Today my bug book showed up. After the incident with the centipede I ordered a copy of Bugs of Northern California and I have identified the offending centipede.
It is a Garden Centipede, Lithobius spp. “Centipedes are predators and have venomous fangs…” Well, that’s good to know. “Our local species is not dangerous to people, but small children should still avoid handling them.”
On the happy side, “once in the house however, a centipede is no longer in contact with its most cherished substance, moisture.” Which means after awhile they’ll shrivel up and die. “Garden centipedes quickly dry out indoors…” well, the one I found certainly wasn’t “desiccated and shriveled” to about half it’s normal size.
It was still wiggling an hour or so later when I saved it from the trash to photograph it. It did a lot of wiggling from the time I picked it up off the kitchen floor to the time it finally got flushed. Shouldn’t it have dried out by then? It defiantly wasn’t a millipede, maybe it just got extra lucky…