Taken in by a stick insect.

@thea09 (18329)
Greece
January 5, 2010 11:37am CST
Sometimes at night I've noticed small stick like insects stuck onto the outside of the mosquito blind but never noticed any in daylight. This afternoon I saw what I presumed was a long olive stick attached to my wooden balcony door. I was a bit distracted as on the phone at the time but I wondered how it came to be stuck part way up the door. On close inspection I realised that the olive stick had in fact four legs wrapped around the wood plus two very long tentacles sticking out of what appeared to be a head. Altogether it must have been about eight inches long. I touched it with my foot and it eventually fell onto the balcony on its back and was obviously dead. I've never noticed anything like that before so googled it and found it was indeed a stick insect, which can disguise themsleves to look like pieces of wood. Have you come across something that you thought was something else?
9 people like this
21 responses
@ANTIQUELADY (36491)
• United States
5 Jan 10
Good grief, niece U & your varmints.. I never heard of them. Guess we don't have them hear, thank heavens. Do they bite or sting? I don't know that i have ver come across something i didn't know what it was & hope i don't, lol. U be careful.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36491)
• United States
5 Jan 10
Interesting discussion, Learned something new which i like to do. Bet u didn't squash him either like i would have, lol.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Well although it is classified as a bug it didn't look bug like, I tend to go round squashing things with round bodies and bulging eyes.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Fjaril has put a picture of one in box 14, it's exactly the same as the one I had but appears to have two extra legs.
1 person likes this
@Sandra1952 (6052)
• Spain
5 Jan 10
Hello, Thea. I haven't, but this reminded me of an incident with my aunt many years ago. She looked out of the kitchen window and saw what appeared to be an enormous spider. At the time, there was a lot of stuff in the paper about poisonous spiders coming in with bananas. She went to the back step, lifted the lid from the dustbin, and launched it at the spider. More by luck than anything else, it covered the offending arachnid. When my uncle came home from work, she was almost hysterical, having stood at the kitchen window all afternoon in case the spider escaped. My uncle asked how big the spider was, and she shaped a body of about 3 inches diameter and legs about 8 inches long. My incredulous uncle said if the spider was that big, it wouldn't have stayed there quietly all afternoon without at least rattling the dustbin lid. Armed with a broom handle just in case, he gingerly lifted the lid - and burst out laughing. The 'spider' was half an old tennis ball, blackened by rain and soil, perched on a pile of 4 twigs which were coincidentally shaped like spider's legs. We never got to the bottom of it, but we think it was probably one of the local children playing a joke on my aunt.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Hello Sandra, I've got to hand it to you, you tell a good tale. It's funny how spiders always grow bigger in the re telling. Even the ones coming in the bananas were never thought to be as big as tennis balls surely. I could understand your aunt running out of the house is she thought it was inside but not standing guard over an outside dustbin lid.
1 person likes this
• Spain
5 Jan 10
It's a genetic thing in our family - everyone, even the men, are afraid of spiders. It's bypassed me, though, so I get called on for removal duties. I've often had to drive over to my daughter's to remove a spider from the bath - don't know who does it for her now we're the other side of the channel. I wondered why Auntie felt the need to stand guard as well.
• Spain
6 Jan 10
Hello, Holly. With me, it's moths - can't bear them, yet I don't mind butterflies. Work that one out if you can! A couple of years back, we were camping with friends and I felt something moving in my sleeping bag. I thought it was a small mouse or shrew, and I wasn't too bothered, but I switched on the torch so I could extricate it without damage to it or myself. Imagine my horror when the beam picked out a huge moth! It was 1.00am, and I woke the whole camp site with my screams. I never slept a wink after that!
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
5 Jan 10
Only humans. I've met quite a few humans (usually men) who seem to be one thing but are, in reality, something completely different. Hmmm, well, actually, I was standing on my deck once and heard a buzzing sound near my ear that I thought was a cicada (or large, mutant mosquito) and it turned out to be a hummingbird. I have a hummingbird feeder attached to my deck and have learned that those adorable little birds will "buzz" you if you get too close to their food, like a warning to stay away. Stupid things don't seem to realize that they wouldn't have that food if it weren't for me.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Hi Marti, I would think you'd be quite pleased that it turned out to be a hummingbird rather than a cicada, the latter are perfectly foul creatures, especially when they fly in through the car window. If you put food out for a bird you should make a speedy exit then, it sounds like the little thing must have been hungry.
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
5 Jan 10
I agree about the cicadas, although I did something a few years back when we had our 17-year cicadas hatch by the millions. I was talking with a friend of mine in California who had never even seen a cicada. I held the phone out the window so she could hear the constant "sssssssssssssssssss" sound made by this massive swarm of big, flying bugs. She was totally creeped out. LOL But, that wasn't the worst I did to her. (I'm so mean sometimes.) I went outside and put a couple of them on my clothes and one right on my nose and took a picture to send to her. She swore she'd never come to visit me during a cicada swarm. Yeah, I'm bad.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
I have never seen them swarm. We get the constant ssssssssssssss noise in the olive groves but I didn't actually see one for years, and presmed they were something like the grasshoppers. The noise of them in the mornings though often makes me a think a pipe must have burst. But the first time one flew into the car it was really scarey and we couldn't see where it was, I had to drive to the petrol station to get the man there to get it out of the car. I hate to say this but if you can stick one of those up your nose then you are getting seriously odd. Now a stick insect possibly.
@jewels49 (1784)
• United States
5 Jan 10
Hi thea..We have walking sticks here. my kids also use to capture them to inspect and study them for a day, but they always turned them loose before they went to bed. While I find them interesting they still aren't the kind of thing I want to encounter free ranging in my house somewhere. Last summer while working in my flower beds, I reached behind myself to grab what I was sure was my garden hose. When it started wiggling around in my hand is when I realized what I thought was my hose was a large snake. I don't know if he was deliberatly disguising himself or not I let go of him so quickly I never had a chance to ask him!
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Hi Jewels, you actually picked a snake up, oh gross. That brings back nightmares from when I had one indoors. Some are more scarey than others, the ones I hate the most are the evil fat long black ones which are apparently harmless but they are so big and slimey looking as well. Whereabouts are you in the States to get the same kind of creepies we have over here?
@jewels49 (1784)
• United States
6 Jan 10
I have never had a snake in the house..I would be flipping out. We live in Michigan and I was totally surprised to hear we had the same creepies. From the way you described it, you have many more than we do..when the kids find them they get excited because it isn't a common find. Do you have praying Mantis' as well?
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
6 Jan 10
I hope we don't, we've got enough other things to contend with. Snakes don't bother me if they are outside but my son runs a mile if he sees one lurking on the dirt track. Inside though is quite another matter but it has only happened once, this summer. It got in upstairs though which leads me to presume it slithered up the stones. Luckily my Athenian neighbour was out from Athens and my screams alerted him to come running armed with a large garden spade, which he used to kill it. I daren't let the thing out of my sight in case it hid somewhere indoors.
• United States
6 Jan 10
stick bugs are pretty cool. we don't have anything like that around here-i wish we did. um..i hadn't really come across anything i'd mistaken for something else-but i did have the problem in arizona where i didn't know half the bugs i was looking at-and with spiders,that can be dangerous there.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
6 Jan 10
Hi scarlet, I agree with the spiders, there's so many different varities and I never know which new ones are dangerous or not. This year I kid not I had a totally gold coloured one but I left it alone as it was outside, and a big fat one with a red and black speckled middle, rather like a ladybird with 8 big fat hairy legs.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jan 10
we have one here that..it's just a little bit smaller than an olive.. that has these crazy black and white striped legs. seems to be harmless,but it's odd looking.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
11 Jan 10
I always mean to look them up but never do, after all who wants to look at pages of spiders.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17633)
• Singapore
6 Jan 10
That's definitely a stick insect, Thea.. they do have this long legs that last forever lol.. actually insects happen to crawl on our hands and arms can be very ticklish and sometimes the bite of an ant can be more painful than them crawling. But because they have different structures and looks, it can be quite an adventurous feat. Like some mentioned the praying mantis. Ah... unique. But some kids are still frightened by them.
@zed_k4 (17633)
• Singapore
7 Jan 10
Yup, Thea..I did see it ... definitely creepy crawlie there.. lol..it would be very ticklish for me too if I found any crawling on my hands or etc..
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
7 Jan 10
Zed, what have you gone and done to yourself? I don't like it Now if you'd turned up as Boris as expected at least it would be a good laugh, but this chap with the scruffy hairdo, who ever he is, is most unpleasant. I know you were being extra nice by being Goran so long, but please re consider. James Woods, Jeremy Paxman, anything but this, please.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17633)
• Singapore
9 Jan 10
Alright, your wish is my command.. LOL.. It's fun with all these avatar change. It makes mylot journey interesting..........waakkakakaka..
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
5 Jan 10
I came across a stick insect at a rest stop in Nevada a few years ago. I had read about them, maybe seen them in the zoo, but never in real life. I thought they were an Asian thing, actually. It was pretty cool. Got a picture somewhere, but not that I can get to on this computer. I did come across a person that I disliked at first sight, thought he was an arrogant a**, ended up being a good friend. Does that count?
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
5 Jan 10
Like possums. :-)
@Tallygirl09 (1385)
• United States
6 Jan 10
LOL, there are an awful lot of them here in the South of the USA but as long as they stay outside, they live. Very simple rule but some just have to try and break em and they pay the ultimate price...EXCEPT for Lady Bugs, I have a soft spot for them!! No idea why...but I escort them outside and tell them to stay out!!
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
6 Jan 10
Hi again tallygirl, you've already got a box over the page, we are only supposed to have one box per discussion but you can hop into other peoples.
• United States
6 Jan 10
Hmmm...not sure what you mean? What box?? I'm easily confused today as I think I am coming down with the flu. Have felt abit off all day... Hope this isn't a dumb question...lol. What country are you from? Greece maybe? I think it's the Greek Flag that you have..
@jb78000 (15178)
7 Jan 10
tallygirl - just means you have answered this discussion already. your other answer is on the previous page. it is best to only answer a discussion once - you can make more comments after your first response of course - but it is easy to do this accidently if you are answering a lot of discussions.
@Tallygirl09 (1385)
• United States
5 Jan 10
They are very odd little creatures but can grow large like the one you had. I remember vividly the first and only time I saw one in real life. I was outside and on a cell phone chatting, the Sun was in my eyes so I looked down and saw a stick near my foot, didn't think much of it. Till a moment of so later I looked down again and saw that the stick was farther away. I hadn't moved so it must have...And thought that was very strange. So I bent down to look at it closer, just like you did. And wonder of all wonders, saw the short little legs and it was on the move but in rather slow motion. Watched it for the rest of my call and then left it to continue it's journey!
• United States
6 Jan 10
Sure are!! Strangest Insect I've ever seen in person. In fact it was so unique that I kinda liked it when usually I am all for avoiding bugs outside or killing if venture in my home. I'm sure there are many different varieties of them. Really amazing creatures. Never fails to amaze me that New Species of all kinds of Animals and Insects are found every year!! You'd think we'd have encountered at least all the land ones but nope!! Nature is rather Incredible!!
• Australia
5 Jan 10
Hibiscus - A Cuban hibiscus flower
Hi Thea. I think your stick insect is what we call a Praying Mantis. We have loads of them here: fearsome looking, but harmless, except that their legs can be prickly to touch - though I haven't actually touched them, so can't verify that. I'm sure I've come across things I was mistaken about, but can't recall any at the moment. On the other hand, years ago I bought an Hibiscus plant, a large Cuban variety, according to the ticket. The leaves didn't look at all Hibiscus-like and I queried it but was assured it was as ticketed. A few months after planting I was convinced it was NOT an Hibiscus, but a few months later it started blooming and I was rewarded with large salmon Hibiscus with a deep cerise centres.
• Australia
5 Jan 10
Praying Mantis must camouflage themselves, because most we see around the house or on a tree trunk are greyish-brown, but when they are in the sugar cane or on the foliage in the garden they are green.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
The one I looked up had a much more bulging head than my stick thing. Fjaril has put a foto up of the same stick thing that I had on the next page.
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
5 Jan 10
I've seen pictures of those while I was growing up. As kids, we had the (dis)pleasure of having a complete set of Collier's Encyclopedia at home, all 24 books. When we weren't using these books as covers and foxholes for imaginary battles we waged inside our house, we actually looked at the pretty pictures inside. And these stick insects were a few that fascinated me and my brother.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Hi bounce, I must say it was quite fascinating to see as I've never seen one in daylight before and didn't realise they were so long. It looked more interesting than scarey though but neverthless I was glad to read that they prefer to live outside as wouldn't be too amused to find one in my bed.
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
5 Jan 10
In the encyclopedia picture I remember them holding a leaf and standing slanted from a tree branch. To predators I think they would look like just another branch. Speaking of something you thought was something else on your bed. I dreamt once that I was being pressed under a rock, only to wake up and find my son's butt on the side of my face. Gladly, I was able to extricate myself before any malodorous gasses were released!
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
6 Jan 10
Fjaril popped a picture of my very stick insect on the next page you know, except mine only had four legs. Things to check out a Greek bed for before getting in: centipedes, nasty horrid creatures which bite: snakes: spiders: strange men.
@PeacefulWmn9 (10424)
• United States
6 Jan 10
Hi Thea...ack! Yes, we have stick insects, and I have seen them a number of times...some green, some brown. They do indeed look like a twig, and be careful, since they will bite, and some are poisonous, though not deadly so. Karen
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
6 Jan 10
Hi Karen, well you've really suprised me there as I looked them up and it said they don't bite. Maybe you have a different kind there, responders here have talked about keeping them as pets. Maybe it's just green ones that bite, I'll have to check with the insect expert Fjaril.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jan 10
We were both right, in a sense. You are right in that they do not bite, and I am right that a particular species is capable of secreting a stinging, sometimes blinding, secretion. Here it is as described on Wikipedia:"A few species (for example those in the genus Anisomorpha) are capable of secreting a substance from glands on the metathorax that can cause an intense burning irritation of the eyes (and in some cases temporary blindness) and mouth of potential predators on contact."
@artistry (4154)
• United States
6 Jan 10
...Hi thea, I have never heard of such a creature, but there are a lot of insects that are unknown to me. But I do say that you are a brave one to touch it with your foot, shoe whatever. Eight inches long with tentacles, if it ran your way, if it had been alive, would you have stepped on it. That's scary. The thing could have hung on to your foot or something. It sounds like a skinny, skinny greco or something. Take care. Run for a can of insect spray the next timne :o).
@artistry (4154)
• United States
7 Jan 10
...Hi thea, Have to admit the picture looks pretty tame. Thanks for the direction. Take it easy.
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
5 Jan 10
Oh yes many a time lol And it is very scary specially when you are distracted In my Case it was a Spider and I do not like Spiders at all it was a tiny one but I thought it was a bit of Dirt that Gissi had brought in I picked it up on the Phone to my Son at the time, well I nearly deafened him lol because I screamed so loud when it started to move and run over my Hand Well I will not repeat the words my Son used because of nearly deafened lol
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
9 Jan 10
Oh Goodness Thea I am so glad that there are no Spiders here that bite and yes I would be staying away from your Harold lol
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
13 Jan 10
We call those Praying Mantis. They are interesting little creatures who depend on their ability to camouflage themselves to their surroundings. My husband came across a huge one a few years ago and it hung around the garage for ages, so much so that my husband decided to call him ‘Harry’ (LOL)! They are kind of cute, I guess, my hubby thought it was a stick at first...
@SomeCowgirl (32273)
• United States
10 Jan 10
I forget what they call those. I want to say preying mantis but I'm not sure. I don't know if they are harmful or not, but they are kind of shocking and scary as they can blend. Their intriguing none the less.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
11 Jan 10
Hi Amber, they are harmless and it was more interesting than scarey. Fjaril very kindly put a picture up on page 2 of the exact thing I had, except mine only had 4 legs. I think I must be getting braver each year with all these new creatures I notice, before I'd have run a mile.
• United States
9 Jan 10
I've actually done that before... I don't do it anymore. lol It really frightened me, I'm afraid of buds, which you'd think would make me more conscious of picking stuff up off the floors. I actually did think about it before I reached down, but it really looked like a piece of hair. I'd done it lots of times before that and gotten away with it - very bad habit to gelol Those stick things would cause me to have a serious fear of all sticks in general. lol
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
9 Jan 10
Hi UpsideDownPineapple, I'm now a lot less squeamish about bugs than I used to be, as we have so many of them, but my rule is never to walk around barefoot indoors just in case something nasty has wandered in. The worst thing we ever had was a giant centipede which wouldn't die, and I wouldn't have liked to stand on that by mistake. I thought the stick insecet was more interesting than scarey though, so I wouldn't let a fear of stick get to you.
@jennybianca (12918)
• Australia
6 Jan 10
As soon as you started descibing it, I thought it was a stick insect. They are quite interesting and some people here keep them as pets. Yes, I have come across "things" I thought was somethinmg else... the inner tube I thought was a snake... the rubber spider I thought was real.. causing a huge reaction on my part. And I put the rubber spider in the bin after.
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
6 Jan 10
Oh yeah. I was about to kick a big, black stick that was in my yard...when it moved and slithered into the canal. It was a big, black snake!
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
5 Jan 10
Not really.....we pretty much have the same bugs every year and they are easy to idenify....same old flies, misquitoes.....fireflies....beetles..etc.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
5 Jan 10
Hi jillhill, we have all of the bugs you've listed above, and quite a lot more as well.