Home | Frank's Creatures | Millipede Diets – Feeding the Giant African Millipede and its Relatives – Part 2

Millipede Diets – Feeding the Giant African Millipede and its Relatives – Part 2

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. 

Research Needed

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, Mating Millipedesand 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.

Further Reading

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,

Frank Indiviglio

4 comments

  1. avatar

    I recently obtained two female african giant millipedes. I love them. I was interested in finding out how they get their protein in the wild. Also wondering if anyone might have males for sale. I would love to eventually get a male.

  2. avatar

    Hello Sanna, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest. Good question…not many direct observations of millipedes feeding in the wild have been published. However, what typically happens is that as the millipedes consume leaf litter and decaying wood, they also take in tiny invertebrates (springtails, nematodes), insect eggs, shed skins, droppings and other protein sources; if you take a look at a handful of damp leaf litter, you’ll see that it’s a veritable “soup” of organic material. Some species will feed upon animal carcasses as well, but I don’t believe this has been reported for Giant African Millipede.

    Hatari Invertebrates is the best source; the staff is very knowledgeable and will pick out a male if you ask. I don’t see any listed right now (availability always varies) but keep an eye on their list. Some suppliers advertise on Kingsnake.com as well; not all will sex the animals, but smaller specialist breeders will.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Thanks for the info. I will definitely keep checking their site. I do have a vendor to buy males from. But am looking to get one cheaper than he has them for. I would like to get one in the next year or so if possible. Don’t want to miss out on the chance to breed my females. I will definitely let you know how things work out.

    thanks

    Sanna

  4. avatar

    Hello Sanna, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback; I look forward to hearing how all progresses. We still have a lot to learn, so please keep notes and pass along your thoughts.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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