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Does a centipede really have one hundred feet?
Does a centipede really have one hundred feet?

Scientists, whether intentionally, or unintentionally, tripped us up when they named the centipede, one of the oldest creatures in existence.

Yes, centipede really does mean "100-footed," and yes, some centipedes actually do have 100 feet, but no, not all do. In fact, some centipedes have more than 100 feet, and some have as few as 30. Perhaps, mathematicians , not scientists, should have done the calculations, and should have named this member of the species "Myriapoda," Latin for many footed. Yes, the millepede also belongs to this ancient species, but does it really have 1,000 feet, as it's name implies? Doubtful.

The centipede emerges from eggs, laid in the open, with either a full set of legs, or with a starter set of seven pairs, and plays add-a-pair each time it sheds its skin, until maturity. These paired legs grow out of a segment of the centipede's flat, many jointed body, making them much easier to keep track of, and the centipede less likely to stumble as he forrages for food by night. The sheer number of legs, however, may present a problem for the centipede by day, as it must safely tuck them in, when taking cover under rocks or rotting wood.

The 8-10" tropical variety of the centipede has little to fear in this regard, because this flavor of centipede bears enough poison in its two claws to kill a small bird. The claws containing the poison, as with all other centipedes, are located, along with its two feelers, on the section next to its head.

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