6 fascinating Centipede Tattoo Meaning and origin

We wonder sometimes, is there anyone who likes insects like a centipede that is venomous in some cases? What are the reasons why people wear centipede tattoos? In this article, you will learn about centipede tattoo meaning varieties in different cultures, their significance, and the styles of wearing them. 

Centipede – A Creature of Anthropology 

You may find a centipede under rocks, decaying tree stumps, or crevices. As this creature is found chiefly in hidden spots and appears when it looks for hunting, feeding, or relocating, people believe this creature tends to be connected to the underworld and afterlife. Compared to the other insects, centipedes are arthropods with many legs and large bodies. 

The poison glands of centipedes’ bodies are very dangerous to human beings. If this insect sits anywhere in the human body, it can cause severe itching and swelling. However, its venom can also act as a solid neurotoxin to kill smaller insects or animals. It is heard that there are more than 7000 species of this creature. 

History of the Centipede Tattoo 

Picture of a Centipede Tattoo on Leg

People like to wear a centipede tattoo as they see this creature as mystical, powerful, and mythical. However, it has a long history with human life—people associated this insect with death, decay, and pestilence. So, in folklore history, the appearance of centipedes was a warning of something terrible that might happen in the future. To immortalize the essence of this creature, they wear a tattoo on their bodies. Wearing the tattoo of this insect may connect them symbolically with occult magic and many dark objects. 

People wear centipede tattoos in different styles. Different cultures and tribes believe that centipede tattoos have spiritual and ancestral meanings. The significance it bears fosters the tattoo users to pay tribute to their cultural beliefs. Some common established meanings of centipede tattoos are signs of death and war,  ancestors, and an interrelation between our earthly life and the afterlife. 

Also Read- Detailed Guide to Know about Pegasus Tattoo Meaning

Centipede Tattoo Meaning in Different Cultures

Every part of nature was previously connected spiritually to people. There were different symbols of animals and insects in other tribes. Likewise, centipede tattoo has also some meanings in the cultures as follows:

Native American 

We have many references where we see the native Americans believed that insects and animals are a medium to connect people’s present life to the past or future. They helped the people connect to their ancestors, which showed them some power. To the native Americans, centipedes were a symbol of power and evil. 

This creature connects the underworld and the physical realm. It was a source of great strength to them. The shamans used to wear a centipede tattoo. The people from the Zuni tribe put on this tattoo as an inspiration to travel between two worlds.


In the Philippines, the centipede was considered an omen insect, and this insect’s tattoos were known as Gayaman. People used to paint this tattoo on the bodies of warriors and women, caves, pictures, etc. This tattoo was a symbol of the power to travel safely. The warriors used to wear this tattoo as a source to boost their abilities and strength. 

Samoan Culture  

In Samoan culture, the centipede tattoo was known as Atualua, which means long God. People from this culture also wear this tattoo to feel the connection between their ancestors and their descendants. 


Centipedes acted as messengers from the underworld who were unsuccessful in their missions.

Celtic Tradition

According to their ideology, Celtic people don’t like to wear this tattoo since it symbolizes death or bad luck. 

Eastern-Asian Culture 

In Eastern-Asian culture, the centipede tattoo style is quite familiar to many. For example, the centipede was an excellent Chinese medicine for epilepsy patients. On the other hand, in Japanese culture, the centipede tattoo meant danger or intimidation. 

Different Designs of Centipede Tattoos

A tattoo artist can portray the centipede tattoo in numerous ways. To many, a centipede is a fantastic choice for a tattoo as it has various meanings in different cultures. However, some standard centipede tattoo designs expose fascinating thoughts of the bearer. The exclusive can addition, the centipede tattoo designs also can enhance the user’s look. 

Centipede Human Head Tattoo 

A centipede tattoo with a human head symbolizes rebirth. The user may believe that every end is the starting point of a new beginning. So, death is not the last stage of life for them.

Centipede Skull Tattoo 

Centipede skull tattoo is a familiar variation that holds multiple interpretations. Usually, the centipede skull tattoo represents mortality but is also a symbol of the fear of death and certainty of the demise of human beings. 


What are the positive associations of centipedes despite having some negative impressions?

Though centipedes symbolize death or decay, they have some positive associations like changes, positive transformation, or new beginnings. Apart from these, they also represent speed, power, and strength. 

Who wears centipede tattoos?

Men mostly wear centipede tattoos. Girls usually don’t put on centipede tattoos, but some girls like to have them on the ankle, finger, or behind the ear in a smaller form. In addition, girls want to have tattoos in colorful designs with some flowers surrounding the main tattoo design.

What does a centipede tattoo represent in Asian culture? 

Centipede tattoos represent fortune and good luck in Asian culture. The people in this culture believe that this insect brings good luck to their home while walking into the house.

What are the preferred placements of the body for a centipede tattoo?

Many people like to wear a centipede tattoo on the shoulder with a blank middle space where they can have the art of anything they want. For girls, arms, ankles, or fingers are popular places to get this tattoo design. 

Final Thoughts 

People like to wear their preferred tattoos in different styles and colors. In the current culture, we are more likely to choose the traditional methods and styles of tattoo art. The centipede tattoo holds a spiritual symbol for many cultures and tribes. The users wear this believing the tattoo can connect them spiritually with their ancestors or traditions. Hopefully, the above discussion on the centipede tattoo meaning has cleared your confusion about its significance and why its meaning is considerably intriguing. 

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