Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. In Part I of this article we looked at the importance of calcium, leaf litter and decaying wood in the diet of the African giant millipede (Achispirospreptus gigas) and its relatives.
Few field studies have been made of millipedes in the wild, and we therefore know little about their exact nutritional needs. Based on experience with related species, and in the hopes of providing as many nutrients as possible, I began offering African giant millipedes a wide variety of food items. With the help of colleagues here and abroad, I eventually arrived at a diet that has allowed me to breed a number of native and exotic millipedes, and to maintain individual animals for over 10 years.
A Useful Millipede Diet
In addition to leaf litter and wood (please see Part I of this article), I feed most millipedes a mixed salad of yam, carrot, kale, cucumber, apple, banana and a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables. To this is added moistened insect gut-loading diet and tropical fish flakes, both of which supply necessary protein, and a bit of Forest Tortoise Food.
San Francisco Bay Prepared Tortoise Food is a convenient means of providing a wide variety of nutritious foods, and is readily accepted by many millipedes. I use this as an occasional supplement, or mix it into the regular salad. All food offered is powdered with Reptocal.
You can read more about giant millipedes and how they are kept at the Fort Worth Zoo.
Millipedes have an unusual defense mechanism, which, in some cases, is exploited by monkeys. To read about my experiences and “close call” with millipede-generated cyanide, please see Millipede Emergency: the Dark Side of a Peaceful Terrarium Invertebrate.
We still have a lot to learn…please write in with your own millipede diets and any questions you may have.
Thanks, until next time,