Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dead Cricket Walking

 I would like to warn anybody who is reading this, and might have a thing about insects and arachnids.
This entry will have photos.

And a spider.

And maybe that spider will be HUGE on the page, and if you don't like spiders, you might be a little uncomfortable.  Like a little bit uncomfortable enough to jump onto your chair, scream like a girl, and maybe say a bad word.

(Not that *I* did anything like that today, in the middle of a second grade class, oh no.  And the word absolutely did NOT start with an S, and rhyme with spit.  And I most certainly did NOT say it three times in quick succession, at increasingly higher frequencies, so that the third one, while perhaps the loudest, could only be heard by dogs.  Just sayin')

As I have mentioned, I recently set up a Toad Tank in Mrs. Henderson's second grade classroom.  Mrs. Henderson was Nate's teacher two years ago, and we really ended up clicking as friends, and getting along famously.  This year, the toads are named Nate and Kelly, after two of my children. (Skip stated most firmly and emphatically that under NO circumstances, was a toad to be purchased in his honor OR named after him.)

There is perhaps a small amount of potential awkwardness, in that Nate the Toad seems to be quite, um, taken with Kelly The Toad, and they spend a great amount of time... cuddling.

Yup.  Facts of Life, Second Grade Edition.

Anyways.  This is not going to be an entry about toads.

"what?  No toads?  Say it isn't so! Oh!  The humanity!  The toad-manity! (or is that toad-manatee)"

So I  brought in some crickets for Rosie yesterday.  I figured she's had a chance to acclimate to her surroundings, and she might be getting a little bit peckish.  Mrs Henderson had sent me photos by txt the previous evening, showing Rosie boogying around her aquarium, climbing the walls, hanging from the roof, playing in the bush.  Just all-around making herself at home.

It was time to get to know her a little bit more closer-up.

I got there, to discover that Rosie had made herself at home in her little hollow log, even going as far as spinning a tangle of web as an insect 'welcome mat'.

I dropped a meal worm into the net, to see what Rosie's reaction might be.
She twitched.

But she wasn't fast enough, and Lucky Mr. Mealworm was able to extract himself from the web, and burrow down into the thick substrate.

I'm sure he'll resurface in a few weeks as a big juicy black beetle. (ick!)

Next to be dropped into the enclosure were a pair of hapless crickets.

I wasn't fast enough with my camera to catch the first predation, but I did get a pretty good shot of Cricket #2 walking blithely into the lair of doom.  That thing that looks like a grain of rice with a tail in front of Rosie is actually all that remains of Cricket #1 (a leg)

But alas (or fortunately, depending on whether you're a photographer looking for a great shot, or a cricket that just cheated death), Rosie was still busy sucking the lifeblood out of Cricket #1, and let Cricket #2 pass unmolested.

But I wanted a better shot.  So I decided it was time to get a better look at Rosie.  So I moved her house.

I think she's still sucking the last little bits of goodness out of her first meal, so she's a bit distracted as I shoot her.

She's so fuzzy!

And then I wondered what would happen if I tried to pet her.  Maybe she'd realize what a great gal I am, and walk onto my hand, become my friend, and ride around with me on my shoulder, and I'd rename her Charlotte, and she could send me messages in her webs, and we would become famous, and end up on Letterman.

Or maybe she'd freak the heck out, and assume a "Don't touch me again, or I will BITE YOUR THROAT!" stance.

Um, yeah.  I may have said a bad word there.

But fortunately, I got my composure back before I peed my pants, in time to see hapless Cricket #2 make another appearance.

And this time, there would be no mercy.

And then we held the toads some more, because they're WAY less scary than Rosie.  This is Nate the Toad.

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