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Parker, Colorado

The Unusual Pet - Written By: Allie Becker, Age 9 

On my birthday in January my friend gave me a critter keeper. In the winter its hard to find the perfect pet. I thought about getting a tarantula, but my mom DID NOT like that idea. I found a spider, slug, and caterpillar I put them in the critter keeper. However they didn’t seem to make it. 

At the end of June my friends and I were playing out in the sun, while we were playing my friend caught the perfect, small and unusual pet. I ended up naming my pet Desert, because it was a sandy color. It well suited her. Desert was quite a jumper, but most Grasshoppers are. Grasshoppers make fine pets. They don’t need a lot of upkeep  they just need a capful of water, grass for a bed and for food.

They love to eat radish flowers and clovers. I gave her a few extras like some small sticks and a rock or two. It’s fun to watch her wander around.   Desert was small when I got her about the size of my pinkie toe. But slowly she got bigger each day. Until one day my mom went into my room and screamed! She thought Desert had died. Because there was a clear brown dried up exoskeleton.

She ended up growing to 2 1/2 inches. Desert is still alive to this day.

Here are some fun facts:
1. They are a solitary insects.

2. Grasshoppers and Locusts are the same thing.

3. Grasshoppers have ears on their belly located under their wings.

4. Grasshoppers can jump and fly!

5. They can spit out liquid to defend themselves.

Their life cycle has three stages. The first one is the egg stage. They usually spend about 10 months in this dormant stage. It’s usually in Autumn and in Winter.Then comes the Nymph stage. This stage takes around 25 to 50 days. They will moult 5 times during this stage. Each moulting period is about 5 to 10 days apart. It finally results into a fully formed adult Grasshopper. The adult stage is about 30 days. It takes 14 days for them to mature to mate. It will take another 2-3 weeks to lay their eggs and the life cycle starts over again. All in all a grasshopper lives for about a year.



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