As a child I naively walked out into the grassy backyard of my home at night after a brief rain. I went out to look at the sky, probably. The memory of why I was out there is superseded by the feeling of slugs all over/under my feet. Drawn out by the rain and eager to terrify any innocent soul that wandered into their midst. As I remember it, there were thousands of them. In actuality I’m willing to concede there may have only been six to ten.

 

I developed a lot of phobias that night (wet grass, bare feet, etc.) but I maintain my fear of bugs is well supported. Allow me to present these many-legged behemoths of the natural world. May your feet always wear welly boots before they touch wet grass.

Giant Weta: the heaviest insect recorded in the world. It weighs more than a tennis ball (2.5 ounces) and resides exclusively in New Zealand. The indiginous people, the Maori, call it the “god of ugly things.”

Goliath Beetle: the larva of this insect weighs even more than the Giant Weta. As a grub they tip the scales at a massive 4 ounces, just slightly less than a baseball. They live in the tropical forests of Africa and feed, not on the nightmares of people, but instead on tree sap and fruit.

Griffinflies: among the largest insects that ever lived. They terrorized the world for 20 million years during the Permian period with their 27-inch wingspan. Fossils from these giants were found in both France and Kansas so those giant wings carried them around the globe.

Giant Burrowing Cockroach: perhaps no surprise the largest cockroach in the world is from Australia, land of natural terrors. They grow to over 3 inches long. There’s an argument to be made that a 3-inch cockroach isn’t necessarily any more terrifying than a 1-inch cockroach.  Any amount of cockroach is capable of ruining your night.

Saint Helena Earwig: this is some real nightmare fuel. These earwigs are luckily contained to the island Saint Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They get to be over 3 inches long and burrow deep into the ground. After rain and at night they emerge to terrify the residents of Saint Helena. Adorably, a representative of the London Zoo is on record saying they make extremely good mothers.

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