|Giant Wētā - many species of these are endangered|
I find all of these insects fascinating, if a little scary. They can inflict
quite a bite, but they only do so if they're scared.
I've found them in gumboots, crawling out of the laundry sink, sitting on the
rim of the toilet - in dry weather they seek out moisture and it's common for them
to appear in basins and hosepipes...
|Tusked Wētā - the tusks are for fighting|
A few more cool facts:
- the Wētā has changed very little in the last 100 Million years! (fossil evidence)
- the Giant Wētā is so heavy it cannot jump
- the largest ever recorded was a female which weighed 71 grams,
- 3 times heavier than a mouse
- alpine ground Wētā can survive being frozen, although they don't
- contain anti-freeze
- ground Wētā are the only group who don't have their ears on their front legs
- the plural of Wētā is Wētā
|Male giant Wētā|
I hope you've enjoyed meeting these creatures. I've had a couple of nips on a finger, which have caused no real damage. They seem aggressive - they can do a good line in hissing and waving their back legs at you - but they're no danger at all. I would never kill one - it's easy to lift them on a shovel or something and put them safely out in the garden.
And then there's Weta Digital - the local New Zealand design animation company who have made special effects for Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Tin-Tin, Rise of The Planet of the Apes, X-Men, King Kong and a host of other movies... but that's another story entirely.