Oh my God! What is that Thing?!?
No, not her. There's enough ugly in the world, so I've done us all a favor by illustrating this post with her pleasantness (photo from Animal Review, which you really must visit). If you care to see the nauseating object of both my fears and this post, and you don't mind giving yourself the chill bumps in the process, consider yourself warned and click here.
Well, I warned you. Never in my life did I lay eyes upon the beasts of which I write until I moved to Chicago, where they grow frightfully large and scurry at terrifying speeds. The speed of light, I'd swear to it. My first abode had 'em aplenty, leaving me terrorized aplenty. During my follow-up two year stint in the gut rehab, I was graciously spared their hideousness, but now that I've moved into another elder dwelling I've once again found these horrors to be my occasional roommates. Small price to pay for the vintage charm? Lucky for me, I don't see their gruesomeness all that often, but I've seen them enough that I've developed startlingly realistic hallucinations that I'm seeing them when I'm not actually seeing them and feeling them on me when I'm not actually feeling them. You catch my drift?
If you catch that I'm drifting into the arena of the phobically unwell, you're probably barking up the right trunk, which is ezatly why I decided to do a little research. Sincing they're again insect extras in the story of my life, and my reactions are now officially questionable, it's time to face the fear and allow science to introduce a little logic into the equation. Here's the lowdown c/o wiki:
They're called "house centipedes." This is a really nice way of saying they are hideously long insects with ungodly amounts of creepy legs (all the better to scurry at breakneck speeds across your home, my dear) and eyes (all the better to see you coming, my dear). Bleh, I'm giving myself the chills already. No kidding, arm hairs are up and at 'em. Accuse me of overreacting if you will, but I've never before seen an insect so responsive to my presence. In fact, I'd venture to say they're capable of cognitive processing. You laugh, but you you'd stop laughing if you saw for yourself the speed at which they zoom. But back to the lowdown:
They're originally from the Mediterranean region. This isn't really a pro, but I'm trying to be positive.
They're insectivores that eat other household bugs. That's pretty cool. But wait, does this mean they have toofs?
In Japan they're referred to as "gejigeji." Hmm, it almost sounds cute. And the Japanese have such good taste.... Oh wait, scratch that, the Japanese often sell them as pets. They're deranged.
Their bite cannot penetrate human skin. Reassuring yet disturbing all the same.
Their venom is too weak to injure humans or pets. Repeat, and see below.
They are the proud bearer of fifteeeeeen pairs of legs. That's, count 'em, THIRTY all together.
Their legs are striped. Think mammalian.
They're yellowish-grey in color. Think bile.
They run at speeds of 16 inches per second. What'd I tell ya? The speed of light.
They are generally 1-2 inches long, but the largest recorded specimen was 6.5 inches. Holy crap. Imagine how fast that one moved. I'm wretching.
They have "well-developed, faceted" eyes. VomitingInMyMouth.
They live anywhere from three to seven years. Time enough to develop cognitive functioning I daresay.
They have fangs. My job here is done.
Although I don't feel much better about their presence in my life, I do feel edified, and I suppose that's something. Know your enemy.