The Pitter-patter of Tiny Li’l Feet

This summer has seen the usual invasions of spiders and stick insects as well as wetas; but the weta invaders have been fewer in number than previous years.

The spiders are generally the jumping kind, and easily detected as they twitch to watch you as you walk into the room – the slight movement gives them away instantly. Removal needs to be quick because, if they decide to scarper, they can engage those eight legs in a very effective manner.

In years past I used to scoop them up and take them outside by hand. But on the last occasion, I paused to look more closely, and noticed how large their fangs are. “Oooh, errr,” I thought. “I might get a nasty nip if he decides that this trip isn’t to his liking.” Nowadays, they are swept up by a rolling motion of one of those fluffy dusters and carried outside to the garden. Painless for them, and lower stress for me.

The stick insects have been most co-operative this year. Usually they take their time in climbing onto a proffered piece of cardboard or greenery for their trip back outside. There have been fewer adults and more babies invading the house this year; a good sign, I hope, that they are breeding well. The youngsters seem quite happy to climb onto the sprig of greenery, possibly because they have quickly discovered that it is actually drier inside the house than out. However, they seem to enjoy the ride so much that they don’t want to get off at their destination. Perhaps, like the young humans of today, their expectations have risen; and they actually expect a trip to Fiji or somewhere exotic to be their due instead of a quick return to the same boring old garden.

The house was invaded by a hundred footer this morning. The appearance of a centipede near the kitchen door was a first. It was just a baby, so I’m wondering where mum is lurking – hopefully not in the nearby pantry gobbling up goodies with the rest of her brood.

Young Centy, as I named him (or her?) was most co-operative but rather fast moving when it came to the removal routine. At first he was reluctant to climb onto a sheet of cardboard, but soon realised that there was little alternative. Once aboard, the command “By the left, quick march!” was issued and like a platoon of soldiers he was off with his fifty left feet. Within a few seconds he’d managed to sinuously cover half of the cardboard and it looked like the trip might end in disaster. They don’t have sticky feet so I had anticipated that, like pre-Columbus humans, he would soon find the edge of his world and sail off the edge.

Fortunately, Centy seems to have had proper military training and executed a very deft U-turn about three-quarters of the way across the sheet and started heading back from whence he came. This gave just enough time to get him to the safety of the lawn where he stomped off the edge of the sheet without flinching.

Ah. The delights of the leafy section. If only the fauna would stay amongst the flora and refrain from coming indoora.

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