller victims are not so lucky. In Venezuela, these giant centipedes have been found hanging upside down from their last few sets of legs from cave ceilings. Seemingly odd behavior until the bats who inhabit the cave fly in or out to go hunting. The bats are easily caught in the clutches of these savvy hunters. Debilitated in mid-air by the powerful venom, the bats don’t stand a chance. For an insect that looks straight out of the Cretaceous period this is a terrifyingly premeditated and creative hunting strategy.
Even their breeding strategies are surprisingly advanced for insects. Though the male and female have very little contact during breeding, the female centipede will stay with her eggs until they hatch and can protect themselves. The female protects her brood with the intensity and devotion we usually attribute to more advanced animals such as birds or mammals.
Cunning and ferocious we should all hope that the Giant Centipede does not continue to grow in size or skill.