A photo of an unusually large centipede was posted on Facebook by Texas Parks and Wildlife proving that everything really is bigger in Texas.
The giant redhead centipede (Scolopendra heros) is a species found south of the border in Mexico, and in the south-central and southwestern regions of the U.S., reports UPI.
The centipedes can be anywhere between 6 1/2 to 8 inches long. They usually have 21 to 23 legs, all capable of piercing the skin and injecting a painful toxin.
They are commonly referred to as Texas redheads, although their heads are not always red. Their bodies usually take on a variety of black and red patterns meant to warn off predators.
Texas redheads usually prey on lizards and toads, but have been known to hunt rodents and snakes.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, a Civil War soldier died after being bitten on the chest by a Texas redhead while sleeping. Although the story is unconfirmed, the centipede’s fangs do pack a poisonous punch.
The latest sighting happened in Texas’s Hill Country. The photo did freak a lot of people out on social media, but UPI reported that the centipede’s bite is usually only accompanied by temporary pain and swelling. Sometimes nausea and headaches can occur, but cases of necrosis and cardiac arrest are rare.
"While caution is certainly warranted when dealing with the giant redheaded centipede, downright terror is probably an overreaction,” the magazine explains.
Photo Credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife via UPI