Trials and tribulations of take-out

Imagine that you spend your day in an office cubicle. And you know that sometime, likely after you’ve been hungry for a while and wondering where that distracted secretary has got to, you will eventually get that take-away meal you were promised. It’s never on time and they always get the same thing, but there’s always plenty to eat, with leftovers to nosh on the next couple of days.

So there you are, peacefully focused on business, when alla-sudden you are bombarded by a dozen sack lunches raining down on you and your cubicle!

That’s what happened to Rosie. Again.

As soon as I popped open the access-hatch on the top of her habitat, she scuttled hurridly over to a side wall and clung from an upper corner. I don’t think it anthropormorphising too much to say that she was alarmed, for I was hurridly dropping in over a dozen large crickets, along with their block of artificial diet and packaging. Then my giant hand scrabbled around inside to retrieve the piece of cardboard egg carton and shake off the crickets still clinging to it. That bit of packaging gives them something to hang on to during shipping and handling, but it would simply clutter up Rosie’s room.

Escapees are always a possibility, and annoying to both capture and return, so I hurridly snapped the access-hatch shut. The crickets are discombobulated from being dumped out of their shipping container and bouncing around everywhere, with a couple of them landing in the white sake cup that is her water dish. Only after the hatch has been shut and the crickets settled down does Rosie go to check out the latest “manna from heaven”.

It’s not easy being a pet-store cricket — they go from a life that revolves around food and (once matured) around sex, to being dumped someplace strange with a predator. As things stand right now, the block of artificial diet has tumbled to one end of the habitat, and the rock the crickets are hanging on is at the other end. Rosie snags a few nearby crickets, tip-toes around her habitat to see if there are any other changes (photo), and then retires to digest by parking in her little flowerpot.

I realise that I need to find a better way of transferring the crickets, as the whole process seems alarming to all the arthropods involved, and is nerve-wracking for me as well due to the risk of escapees.

For the arachnophobic, I put the picture “below the fold”.


I have to use an extension tube to shoot this, which makes for a rather shallow depth of field; it’s hard to get everyone in focus when they’re 4-6 cm apart.

These are immature crickets, as distinguished by wings shorter than their bodies. This means that the males won’t keep me up at night with their amorous chirping!


  1. 12 December 2007 at 3:25

    […] I suspect that they tend to freak out, “OMG a giant spider!” because they end up clustered on the far side of the rock. Right now one is looking over the edge of the flowerpot where Rosie is parked inside, and I […]

  2. JSmth said,

    4 December 2007 at 17:42

    When I first started grammar school it was common for each class to have its own class pet — a gerbil or hamster or something — that mostly the teacher fed, watered, and cleaned up after. My first and third grade class pets were tarantulas (^_^ ), so seeing them always reminds me of being a kid. Anyway, your spider is beautiful. I love the crickets hiding on the other side of the rock.

  3. Karen Putz said,

    2 December 2007 at 14:02

    Oh gosh, now I’m going to have a nightmare tonight! :)

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