• Liz Lopez

Emergency Broadcast Alert – Barbados Centipedes

Once upon a time, I met a man named Greg. We encountered each other at Pebbles Beach, in Barbados, while our kids played together in the water. I thought we hit it off and I thought he was my friend. He told me that I shouldn’t be too worried about the life destroying centipedes in Barbados, that they were mostly found near the sugar cane in the middle of the island.

Greg – YOU LIED TO ME. We found this in our kitchen. It was on my husband’s foot until he felt it crawling and kicked his foot into the air, sending it across our kitchen. He yelled, I ran in, Penny and Cal ran in, and we watched in horror as the snake like creature in our kitchen scurried, much too fast for my taste, from one spot to another. I screamed ‘Kill it, kill it’ but my husband just grabbed a tissue box and barricaded it from crawling under the cabinet.

Then I grabbed a shoe and brought it down on the creature like Ned Stark’s beheader. To my horror, it’s guts flew everywhere! Then I realized it was actually the mud from my husband’s shoes catapulting from the force of the explosion.

The slithering critter was impaired and I was hell bent on killing it, but we were terrified and fascinated all at once. The dog wasn’t interested in investigating, like she does everything else; instead she saw it and hid under the table.

Lopez insisted he respected the centipede, for its ancestral history and evolution through the last 250 million years. So he grabbed a spoon and gave it a second chance, picking up the injured but still squirming body and throwing it over the patio railing and into our small yard.

Here is what Barbados Pocket Guide has to say about our new house guest:

The first pair of limbs in centipedes end in sharp, poisonous claws that aid in killing or paralyzing its prey. Human beings can fall victim to bites from centipedes but the poison usually only causes a mild reaction that may be similar to that of a bee sting. In the case of a child or those who may have allergic reactions to the centipedes, immediate medical attention should be sought.