This is a Texas Redhead centipede.
This is what nightmares are made of.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) released this photo on Facebook Friday of a redheaded centipede—with its long black body, yellow pointy legs, red head and antennas—latched on to a broom in Garner State Park in the Hill Country.
As terrifying as it looks, TPWD officials say it doesn’t pose much of a threat to humans.
“As far as invertebrates go, the giant redheaded centipede is one bad dude,” Ben Hutchins with TPWD said. “Bites are usually rather mild, resulting in a sharp, painful sting that is sometimes accompanied by swelling, usually subsiding after a few hours.
“In rarer cases, bites cause minor skin necrosis, dizziness, nausea and headaches.”
OK, so it’s not going to seriously harm you, and if it does bite you, it’s not likely going to be anything too severe. But what about the threat it poses to its wildlife counterparts. Well, that’s a different story.
The redheaded centipede often feeds on lizards, snakes and toads, according to TPWD. As for its South American relatives, those are big and powerful enough to leap into the air and catch flying bugs and even, in some reported cases, bats.
“They use their legs to grasp prey while feeding and their ‘fangs’ (actually an additional pair of highly modified legs) are capable of piercing the skin and injecting a painful toxin,” Hutchins said.
On TWPD’s Facebook page, people shared their thoughts on the giant critter.
“Everything is BIGGER in Texas, especially the bugs!!” said JoAnn Lange.
“There are so MANY REASONS to love living in Texas. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM,” said Shannon Smith.
“It’s official name is the Texas Redhead but everyone just calls it KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT,” joked Jason Danforth.
Fortunately if you come across a Texas Redhead, it’s likely going to flee back into the grass or under a log.
“While caution is certainly warranted when dealing with the giant redheaded centipede, downright terror is probably an overreaction,” Hutchins said.