A mother’s love is usually a thing of beauty, but this skin-crawling footage of a centipede embracing her new-born babies might just be the exception.
The frightening video shows the 6-inch (15cm) long creepy crawly wrapped around 80 hatchlings to protect them as they scurry over one another inside an enclosure.
Captured last week in the Philippines’ Manila, the footage has sent the internet into a spin with millions of views and comments.
And while most keep cats or dogs as pets John Heidel Raquel, 22, prefers companionship from this 100-legged beast and her translucent offspring.
Real estate agent Mr Raquel said: ‘I think people appreciate this on different levels.
‘On one hand it looks very unique like an alien being but on the other hand, it’s touching because of how well this mother cares for and protects her young.
‘The maternal care of centipedes is really amazing. She spends a whole month keeping watch over her babies without eating.’
In the video, the mother can be seen ‘cuddling’ her hatchlings and wrapping them in a ball with her body.
Some species of centipede leave their eggs to develop on their own, but others take care of them.
The centipede featured in the video, known as Scolopendra Morsitans, is seen caring for the hatchlings until they’ve moulted once or twice.
By wrapping their bodies around their brood, the mother protects them from any nearby predators such as mice or toads.
However, if the mothers are grimly threatened during this period, they may eat the eggs rather than let the intruder do so.
The insect-lover found the wild centipede in his garden last year and decided to take it into his care.
Though he has spent plenty of time watching the poisonous critter since she gave birth last month, Mr Raquel knows better than risking a dangerous bite.
He has good reason for his trepidation as it has been known for centipede bites from similar species to result in human fatalities in the Philippines.
Mr Raquel said: ‘It’s definitely not advisable to touch centipedes, they’re born killers.
‘There have been cases where they have killed humans and even cows.
‘I’m just amazed to see how popular this has gone. I think it’s creepy, but people can see the love behind it.’