Tara with snake

My daughter has loved bugs for as long as I can remember. My brother and his girlfriend bought her two bug books for her birthday, and she is NUTS for those bug books. She’s got both of them well-worn and pages dog-eared and everything. We’ve been the proud pet owners of half the creatures described in them. Thankfully, she decided to let everyone free when school started. She took her books to her dad’s (she lives with him when school’s in session), but I’m sure they’re getting just as much use there.

At first she was using glass quart jars – a different jar for each bug, except for the three ant lions in a cardboard box. We had so much fun building an ant farm by placing a smaller, narrow jar inside a quart jar, leaving only a thin band of dirt around the outside for the ants to dig in.  Then she got a grasshopper and a cricket, and felt sorry for them not being able to hop very well. (Actually, every time they hopped, they whacked themselves against the jar – ouch!)

And then it rained, and soaked the ant lions and curled the cardboard top off the ants. I sent my boyfriend and her off to Fred Meyer to get a “bug cage.” I don’t know if this is a normal accessory in every kid family, but my kid has owned a bug cage (which is really your stereotypical acrylic terrarium) since she was dinky.

{–Her last one had been cracked, repaired, then cracked again, and then lost when “friends” borrowed it, left it on Old Man McGregor’s Farm, and McGregor confiscated it to teach those little brats a lesson about leaving their stuff on his property. My daughter was so bummed. She went to his house to get it and he wouldn’t give it to her. I told her think about that next time, and either not lend her stuff to friends, or double-check every so often to make sure they bring her stuff back. No way to learn these things without getting screwed a few times….–}

They got the terrarium and she decided to put ALL the bugs in there, plus the two garter snakes she had caught. What a trooper! I think it would take me awhile to catch snakes by hand like she does. She’s even been “bit” a few times, and now that doesn’t even spook her. “Oh Mom, they just bite to try and scare you away. But it doesn’t hurt, so it doesn’t scare me. What I don’t like is when they poop all over me.” Well, she certainly has her priorities figured out.

Every so often she’d replenish the ants or the grasshoppers when their populations dropped due to being somebody’s lunch. She spent hours with the damn things – preparing them special foods, putting fresh water in their bowl (an upside-down bottle cap). When she went to her dad’s on weekends, she actually left us a list of what to feed each creature. She chopped up veggies and fruits and put them in separate baggies which were labeled according to which bug ate that stuff. To die for!

Comments from the old blog:


That must be very fascinating indeed. I can understand why she so much loves to feed and care about those tiny bugs! Must be great fun to learn with them, i guess.  And what  a beautiful girl she is!


Oh Sam, thank you for your comments. I really have learned SO MUCH from my daughter. I hope that most parents are learning from their children. I am not inclined to get that intimate with insects and crawly things, so there’s no way I would have learned so much without her to bring this into my life. “Listen to this, Mom!” she says, reading from her book. “Aphids can only eat sap as it’s flowing, so they have to be on living plants. If you want to keep aphids for pets, you can’t pick stems for them, you have to plant them inside the cage and keep them alive!”

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