Sunday, October 02, 2005
New Babies in My Home
My New Bugs
My friend Pol had a hatching of stick insects at her house recently: little twiggy bugs crawling merrily through the aquarium in her young son's bedroom.
"How about if you take two, in case one dies?", she offered cheerily. "Or three?"
They are really fascinating little creatures, and I've gotten to know the grown-up stick bugs (Sticky, Stanley, and Sylvan)at her house over the years, so hmmmm.....
I really haven't had any jars of insect life sitting around in my home for ages. Isn't it about time I asked myself?
Isn't it time to re-explore those childhood days when I had buckets of pond-life on my door-step, insects galore waiting to be fed in various containers, and perhaps some small form of road-kill being skeletonized by my own little maggot-farm?
Ewww, gross, Spider-Girl! you are probably saying to yourself. We didn't know you were such a warped child...
Well, let me just say that back then I was SURE I'd follow in the foot-steps of the great naturalist and childhood bug-hunter Gerald Durrell. I kept a copy of his wonderful book "The Amateur Naturalist" close at hand and read with zeal about how to keep insect zoos and so forth. I'm sure I was a trial to my parents.
But I digress.
So now I have five infant stick insects (maybe half an inch long) crawling around in a ventilated and well-misted peanut-butter jar lined with soil and some tasty ivy to tide them over until I can pick them some yummy blackberry leaves.
They are apparently quite easy to keep and when they grow a bit bigger and less delicate I plan on bringing them in to the preschool to show the children.
HOWEVER, there were a few cautions that came with my little baby sticks.
DON'T put them on a windowsill with strong sunlight. It'll kill them.
DON'T let their aquarium dry out. It needs to be well-misted but not wet.
And DON'T let them escape. Don't let them anywhere near outside and Nature. They're not native to this area and they are PARTHOGENIC (my new big word of the day) and this means that the females can reproduce without the aid of a male.
Hmmmm....so this means if my baby insects are girls, and there is a strong possibility that most or all ARE female, then I'll be calling y'all on the horn soon and asking if you want some baby stick insects of your own.
C'mon, they're cute!
Hmmmm...there was another warning, something Pol said I should not forget. What WAS that important thing again?....
Oh yeah... NEVER EVER feed them after midnight. :)