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Velvet Worms

Velvet Worms
Peripatus sp.

Velvet Worms are strange but fascinating little creatures. Feeding on live insects, they suck out the soft tissue while their victim is still alive. Rarely seen or owned, these are a must for any collector!

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What a Velvet Worm look like?

The velvet worm has to be the strangest, but attractive little creature I have come across. They are named Velvet Worms as they have a velvet texture, but are not worms. This species grows to an average adult size of 40mm (1.5 inches). The colour ranges from almost black to dark brown with light speckles. They have 14 or more little stumpy legs and two antennae protrude from the head. From these antennae a fluid is squirted which is sticky to the touch, this is how they catch their prey. The food becomes tangled within the sticky threads, the velvet worm then bites one hole and sucks the soft tissue out!

There are two species in New Zealand that are very hard to tell apart, one will lay small white eggs, while the other gives birth to live young.

Where are Velvet Worms from?

Found in New Zealand.

This species of velvet worm doesn't like to be kept to hot, a room temperature of 18-22C (64-74F) should be provided. Keep their habitat damp by using soil, moss and rotting wood. It will help if you spray lightly with treated water every day.

A voracious, nocturnal predator.

Are Velvet Worms easy to keep?

Yes, as long as you have the correct set-up.

As mentioned above, velvet worms like to be kept cool and damp. Place soil in the bottom of your container covered with damp moss. Use rotting wood and small pieces of stones to provide hides during the day as velvet worms are nocturnal and hunt at night.

Feeding velvet worms is easy, purchase small crickets from our Live Foods section or catch your own in your back garden. The live foods need to be quite small and nothing to big and over powering for the velvet worm. Place a few small crickets in the container every 2/3 days.

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