Disbelief over 'terrifying demon' found in Aussie home

People were shocked by the sight of the strange creature, but they're more common than you think.

Another day in Australia means another wild encounter with spiders, insects and wildlife — but this particular run-in has left people reeling in horror.

A photo of a "terrifying" bug lurking in the corner of what appears to be someone's home sparked an array of colourful reactions after being posted to social media on Wednesday night, presumably by the concerned resident. Shocked, the Aussie asked if "anyone else encountered these before".

The image shows a large, creepy-looking black bug with dozens of extremely long legs, described by some as "nightmare material". However — despite their scary appearance — the insect is actually harmless, an expert confirmed to Yahoo News Australia.

An aerial photo of a Sydney street. The house centipede with long legs in the corner of a Aussie home.
An Aussie came across what is believed to be a house centipede, a native species most commonly seen throughout southern Australia. Source: Getty file image/Reddit

While one Reddit user described the creature as a "house demon", the Australian Museum confirmed it is in fact a humble house centipede — a native species that can have up to 191 legs and are seen across the country.

"Their bodies are separated into many small segments, each segment having a single pair of legs (millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment)," The Australian Museum's expert Ciaran Mathewson said. Like the name suggests, the arthropods are found indoors, but also in urban areas and forests.

Internet reacts to 'terrifying house demon'

The photo has garnered hundreds of comments from horrified Aussies with one asking, "what in the depths of hell is that?"

"Those little fellas are fast. And I mean real fast," another said. "Holy s**t that thing is terrifying. I assume you are just burning the house down," a third person wrote.

Centipedes are not as bad as they look

While scary to look at, the centipede is actually "harmless" to people, Mr Mathewson explained. "They have modified their front legs into venom-filled appendages called forcipules. However, it is not common at all to be stung," he said.

That's because "their forcipules are not very strong, making it hard for them to pierce our skin".

If it does happen, however, there will be pain and redness similar to a bee sting, Mr Mathewson explained. But seeing one in your home is actually a good thing.

"They feed on insects which we consider pests, such as silverfish, bed bugs, termites and cockroaches," he added. "They are nocturnal hunters and will chase their prey, moving at very fast speeds of up to 10 body lengths per second."

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