Poisonous Millipedes of the Costa Rican jungle, and my nightmares!

During one of the jungle excursions I was on in Costa Rica I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. At a about 4-5 inches long, I immediately thought I had found some funky caterpillar. I was way wrong. On closer inspection it was the stuff of nightmares, at least for me. Millipedes and Centipedes are to me, like snakes are to Indian Jones. They absolutely make my skin crawl. That being said I still had to face my fears and observe this fellow on his journey through the jungle. I would later find out it was actually poisonous also.

When threatened the millipede will curl up into a little ball and secret a liquid which contains hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde. It is not potent enough to threaten human health, however I wasn’t going to find out first hand. After a quick photo opportunity the millipede disappeared into a crevice of an old tree stump. I was thankful for the encounter, and just as thankful that it was over as I continued on my way.