If you turn over a rock or a log, you might see small tunnels with hundreds of little bugs swarming in them. These are ants. Ants can lift objects MANY times their own weight, making them pound for pound, one of the strongest animals in the world. These common little creatures come in all different shapes and sizes and live all over the world. There are more ants than humans in the world. Different types of ants can bite, sting, and even spray formic acid at predators as well as prey. There are lots of species of ants that have been discovered.These social insects are usually harmless, but some can be very painful. Bullet Ants do not eat meat, but they do sting. It feels as if you have been shot! People used to tie prisoners up near Driver Ant’s nests and let the ants bite and sting the prisoners to death. Army Ants have no permanent nest. They march in thick lines, killing anything unlucky enough to stumble into the swarm, from cockroaches to pythons.Ants are amazing.
Grasshoppers are common insects that come in all shapes and sizes. These popular insects can jump about a meter in length. That would be the same as you leaping over a football field! They accomplish this amazing feat with the help of their powerful hind legs, which act like mini catapults. They can also fly and walk. Grasshoppers are active mostly by day, unlike their cricket and katydid relatives, which are active by night. Grasshoppers are in the order Orthoptera. There are more than 11,000 species of grasshopper worldwide, including the colorful Painted Grasshopper and the common Differential Grasshopper. They live on every continent except Antarctica. Did you know that grasshoppers are the same thing as locusts? They are only usually called locusts when they swarm. Grasshoppers are awesome.
It is such an excitement when we find a toad. We usually find ones about 2 or 3 inches long. I found one at my friend’s house. We were playing baseball, when suddenly, a toad hopped onto home plate! I caught him and we found a container that we put leaves and dirt in. I named him Toad-ally Awesome.
I could put him in the middle of an ant swarm and he would eat the ants one by one. One time when we went to Mingo Observatory, I found a huge toad. I picked it up, it peed on my hand, and then jumped onto my mom’s head. My mom screamed. I quickly got it off of her head and my mom started laughing. Toads are really fun.
One of my favorite spiders is the Banded Garden Spider. The females have black, yellow, and silver bands all over their abdomen, giving them their name. Females are a lot bigger and bulkier than males with bands going all the way down their legs, unlike the males which have solid brown legs. Males have no bands, but do have gold highlights on the abdomen. These are big spiders and, like all spiders, are venomous and can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly. Although their bites hurt, they are not deadly and will only leave a red mark for a little while. These spiders build orb-shaped webs that can be as big as 2 feet wide and are found in tall plants and grasses. However, I had one that built a web on our fence and another constructed a web on our deck. The one on the fence I called the Treehopper Terror because every day when I went to check on her, she would have at least 10 Treehoppers stuck in her web. These spiders are really cool.