Animal world has its own toxic killer and it’s shocking pink

TUESDAY, MAY 09, 2023

With cyanide, a regulated toxic substance, currently under the spotlight due to its use by suspected serial killer Sararat "Am" Rangsiwuthaporn, the national park authority on Monday pointed out that animals, too, can create the poison as a natural defense mechanism.

In a facebook post on Monday, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) shared photos of the bizarre “shocking pink millipede” found only in Tham Prathun No Hunting Zone in Uthai Thani’s Lan Sak district.

Chulalongkorn University biodiversity researcher Prof Somsak Panha discovered the critter in 2007 and gave it the fancy name that exactly describes its unique color. A year later, the shocking pink millipede was certified as a new species by the International Institute of Species Exploration (IISE).

The IISE classified the millipede in the same family as Paradoxosomatidea. According to the agency, an adult shocking pink millipede can grow to 7 cm long with 20-40 segments.

Most importantly, this colourful creature is also deadly, as it can create and release a cyanide-like poison to defend itself from predators.

“You can find shocking pink millipedes in the ancient forests of Tham Prathun from July to November,” said the DNP. “The no hunting zone is also home to rare and protected animals such as serows, who usually come out at night to feed.”

Tham Prathun No Hunting Zone is open to visitors daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm, but recommended visiting hours are 11am to 1pm, when the sunlight illuminates a cave full of stalactites, creating a magnificent view and making it one the most famous attractions of Uthai Thani.