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Working with nature


KEEPING YOUR VELVET WORMS

Peripatus novaezealandia

Velvet worms main requirement is a dark and damp place, where they can spend the days motionless and come out to hunt at night.  Their prey is small invertebrates and small mollusks.  They shoot an adhesive liquid from a receptacle located near their mouth,  when this adhesive dries, after few seconds, the prey gets stuck to the ground and cannot escape,the velvet worm then approaches its prey with its mandibles and pokes a hole in the prey and secretes digestives juices, finally it applies its mouth to the wound and sucks out the food from the victim.  This “sticky glue” is also used as a defense against their own predators.


TEMPERATURE The ideal conditions for the velvet worms is cool room temperature with a regular fine water spray in the cage, keeping the cage damp at all times. It is essential that the water used is rain water as they cannot tolerate any chemicals on their skin.

SUBSTRATE Any soil based substrate can be used like, Coir (coconut husk), vermiculite or even garden soil. Keep this substrate slightly moist by spraying (very lightly) with water and place wood, bark and moss on the surface for hiding places. The Water used should be rain water.

We find tupperware style boxes serve well as cages with only minimal ventilation added.