“The creature that we keep finding is super twisty, super fast. It has a number of legs, and its body is a very pale yellow or khaki,” states this reader about the organisms showing up at the daycare she works at.
In addition to the characteristics listed above, she adds that the organisms have “two little antennae” and they are “about an inch in length, but only a millimetre or two in width.” She explains that she was not able to send in any pictures of the creatures because they move too fast. Our reader is based in Denton, Texas and has written to us before, to which we say “welcome back!”.
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At the daycare, our reader spends “a lot of time digging” with the children that she takes care of. “I try to help the children learn which bugs are safe to touch and which ones are better just to watch. I’m also relatively certain that they sting, because one got in my shirt once and left a line of red marks in its wake. We find them in the decomposing mulch, usually pretty close to the surface. I can’t seem to find what these guys are. Help?”
Now, even though our reader has not sent in any photos, we have a pretty good idea of what these creatures might be. We want to emphasize the word “might” here, as without any photos, we cannot make an identification that is 100% certain. In any case, we think that the creatures she has been finding are centipedes.
These arthropods match every part of the description our reader gave us. Luckily for her and the children, the smaller the centipede, the less ‘dangerous’ it is. We use this term lightly. Centipedes can indeed bite and sting, which can cause pain, but they are too small to cause any real damage to the human body. That said, we think our reader is correct in teaching her kids that centipedes are better to look at than to interact with.
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Some fun facts about the centipede that may prove interesting to the children at the daycare include: The common house centipede (which may be what our reader found) tends to have 30 legs, even though their name means ‘100 legs’. Because of their many legs, they can run incredibly fast, just like our reader described. There are giant species of centipedes that can be found in Australia, Southeast Asia and New Guinea, among other places. They are far more dangerous, and have even been known to hunt mice and lizards!
In conclusion, we think that the “super fast” and many-legged creatures our reader and the children have been finding are centipedes. Of course, we cannot say this with absolute certainty. We hope this article proves helpful and interesting, and we wish our reader and her kids the very best!