Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Centipedes Awaken

It's been a short winter here in the heartland.

We saw our first fly a few days ago, and my allergies kicked in yesterday. First signs of spring.

I was thinking last night about how long it'd been since I've a centipede in my basement. Tonight, only moments ago, I flipped on the light and there were three of the suckers, presumably lusting after one another, clinging to the wall.


Shiver me timbers, lads, much as I love all of gods' creatures, these here make me sphincter clutch.


  1. The ancient Egyptians could see that insects attacked dead bodies, but centipedes fed on the insects. They concluded that the centipedes protected the dead as they were an aspect of Osiris. In this form, he was known as Sepa or Sep (meaning centipede) and was depicted either as a centipede or as a mummified figure with two horns. As centipedes are venomous, Sepa was considered to have power over other venomous animals and could be invoked for protection against snake bites and scorpion stings. Centipedes also follow the earthworms which improve the fertility of soil, leading to their association with fertility. Sepa was sometimes given the head of a donkey (to reflect the fact that donkey manure was used to improve the fertility of soil).
    copyright J Hill 2010

    by miji67

  2. I was long obsessed by these sphincter clenching monsters. As a child I lived in fear of the basement and the bathtub, where they lurked regal and still, until scurrying. I poisoned them ruthlessly, watching their soaked dimminished bodys slide down the porcelin. I wrote poems about them with jewelled eyes and saddles. In high school I attempted to fulfill a biology assignment with a long written rant about the centipede without actually reading anything about them. My only information was from Papillon, where the hero is menaced by thrtee foot long centipedes as thick as small snakes. But recvently, moving into a new house with a greater than usual number of centipedes, I went online to find out if I was infested and what to do. There I discovered that centipedes do not reproduce in large numbers, that they eat other bugs, that they are harmless to humans, that they are solitary. And getting rid of them would mean laying down a perimeter of poison. I couldn't do that. Around this time, I was digging in the garden and one scurried in that horrible way out of the leafmold and over my hand and onto a rock. I was startled but I stared a long time at the fellow and made my peace with him. They are the primary predator of their world. With respect my horror lessened. I still hate idea of opening the shower curtain and seeing on clinging to the walls, or worse, closing the shower curtain and seeing one on it! But I let them scurry away. I wonder if the french ones are any different? Do they go on strike?

  3. Jon, I just realized I owe you an email! In France the centipedes are smaller but I don't see so many of them. I don't know as if I've ever lived in a centipede-dense place. Glad to see you're facing your fears. I know what you mean about the poison too. I just had too lay some down because I've seen rats running past my front door into the house being renovated next door. Mice and centipedes are one thing, but rats must be stopped at all costs. Also, Burroughs had a horror of centipedes, forming the basis of innumerable hallucinatory passages in his 70's writings. I can see what people hate about them!

    Miji, cool passage. I'm trying to imagine a centipede with a donkey's head--this should get worked into our recent discussion about the ass, as in donkey that is.

  4. Great quote, miji67! Probably more relevant to this site than my post!

    Jon -- It's good to hear from you. I'm mostly with you. I've stopped killing them. I try to admire them as the lions of their Serengeti, but I can't seem to find any beauty or joy, just raw animal horror.

    On the other hand, I've noticed that we have fewer spiders in our basement, which is a shame, because I enjoy finding and watching them.

    Ironically, the spiders here can actually bite humans, whereas the centipedes cannot.


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