Millipede - Blank Park Zoo

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Scientific Name:Millipede
Spirostertus Giganteus
Feeding Type:
Primarily herbivorous
Moist environments of the rainforest, preferring mulch and loam deposits in woodlands
Diet in the Wild:
Rotting vegetable matter, algae, fruit and occasionally dead animals
Diet at the Zoo:
Fruits, vegetables
5 – 6 years
Measuring up to 16 inches, these invertebrates look like large worms with legs. Their body is separated into numerous segments, and each segment has 2 pairs of legs, except the third segment, which only has one pair of legs. They have extremely hard, armorlike exoskeletons.
Having many predators, millipedes protect themselves by rolling up into a tight ball, and keeping its head tucked in the middle, well away from harm. They will also secrete a yellow substance as a defense. This is a mild form of hydrochloric acid that is obnoxious to birds. If this substance gets on humans, it will turn bluish purple (like a bruise) after several minutes. It is not harmful to us. Having poor eyesight, these millipedes find their way around using their antennas.
Their reproductive organs are at the point in which the second pair of legs joins the body. Sperm is transferred by the “copulatory feet.” Larvae with few body segments and legs hatch from eggs that are laid after fertilization.
These millipedes are at a lower risk.       

Interesting Facts

Our Animals

  • There are close to 10,000 species of millipedes
  • With each molt, the millipede gets a new segment and 2 pairs of legs. They stop once they reach full size.
  • Millipedes are not on exhibit. They are education animals.
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