Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bugged out

There are times when I’m grateful for my forgetfulness.

I left my camera in the glove box the other day, and kept meaning to go get it (I don’t like to leave it in the car), but was distracted each time I thought of it.
So yesterday, when I pulled into the local shops car park and saw, “The Bug Guy”, I paused and then smiled as I reached for my camera.

The last time I saw this guy at the shop, I had no camera with me, so the opportunity went begging.
Not this time.

He was already somewhere in the store when I hurriedly dashed through the turnstile, grabbing a basket and pulling my camera out of my pocket.
With neither grace nor subtlety, I lurched from aisle to aisle, staring intently down each one.

Now, the way I excitedly stalked the man in the little black hat, you’d think I was five, not fifty.

I bailed him up in the bread section.
The slightly manic look in my eyes had him stepping back a pace or two.

What’s the reason for my behaviour, you ask? Aside from the fact that I’m an oddball, and unusual things tickle my fancy?


(you can click on the photos for a closer look)

He walks around with live massive insects clinging to him!

These seem a lot like the garden variety stick insects, only much, much larger. Aren't they lovely?
They're commonly known as Children's Stick Insect or, Yellow Winged Spectre. Cool.

When they feel threatened by a predator, they will attempt to bluff it by displaying the "eye blotches" on their wings.


Delicate and beautiful.

Although, I have to admit that I was just a little bit disappointed, as the last time I met him, his companions were these little guys...

Spiny Leaf Insects.
And, they have the cutest faces - like little aliens  :)

The Bug Man, aka Alan, takes his "bugs" to festivals and generally out and about, to inform and educate children and adults about some of our weird and wonderful insects.
Be fascinated, not afraid. Respect.

And no, none of his friends ever leap off him and end up in the mixed lettuce bins in the fruit & veg section.
He always leaves with the same number of critters he goes in with  :)

Snakes, bugs, birds, animals… they all interest me. Everything has its place on this earth, and are so fascinating to meet and learn about.



  1. Well. I'm feeling anxious and weighed down by my shitty restrictions, and so a blog post from Vicki is some nice medicine when that happens.

    This one was especially good medicine. I mean, what's not to love about you running round the supermarket stalking men in hats who love insects and take them shopping? Wonderful. Thank you for cheering me up a tad.

    It was also fun playing Guess the Supermarket. I'm gonna keep an eye out next time I'm in Maxi :)

    1. I love coming across things you don't see everyday. The Bug Man gets so many double takes, it's hilarious!
      Nice detective work at guessing "which shop is this" :) What gave it away? A certain something that only locals would be familiar with, no doubt.

      I'm sorry you're not feeling too well Sue, I really am. We'll have to catch up for coffee in a couple of weeks again - when you feel like getting out and about :)

    2. Thanks, Vicki, I really appreciate your sympathy. Coffee sounds great!

      It was the bread aisle that gave Maxi away. The stainless steel shelves :)

      Those stick insects really are worth coming back for a second look, aren't they? Wonderful.

    3. Well spotted Sherlock :)

  2. So he walks around with REAL bugs on his head!? LOL! How cool and funny.
    Now if he had a snake around his neck, I'd go running screaming the other way.
    (It's the winding and wrapping around part that freaks me out.)
    I'm in awe of you that you are not afraid of them.
    I hate having such a HUGE fear having so much power over me....
    Glad you had the camera handy!.

    1. Yeah they're real alright :)
      And really cool. Poor man couldn't get away from all my questions about them!

      And, I'd be SO excited if snakes came to the shops.
      Years ago in Western Australia, Brian Bush, the "snake man" who's now ninety years old, held informative sessions at a shopping centre every day for a week.
      He brought along pythons (big and small) and lizards.
      I was in heaven!
      I waited patiently my turn to have a carpet python draped over my neck. The BEST feeling ever! Like a moving massage. Such powerful muscles on such a gentle creature.
      I spent nearly half an hour handling the python, letting him glide through my hands and up over my head down to my shoulders. I LOVED it. What an experience.
      I've had a few more since then and am grateful for them.
      And, they're not "slimy" or slippery as some people think. They are cool, smooth and muscular.

      It is legal to "keep" snakes here, but I just wouldn't do it. I can't bear the thought of such exquisite creatures bundled up in glass boxes.
      People don't realise how far snakes like to roam. They think that, as snakes are slow moving, they don't require much room. That's BS in my book.
      And, as they live for so long, it's so sad to think they'll never get all the sensory experiences and "natural" kills from living in the wild - their one true habitat.

      Sorry, I could go on and on about snakes. Should've been a herpetologist :)

    2. How cool! I must say, I think I would love having a python draped on me too. But not Huntsman spiders. One dropped on my hand the other day, and then straight off onto the floor. I've been creeped out ever since. The bloody thing was every where - climbing up the stairs, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, sitting on the fridge, sitting on the bench next to the sink. The poor thing - I wish I'd had the guts to put it out but the thought makes me feel like you describe, Cynthia. I hate things having that much power as well. I mean, it's just irrational, isn't it? That spider dropping on me made me want to scream and rip my skin off, or bash my head on the floor. I have NO IDEA why!!!! :)

    3. Spidey was probably more afraid of you, lol.

      I think the fear of spiders and snakes are genetically inherited. Back to the age old days when there were no cures or antivenins.

  3. What fun. I would have become a manic stalker too.
    Snakes? Not so much. I admire them, but the respect I treat them with goes well beyond healthy to just plain chicken. We had a red-bellied black snake living under the front steps of one of our houses and for about nine months of the year I only used the back door.
    We do have snake displays at our local shopping centre from time to time - and I look - from a distance. Pythons are fine (and beautiful) but the venomous ones I avoid. And I once found myself swimming with one - who swam a LOT better than I do.

    1. The insects are so interesting. I hope to see him with the Spiny Leaf Insects next time.

      Had some very close encounters with venomous snakes myself. Seemed to make me even more interested in them, as they proved to me that regardless of how close I was, they had no interest in biting - luckily they had "exits" to retreat.
      I do have a very healthy respect for them though.

      And, they are fantastic swimmers aren't they? I've seen tiger snakes swimming in the river. Fascinating.
      How close were you, and was it a red-belly?

    2. It was a red-belly. A big one. I would think at least six feet. Longer than my fifteen year old self was anyway. I came up in mid stream to take a breath and as I opened my eyes the snakes head was parallel with mine. I sank under the water and held my breath for as long as I could. When I resurfaced the snake was mostly across the stream. I have heard that they cannot bite while in the water - and wasn't taking any risks.

    3. Wow. Great experience and a cool story to tell :)

  4. I was fascinated to read that these are alive. How cool! Here some busybody would have complained about him having them in a food shop and he'd be marched out (says the woman who once hid her toy poodle in her bag inside the supermarket....) I really, really like the spiny leaf insect!

    I love bugs and study the ones in my garden all of the time, along with the pretty and mostly friendly bumblebees and butterflies. Snakes? ... no way! We had brown snakes in Adelaide and I learned very young to be wary of them. That fear is fully entrenched now and even though the snakes that live here are not dangerous, I still run in fear (much to my husband's amusement). Spider on the other hand I love (yep, even the red backs of which we had many living in the woodpile) and my favourite one living in my garden here is this guy I photograped last summer. It's a European garden spider (orb-weaver) - very pretty to watch.

    1. Alan said that he's excluded from a couple of places, but he's welcomed in most. Up to the individual managers, I guess.
      I hope that he has the cute Spiny's next time I see him.

      I really love your orb-weaver, such a lovely fella. The markings (cross) on his back look as though they've been painted on. Very cool.
      Thanks for posting the pic Marie :)

  5. LOVE the insects! There is a stick insect somewhere in the ivy at the back of the flats here and there are a couple of praying mantis too. I take them back to the ivy whenever I see them on my back screened gate.
    How cool that he takes his with him when he goes out!

    1. Praying Mantis are gorgeous! I could sit and watch them for ages - I did as a child. Those lovely big eyes, really seem like they're looking at you.
      Glad to know that your "bugs" have a safe haven in the ivy.

      It is cool, and very unexpected to see. I'm glad he does what he does.
      Kids are usually most happy to see him - it's often the parents/mothers that need the educating that these insects aren't "dirty" or something to shy away from. I imagine they reach for the hand sanitiser afterwards :)

    2. I believe praying mantis DO watch us. Have you ever got really close to one? He will watch you watching him and if you tilt your head to one side he will copy. I've done it often, they're such fun.

    3. Imagine what we look like to them. The world through an insect's eyes.

  6. I'm tingling... because bugs give me the creeps! I've always been a bit spooked by "creepy crawlies"... LOL! I had spider dreams as child, and that kind of freaked me out then. Much later discovered what the dreams meant... But having said that though, it is pretty neat to see these critters up close-like. While I don't want one crawling on my hat, it is VERY fascinating!! And you are right, everything has a place on this great Earth. All critters. ;o) This was fun, Vicki! Happy Days ((HUGS))

    1. What I love about these insects is that they are so big! Easily an adults hand span. Very cool.
      We have so many insects and other creatures, that one has to either get used to them, or, be in a constant state of panic - especially in the bushland where we live.
      I chose the former. Even the biters deserve respect :)

  7. this is fascinating and wonderful!
    he would no doubt be accosted by the manager first thing in any american grocery market. we are obsessed with CLEAN don't you know.
    i loved the comments here! swimming with snakes ... i'm sure i have unknowingly! i did KNOWINGLY swim with a five foot sturgeon in a minnesota lake once. scary to be swimming with something as long as you are.
    i admire you so much. you are a TRUE nature lover. all nature. not just the cute furries like the rest of us. and though i wouldn't want to hold a snake ...
    there is something so terribly sad about seeing them in glass boxes. cruel. so cruel. and i hate cruelty to any living thing. insect or reptile or mammal.
    speaking of boxes...
    apparently word has caught on about the orcas! on cnn website it is reported there is now a bill before the california congress about whether to allow them freedom or not. i signed the petition along with thousands of others... and we might just be on the road to saving the whales from sea world.
    it will be a long fight. but at least it's in the mainstream now... thanks to the wonderful documentary 'blackfish.' sign if you can. and tell all who might visit sea world not to! willie nelson and other bands have now refused to play at sea worlds. good news. but it's a HUGE corporation and all about money. so...

    1. Oh, so we have you guys to blame for the abundance of hand sanitisers being advertised and used en masse over here, lol!!

      I've seen images and footage of Sturgeon fish - stunning and amazing and so big! I am fascinated by them. And... very envious that you swam with one. So cool.

      I really despise all marine parks and wish they be shut down the world over. Orcas should never be captured in the wild, torn from their huge blue world.
      And, the ones bred in captivity, exclusively for these sea worlds, should never have been bred. They would be difficult to release into the wild. They say that breeding them in captivity reduces the "incentive" to capture them in the wild. But, there should be no breeding anyway. They are still wild creatures, and don't belong in large artificial enclosures for the whim of humans.

      The same goes for the magnificent predators of the deep - sharks. And turtles, and stingrays and dolphins. The list goes on, sadly.
      Sorry, I get very heated about these things.

      The more bad publicity these animal jails get, the better. I hope they are shut down the world over.
      Now, there is hope.
      I'm hoping Australia follows.

      Thanks so much for your input Tam, always.

  8. Oh gee. Oh yikes. I wish you would have posted a warning, but I would have read it anyway. I am so regurgitatingly (new word) fearful of large bugs. I'm so glad I wasn't there, for fear I'd start banging pots on his head. HOW does he get them to stay there?

    These photos were of my worst nightmares. Snakes I can tolerate. At least they don't have 34 legs!

    At least he doesn't have to worry about women making passes at him.

    1. Oh for shame - what's a couple of bugs when you've faced up to the worst "creepy crawlies" on two legs, lol!
      Still, we all have some critter that we'd rather not have to get too close to :)

      He reckons that after having so many insects on his hat, there is a sort of "bug pheromone" that is left behind, and there they feel safest when out and about. I tried to coax one onto my hand, but it walked right back on to his hat, not interested in being anywhere else.

      I'm actually quite surprised at the large amount of women that gravitate towards him at the shop - maybe there's more than bug pheromone on his hat. Just sayin' ;)

  9. Wow! What awe-inspiring bugs! I'm so glad they don't jump off him into the veggies...they might get eaten accidentally. They're just amazing!



    1. Hi Victoria! They are amazing indeed. I really do get excited by such cool things :)


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