What happens if you get bitten by a centipede?

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Typically, centipede bites result in severe pain, swelling, and redness at the puncture site, however, these symptoms usually subside within 48 hours.

Centipedes are closely related to lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish. Their bodies are multi-segmented with a pair of legs for each body segment.

Centipedes are usually nocturnal, which means they come out to hunt their prey at night. While they are poisonous and eat insects and worms, they are not typically aggressive toward people. They usually do not bite humans, until they’re provoked.

Though most call it a bite, a centipede stings with its forcipules, which are modified legs with pincer-like tips located close to its head. The site of the bite contains two red markings in a V-shape because of the insect’s forcipules’ arrangement. A bite can be very painful, especially larger centipede bites because they tend to deliver more poison.

Centipede venom contains numerous chemical substances, such as serotonin, histamine, and cardio-depressant toxin-S. Therefore, a bite may result in serious allergic reactions, as well as cardiovascular and neurological effects in people. However, the symptoms may resolve within a few hours to days and do not cause any long-term effects.