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If you’ve always fancied a grasshopper as a pet, it can be as easy as going out and catching one yourself. Grasshoppers are found on every continent except Antarctica, so there’s a good chance there are some hanging about near to where you live. Grasshoppers are typically found in fields or meadows searching out food sources.
The best time to catch a grasshopper is in the early morning or at dusk as these are the times temperatures are cooler and hence when grasshoppers are at their slowest. Do note that grasshoppers not only hop quite high, but they can also fly. Therefore, if you try to find and catch one during the mid-day heat, you are unlikely to be successful as this is when they are at their faster and strongest.
How to Catch Grasshoppers
Finding a grasshopper then is as easy as searching out a meadow or field. You can tell if the creatures are about by looking for holes in the grass and leaves of the surrounding plants. Grasshoppers are also quite noisy and make a chirping or singing sound by rubbing their hind legs against wings.
If you know there are grasshoppers in the vicinity, you can try to catch one in a few ways. Some people choose to place a fleece blanket on the ground and place breadcrumbs sprinkled with sugar water on top. They will then leave this overnight and come back the following morning to check.
The grasshoppers are attracted to the sugary breadcrumbs and will hop right on to the blanket. However, the long fibers of the fleece blanket will catch their legs and they will be unable to jump away again.
Others prefer to simply rustle the grass around the blanket to cause the grasshoppers to jump around, in the hopes that one or two might land on the blanket and become trapped.
A bottle trap can also be used instead of a blanket. If you are going to choose this method, you will need to cut the top from a plastic bottle and then place the cut top upside down into the bottom half. Tape the sides to secure it inside and lay it on the grass. It is easy for grasshoppers to get into the bottle but getting out is not as easy. Try using the breadcrumb trick mentioned above as bait to lure the insect inside the bottle.
Holding a Grasshopper
Grasshoppers are fragile though, so you should be very careful when handling them. When picking up a grasshopper, hold it very gently behind the head so as to not damage the wings or legs. Do not squeeze or hold too firmly or you could hurt it – or worse.
Remember, grasshoppers can fly and hop, so you do need to keep hold of it to make sure it does not get away.
Do Grasshoppers Bite?
Grasshoppers do not generally bite people, but it is not unheard of. It is usually only something they will when feeling threatened. Some species have also been known to bite those who get in their way when they are swarming. The good news is that grasshoppers are not poisonous, so their bites are not dangerous. However, if you are bitten by a large grasshopper, it could be quite painful.
If you are bitten by your grasshopper, wash the area around the bite with soapy water to clean it thoroughly. If the area swells, place a cold compress and elevate the area if possible. You can take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary.
If the area becomes quite painful and swells a lot, it is best to seek medical attention, or call 911 immediately if you believe you have had an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction could include trouble breathing, fever, and tightness of the throat.
- Featured Image (American Bird Grasshopper): Tom Friedel – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
- Rainbow Grasshopper: Stellarkid – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Spotted Grasshopper: Crisco 1492 – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Leaf Grasshopper: L. Shyamal – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
- Tobacco Grasshopper: Joydeep – CC BY-SA 3.0