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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

Common Cryptops (Cryptops hortensis)

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Cryptops hortensis is similar to the Garden Centipede, but it is much longer. The Garden Centipede has 15 pairs of legs, this species possesses 21 pairs and it has no eyes. The colour of both species is identical and they are both fast runners. Cryptops hortensis belongs to a Centipede family which also is comprised of the biggest species, such as South American Scolopendra gigantea, a fierce creature reaching some 12", which eats mice, small birds and toads and being able to kill humans too. Cryptops hortensis, the one we find in our garden however never gets any longer than some 1.1". After hatching the young are taken care of by their mom for some time. These young are born with all their feet. The Garden Centipede starts off with less legs than the 15 it finally gets, but adds a pair with every skin change.



Even though the main habitat of the Cryptops hortensis is woodlands, it can frequently be found - as it scientific name already suggests - in gardens. It is very common in England and Wales, but much scarcer in Scotland.
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