The Hopping-est Critters of the Grasses
By Robin Red Breast
Grasshoppers are smart- Smart and lazy. The combination of these two traits can be frustrating if you don’t have the right know how. Grasshoppers have evolved incredible hind legs that can catapult them forward at amazing rates. They don’t move unless they have to because those same hind legs are very awkward at more normal walking movement. They require an enormous amount of energy to power those catapult legs and are known to eat a plant to the ground. There is a trick to catching the grasshopper and I’ll share it with you.
Step 1: Right Place, Right TimeGrasshoppers are usually found in open grasslands that get full sun. They like the heat and it is common to find them in these grasslands, basking after a morning of eating. Your best bet is from around noon to three.
Step 2: Fly OverThis is a step that you’ll remember from catching worms. It is a good strategy. You want to locate the bloated hoppers as they take their afternoon tanning trips.
Step 3: Reasonable DistanceYou don’t want to alarm the grasshoppers because they’ll spring away before you get your feet on the ground. As with worms, you’ll want to land a bit behind the hopper. They don’t take frequent short naps like a worm but because they’ve gorged themselves on vegetation, they are often times unable to move quickly (Sometimes they can’t move at all because their bellies are so full).
Step 4: Move & StrikeApproach the bloated hopper quietly. If you’ve done it right, you’ll be standing over it before it even knows you are there. Then peck it quickly, catching those incredible legs between your beak.
How you choose to devour the thing after you’ve caught it is up to you. Just make sure not to wait too long or it will digest it’s meal and regain it’s cunning.