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Are Centipedes in Alaska? Exploring Their Presence & Species




are centipedes in alaska

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When it comes to the diverse wildlife of Alaska, centipedes may not be the first creature that comes to mind. However, are centipedes in Alaska? The short answer is yes.

Despite the cold and harsh environment, centipedes have managed to thrive in various parts of Alaska. These fascinating creatures come in different species, each with their unique characteristics.

Key Takeaways:

  • Centipedes do exist in Alaska despite the extreme weather conditions
  • There are several species of centipedes found in the region, each with unique characteristics

Centipedes in Alaska: An Overview

Centipedes are a diverse group of invertebrates that can be found in almost every continent on earth, including Alaska. Despite their somewhat fearsome appearance, centipedes play an important role in the ecosystem as predators of smaller insects and arthropods.

Alaska is home to several species of centipedes, with the most common belonging to the Lithobiomorpha order. These centipedes have long, slender bodies with numerous legs and antennae at the head. They are typically found in damp areas, such as beneath rocks, logs, or leaf litter.

Alaska’s Native Centipede Species

The most commonly observed centipede in Alaska is the Lithobius species. This centipede is relatively small, with a length of approximately 1-2 inches, and is often found in areas with high levels of moisture, such as near rivers or streams. The Lithobius species is a fast-moving predator, feeding on smaller insects and arthropods.

Another commonly observed centipede in Alaska is the Scolopendra heros castaneiceps. This species is one of the largest centipedes found in North America, reaching lengths of up to 9 inches. It can be identified by its reddish-brown color and yellow legs. The Scolopendra heros castaneiceps is known for its venomous bite, which can cause pain and swelling in humans.

Fun Facts About Centipedes in Alaska

Did you know that centipedes in Alaska can have up to 177 pairs of legs? While not all centipedes have such a high leg count, some species can have up to 354 legs in total! Additionally, centipedes in Alaska have a unique ability to regenerate their lost legs, allowing them to quickly recover from injury.

“Centipedes are fascinating creatures that have adapted to survive in a variety of environments, including the harsh climate of Alaska.”

Habitat of Alaskan Centipedes

Centipedes are found in a variety of habitats in Alaska. Some species prefer forested areas, while others thrive in wetlands or coastal regions. They are also commonly found in rocky terrain and can be spotted in urban areas.

Due to Alaska’s unique climate and geography, centipedes have adapted to survive in extreme conditions. They are able to burrow into the ground during winter months and emerge during warmer seasons.

Habitat Centipede Species
Forests Geophilus spp., Lithobiomorpha spp.
Wetlands Lithobius spp., Scolopocryptops spp.
Coastal Areas Lithobius spp., Scutigera spp.

It is important to note that while centipedes are adaptable creatures, they still have specific environmental requirements. Therefore, the habitats and regions they inhabit in Alaska depend on factors such as humidity, temperature, and soil type.

The Common Centipedes of Alaska

Alaska is home to several species of centipedes, each with distinct characteristics that set them apart from one another. While they are not as abundant as in other regions, centipedes in Alaska still play a vital role in the local ecosystem.

Species Name Description
Scolopendra polymorpha This is the most commonly found centipede in Alaska. It has a reddish-brown body and can reach up to six inches in length. S. polymorpha is a predator and feeds on insects, spiders, and other small animals.
Scolopendra heros This species is known for its aggressive and venomous nature. It has a yellowish-brown body, with dark bands running the length of its segments. S. heros can grow up to eight inches in length and is found in southern Alaska.
Lithobius forficatus This is a small species, measuring only half an inch in length. It has a dark brown body and is commonly found in urban areas. L. forficatus is not venomous but can still deliver a painful bite if provoked.

It is essential to know the common types of centipedes in Alaska to identify them correctly and determine their potential danger.

Centipede Identification in Alaska

Identifying centipede species in Alaska requires a close examination of their physical characteristics. While some species may look similar, certain features distinguish them from one another.

Body Shape and Size

Centipedes in Alaska typically have long, cylindrical bodies with numerous segments. Their size ranges from less than an inch to several inches in length. The common house centipede, for example, is typically 1-1.5 inches long, while the giant centipede can reach up to 9 inches in length.


The coloration of Alaskan centipedes varies depending on the species. Some species, such as the house centipede, have a yellowish-brown body with dark stripes on their legs, while others, like the green centipede, have a bright green body with a black head.

Leg Structure

The number of legs on a centipede is another distinguishing factor. Most species in Alaska have between 30 and 354 legs, with the house centipede having the highest leg count. They also have a pair of pincers on their head that they use to capture prey.

Habitat Preferences

It’s important to consider the habitat where a centipede is found when identifying the species. For example, the soil centipede is commonly found in moist soil, while the house centipede prefers dry, indoor environments.

Overall, identifying centipedes in Alaska requires a close examination of their physical features, habitat preferences, and behavior.

Centipedes and Alaska’s Wildlife

Centipedes are a vital part of the Alaskan wildlife ecosystem, fulfilling important roles as both predators and prey. As predators, they feed on a range of insects and invertebrates, helping to control their populations and maintain balance in the food web.

At the same time, centipedes themselves are preyed upon by a variety of animals, including birds, rodents, and larger predators such as bears and foxes. Their presence in the environment provides a valuable food source for these animals, helping to sustain their populations.

While centipedes are generally harmless to larger animals, their venomous bite can be lethal to smaller creatures such as insects and other invertebrates. This venom also plays a role in the centipede’s own defense, deterring potential predators and helping them to escape from danger.

Overall, centipedes are an important and fascinating part of the Alaskan wildlife ecosystem, with a complex role to play in maintaining the balance of nature.

Centipede Encounters in Alaska

Centipedes are common in Alaska, especially in the southern and southeastern coastal regions. They prefer damp environments and can often be found in forests, wetlands, and coastal areas.

While encountering a centipede in the wild is not uncommon, the chances of finding one in your home are relatively low. Centipedes tend to avoid human habitats and will only enter homes if there is an abundance of prey or if their usual habitat is disturbed.

When encountering a centipede in the wild, it is important to exercise caution. Most centipedes found in Alaska are not venomous, but they can still deliver a painful bite.

If you do find a centipede in your home, it is important to remove it carefully. Using a container and a piece of cardboard, gently trap the centipede and release it back into the wild.

Overall, encountering a centipede in Alaska is a rare occurrence, but it is important to be aware of their presence and take appropriate precautions when necessary.

Centipede Prevention in Alaskan Homes

Centipedes are a common sight in Alaska, especially during the warmer months. While they are not harmful to humans, their appearance can be unsettling. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent centipedes from entering your home.

Preventing Entry Cleaning Tips Pest Control
  • Seal cracks and gaps in the foundation, windows, and doors.
  • Install door sweeps and weather stripping.
  • Ensure screens on windows and doors are intact.
  • Remove clutter, such as piles of clothing or newspapers.
  • Vacuum regularly, paying special attention to dark corners and crevices.
  • Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any crumbs or debris.
  • Use insecticides labeled for centipedes and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Consider hiring a pest control professional to assess the situation and provide recommendations.
  • Use sticky traps to capture any centipedes that may have entered the home.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce the likelihood of encountering centipedes in your home. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping unwanted pests at bay.

Centipede Myths and Misconceptions

Centipedes in Alaska have long been misunderstood and the subject of many misconceptions and myths. Here, we debunk some of the most common ones:

  1. Centipedes are harmful pests: While centipedes do have venom, they are not harmful to humans. Their venom is primarily used to subdue their prey, which consists of insects and other small invertebrates. Additionally, centipedes are beneficial to the environment as they help control the population of other pests like spiders.
  2. Centipedes are dangerous to pets: Like humans, pets are also not at risk from centipedes. Although, larger species may bite a pet, but it’ll only cause mild discomfort and pain that should subside within a few hours. However, if your pet has an allergic reaction to the bite, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
  3. Centipedes can climb into your bed and bite you while you sleep: This is a common misconception surrounding centipedes. They do not typically crawl into human beds and are not attracted to human flesh. If you find a centipede in your bed, it’s likely because it’s searching for prey, not because it wants to harm you.
  4. Centipedes are only found in dirty, unkempt homes: This is false. Centipedes are adaptable to different environments and can be found both indoors and outdoors. However, homes with clutter provide more hiding places where centipedes can breed and feed.
  5. Centipedes are all the same: Centipedes are a diverse group of arthropods, and there are over 3,000 identified species worldwide. In Alaska alone, there are several native species that have unique characteristics and habitat preferences.

By debunking these myths, we can better understand and appreciate the role of centipedes in Alaska’s ecosystem.


Centipedes do exist in Alaska, and they come in a diverse array of species. Some are native to the region, while others have migrated to Alaska’s unique ecosystems. Despite their reputation as pests, centipedes play a vital role in the local wildlife ecosystem.

While encountering a centipede may be unsettling, they are generally harmless to humans and rarely cause any significant damage to homes. Understanding their habits and natural habitat preferences can help prevent them from making their way into your home.

By keeping your living environment clean and practicing effective pest control methods, you can minimize the likelihood of encountering centipedes in your home. With a deeper understanding of these fascinating creatures, Alaskans can continue to appreciate the rich biodiversity of their region.


Q: Are centipedes in Alaska?

A: Yes, centipedes do exist in Alaska. This section will provide an overview of the presence and diversity of centipedes in the region.

Q: Centipedes in Alaska: An Overview

A: Centipedes in Alaska encompass various species. This section will delve into the different native centipede species found in Alaska and provide interesting facts about them.

Q: Habitat of Alaskan Centipedes

A: Centipedes in Alaska thrive in environments such as forests, wetlands, or coastal areas. This section will explore their habitat preferences in more detail.

Q: The Common Centipedes of Alaska

A: In this section, we will highlight the most commonly encountered centipede species in Alaska, providing descriptions and images for easy identification.

Q: Centipede Identification in Alaska

A: This section will outline key characteristics and features to help identify centipede species found in Alaska.

Q: Centipedes and Alaska’s Wildlife

A: Centipedes play a role in the Alaskan wildlife ecosystem, interacting with other fauna. This section will explore their impact on the local environment.

Q: Centipede Encounters in Alaska

A: This section will discuss the likelihood of encountering centipedes in Alaska, including their behavior, hiding places, and activity patterns.

Q: Centipede Prevention in Alaskan Homes

A: Practical tips and advice on preventing centipedes from entering homes in Alaska will be provided in this section.

Q: Centipede Myths and Misconceptions

A: This section will address common myths and misconceptions about centipedes in Alaska, providing accurate information about these creatures.

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