Even though there is still snow on the ground, it won’t be long before spring will be here and we’ll be out hiking in the mountains and working in our yards. Spring is an excellent time to come across the bizarre-looking Jerusalem cricket.
The most prominent feature you’ll notice about this cricket is that if it bites you, you will feel it. Its powerful jaws are meant to rip flesh from dead organisms for their meals. Their jaws can also be used to scare away predators.
The Jerusalem cricket isn’t poisonous or deadly. It spends most of its time underground looking for things to eat. Rarely is it found in plain sight, but it may surprise you while moving tools or other items left on the ground.
This critter comes from the Stenopelmatadae family of large, flightless insects. They are native to the western United States. Jerusalem crickets are omnivores, meaning their diets include both plants and animals. They spend most of their lives digging below the surface looking for decayed roots and other bugs. Their front legs have a protective covering made for digging to burrow beneath rocks and sand. They also hide there from predators.
These fierce-looking creatures are mainly active at night, but they are actually non-aggressive. They will make a hissing noise and drum-beat sound when they are threatened.
Addie T. Lindsay is 16 years old. She is an accomplished writer and photographer of wildlife creatures, big and small. She can be reached at CritterChatter@live. com.