Summer Hoppers

As a little girl, all summer long (or should I say short as it was never long enough for a kid glad to be out of school) my friends and I would play for hours in the fields and woods of my elementary school which we could walk to. I LOVE neighborhood schools!

No matter how many times we played kickball, or baseball or rolled our bodies down winter’s sledding hill until we were dizzy, the grasshoppers bolting out of the tall grass would startled me! More startled by us I’m sure, they would hop away to safety. Try as we might, we rarely captured them.

Did you know that if we (humans) could jump the way grasshoppers do we could jump the length of an entire football field?! With hind legs being so strong and the energy stored in them exploding like a spring, they can catapult themselves into the air and then their wings take over and they fly even farther. A great design to get away from predators and kids.

If you grew up going to Sunday School as I did you’ll have heard that humans have been eating locusts and grasshoppers since Biblical times. In the Bible, John the Baptist ate locusts and honey in the wilderness. Locusts and grasshoppers are the same and a great source of protein. In areas of Africa, Asia, and even the Americas grasshoppers are a staple.

It’s hard to see a grasshopper up close if you don’t catch one but you can look at photos in books and online that show the parts of this interesting insect. Each species has it’s own “song” to call to their mates and they hear not with ears on their head (no room there as they have 5 eyes!) but on their bellies.

I still get startled by grasshoppers while tending to my gardens but no longer chase them as the springs in my legs aren’t so springy anymore. I’m content to watch them for a moment until they disappear once again to safety.

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