The millipede is one of the most popular pet insects you can raise at home because they will not terrify most family members. But how is it different from raising a centipede and is it worth the effort? Here are some facts you need to remember before adopting a millipede.
Millipedes vs. centipedes. Despite its name, the millipede has only up to 200 or 300 legs even as an adult, not a thousand. This means they have two pairs of legs per segment, which is what makes them different from centipedes that have one pair of legs for each segment.
Millipedes are not worms. Even if they look like worms, millipedes are arthropods which means they are invertebrates with an exoskeleton.
They need a large enclosure. Despite their size, you will need to provide them with enough space to explore. A glass aquarium with a screen mesh on top is ideal for millipedes. You should buy the five gallon tank if you want to get the minimum size.
Proper landscape is key. You should try to imitate their natural habitat as much as possible. This means providing places for them to hide during the day. Use a mulch-type substrate like damp sphagnum bark or moss, but avoid gravel. You can include live plants, too.
Keep a constant temperature. Acceptable temperature ranges should be kept between 60°F to 75°F. Do not place their habitat near sources of light and heat because the millipedes could die. You can install blue or red bulbs, but you should only use them at night.
The millipede is a detritivore. It means that they feed primarily on dead plants and animals, making them useful in recycle nutrients back into the soil.
They are active at night. Millipedes typically sleep during the day and are more active at night when they need to feed.
Millipedes have short lives. As long as they live in the correct conditions and are given proper food, a healthy millipede can live for up to 3 years.
They need millipede-specific diet. As much as possible, their diet should consist mainly of plants such as bananas, squash, melon, and romaine lettuce. You can also supplement that diet with peeled cucumbers and peeled apples. Ground cuttlebone should also be given occasionally. Feed them once a day every night.
They could drown in water. Although they typically live in moist or damp environments, they can drown in water. To avoid drowning, you need to place stones and sponge in the water dish. If you are using a sponge, however, you need to replace it weekly to avoid bacterial growth.
Do not house them with other insects. If you are planning to get more than one millipede, you should keep millipedes only in one tank.
Do not handle the millipedes. They are not raised for cuddling. Moreover, they also secrete chemicals that might be harmful to the skin and eyes.
Look for warning signs. If your millipede exhibits the following, it might be sick: dull-colored shell, fungal growth, poor appetite, ad lethargy. Dehydration is a very common issue when it comes to pet millipedes.