Although the name centipede means “100 legs” the common centipede has 15 pairs of legs, consisting of 30 legs in all and is a common sight throughout the United States. They are agile hunters, but as a relatively small creature they often are the target of much larger and deadly animals that consider centipedes as staple parts of their diets.
Amblyoponese ants are considered to be the most primitive of formicids, according to the Orkin pest control website. They exclusively feed on centipedes, making them the most deadly of enemies. Living in colonies of up to 50 ants, they have elongated mandibles, which are used to grab centipedes. Once they have hold of it, they kill it with their metasoma. Although centipedes will curl up into a spiral to protect itself, when attacked by a number of ants they stand little chance of survival.
Badgers are abundant throughout the United States, and being omnivores, they will eat virtually anything they come across, including centipedes. Earthworms are their main source of food though, but they also attack and prey on much bigger creatures such as mice, wasp nests and hedgehogs. They are effective hunters and will make short work of any centipede that they come across.
The common shrew often targets centipedes and millipedes for food. Shrews eat every two to three hours to survive and forage for food, which can bring them into direct contact with centipedes, according to the Mammal Society. The shrew’s main diet is insects but they will also target slugs and snails.
There are more than 300 known species of toad, the majority of which will readily eat centipedes. Toads will only eat insects and worms, and primarily hunt using their lightening fast and sticky tongue that grasps centipedes and brings them back into the mouth. With such a fast and surprising attack, centipedes do not have much defense against a toad, whether large or small in size.
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