Last week it was raining, and I was hurrying off to give a lecture on textiles. As I dodged raindrops down the sidewalk, heading for my car, I almost stepped on a peculiar New Zealand native, the weta.
What is a weta? It’s kind of like an awesome, freaky, spiney, scary grasshopper.
Oh, and some of them are 4″ long, and that isn’t counting their legs or antennae. With those they are almost a foot long. And they can weigh as much as a sparrow. And the males hiss and bite when threatened.
Luckily, the weta I found was a more common, garden variety female Wellington tree weta (I think – my weta identification skills are pretty rudimentary), but even the garden variety weta need protection, so I reached down to pick up the weta so it wouldn’t get squashed on the sidewalk.
Unfortunately for me, my weta decided it liked my leather gloves, and didn’t want to let go.
What was I going to do? I had a weta on my glove that I couldn’t detach, and a lecture to get to! So I took it along.
Yep. My weta came for a drive in the car, and because it is cruel to leave animals in cars, even on cold days, it came in to the lecture.
And it sat on my glove at the edge of the podium while I talked about issues of cultural appropriation in textile design for an hour.
I don’t think it cared. The students were pretty amused though.
After the lecture, I drove home, got my camera, snapped a few pictures, and took a little time to admire what amazing, intriguing creatures they are.
And then I took the weta back out to a safe area near where I found it, and carefully moved each of its legs to the tree.
I hope it lives a long and happy weta life, with no more adventures.