Giant African Millipede | Fun Facts And Science Behind It

Do you want to know about giant African millipede? About their behavior and how they look? Let’s know in this article. 

The Millipede means “thousands of feet.” Average Millipede has almost 300-400 legs. These are bigger arthropods, having a segmented body and many legs.

When it comes to self-defense, it has poor jaws; it cannot deliver a strong bite to its predators. But it can coil its segmented body and secrete a foul fluid through body pores. This fluid is used as a protector because of its foul smell and toxic fluid; it can be dangerous to human health.  


Scientific name: Archispirostreptus gigas

Family: Spirostreptidae

Order: Spirostreptida

Class: Diplopoda

Range: Eastern Africa

Lifespan: 7-10 years

What does a Millipede look like?

These are the greatest millipedes in the world. Their average size is about * 12 inches, and sometimes they can reach up to 15 inches long. 

As their name suggests, there are hundreds of legs of millipedes. When we see the millipedes, they look like they have a lot of legs, but millipedes have four legs for each body segment. Mature millipedes have 100 to 400 legs. 

On the head, there are two antennas and two eyes. They have an outer shell that is black and brown.

Habitat: Giant African Millipede

The millipedes do their best work in captivity when provided with a proper and suitable environment. An aquarium of 10-15 gallons is enough for a few millipedes. To prevent millipedes from escaping, a tight lid should be present at the top of the aquarium. But this lid should have small holes so the air could enter the aquarium. 

Millipedes mostly prefer warm and dark areas to live. Their typical hiding place is rotten wood, where they can easily curl up and save themselves from predators. 

How do they behave?

Giant African millipedes are more active at night than in the daytime. They cannot see clearly and use their antennae to observe things and use them for smelling and feeding. 

They can walk gradually because they cannot move their legs freely.

They live on land and spend much time under leaves and loose soil. When they have any danger, they twist themselves into a coil and release a harmful chemical to warn the predator.

What do they eat?

The millipedes feed on dead matter, plants and animals, fruits, and vegetables from the forest. Their feces contain a high amount of nutrients that can fill up the soil. They are provided with fruits, vitamins, and vegetables in the happy hollow.  

How are they born? Giant African Millipede

Adult Millipede release a chemical known as pheromones which attract the mate. Males differ from females, as females have a pair of gonopods on the body segments. Millipede females produce many eggs in the nests under the soil. The outer layer protects the eggs until they hatch. 

After that, there is no need to take care of parents. Newly hatched millipedes are known as Neonates with three white body segments. As well as growing, they molt many times until they become mature. As a result of every molting, the number of legs and segments increase in number and size. 

Should you keep a millipede as a pet?

Suppose you want to keep a pet that is easy to care for. No need to look further; look at the giant Millipede. 

Their care method is easy; they need a safe aquarium with warm and optimum humidity. They eat vegetables, fruits, and easily available things. 

Wash your hands after touching the Millipede because they release a chemical that can be proven to harm you when they are threatened.

You should also know about their basic needs.

Specific substrate needs

Millipedes prefer to burrow a little, almost 3-4 inch layer of peat moss. You should add some sphagnum moss in their aquarium for additional cover. You can use leaf litter, but you should freeze them to kill bacteria and insects that may be present in it.

Specific heat and humidity

There are many ideas about the proper temperature range for giant millipedes. Giant millipedes live in tropical climates. Some keepers suggest that the aquarium tank temperature must be 7580 degrees Fahrenheit. 

For this purpose, you should buy a heater and keep them under the tank. If the heater heats the tank too much, then the heater should be replaced from side to back of the tank. 

If you don’t have such a heater, your room temperature must be 72 Fahrenheit during day time. The humidity of the tank should be 75-80%. 

Common health problems with giant millipedes:

Millipedes have some common health issues; mites are common in them. They can harm your millipedes if you have purchased them from any unreliable breeder. 

Mites live on the Millipede’s body and clean their body, but some stay for a long time on their body like a parasite. You should remove them with tweezers as early as possible.  

The millipedes can also have fungal infections due to the tank environment. The increase and decrease in humidity level can cause this condition.  You should also read about Wholphin / Wolphin


The giant African millipede can reach up to 13 inches in length. Only one color is not specific for these creatures, but they have other colors like brown and chocolate. 

Millipedes secrete a chemical when alert that can affect your mouth and eyes. So wash your hands after handling the giant millipedes. 

The simple way of care makes it easier to keep them as pets. Their average life span is 5 to 7 years. But they can live up to 10 years by providing proper diet and care.

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