Millipedes are found all over the world but are most common in tropical areas. Most millipedes are herbivores and feed on rotting vegetation. They are found under logs and stones, in moist soil and under leaf litter. They usually avoid light.
Most millipedes feed on decaying vegetation, but Shelley mentions one species of semi-aquatic millipede from caves in Italy which has mouthpart "modified to remove organic, clay, and limestone particles from the substrates of rivulets and moist surfaces of banks."
Creatures like the millipede, with its multitudes of legs, may seem unpleasant to some people, but they are not
dangerous. The gentle millipede does not bite and it performs a valuable service for humans: it is one of nature's
best composters--eating decaying plants and returning the organic matter to the soil.
Millipedes do NOT like the light and tend to hide under logs and other debris, and will often burrow into the ground. Their hard exoskeleton affords some protection against predators. When threatened, they will coil up in a ball to protect the more vulnerable underside. Some also have a noxious secretion used to deter predators. Eyesight is poor to non-existent in millipedes. They sense by way of their antennae which continually tap the ground as the millipede moves along.
Millipedes will periodically molt, shedding their exoskeleton. This is a vulnerable time for the animals. With each molt, more body segments and legs are added. Millipedes mature according to the following pattern: