Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Meet ScarlettIf I were having this conversation with you in person I would say ‘Do you want to hear the long story or the short story?’ If you requested the short story I would say: “We received a giant burrowing cockroach as a gift and named her Scarlett.”

If you would like to hear the long story, then please read on:

My brother (a great animal lover) colluded with my husband (also a great animal lover) to obtain consent to give my son (another great animal lover) a native giant burrowing cockroach as a Christmas gift. Myself (a little ‘meh’ when it comes to animals) hastened to put a very quick and resounding stop to any talk involving cockroaches.

After much negotiation, my brother acquired the cockroach on the compromise that the roach would live with him and my son could visit it whenever we visited our family interstate. Consequently the little brown critter was placed into a plastic travel tank complete with dirt and gum leaves, wrapped in undignified Santa paper and presented to my son on Christmas day. My son took one look at the roach, his eyes filled with love and he announced to all his cousins that her name was Scarlett. From that point on the matter was pretty much settled. For the duration of our interstate holiday Scarlett sat in her little tank in the kitchen and we had time to get to know one another. She would burrow her head into the dirt and lazily surface for pieces of vegetable and gum leaves as the need arose. She didn’t move much, or do anything really, so I nic-named her pudding. When the time came to leave there was no doubt our new pet was coming with us…on our 1,400km road trip back to Sydney. The absurdity of the situation dawned on me a few times during the trip as Scarlett + tank would join us in cafes and roadhouses, but she really was such an agreeable travel companion that I couldn’t complain.

When we arrived home, we acquired a much larger glass tank and created a more suitable habitat for her. Scarlett spends most of her days sitting like a little pudding buried snugly into the dirt, surfacing only to eat, drink and be patted and poked by admiring children. Did you know that if you google ‘Giant Burrowing Cockroach’ you will come up with websites that describe these creatures as the ‘perfect pet’. I’m almost half-inclined to agree.

How to create an ideal habitat for a giant burrowing cockroach


1. Get a large glass tank and fill with a mixture of sand and peat moss. We purchased sand from an aquarium store and peat moss from our local hardware store.

Step22. Add some paperbark for shelter and privacy.

Step33. Sprinkle liberally with a variety of small dry leaves.

Step44. Add some larger brown gum leaves.

Step55. Squirt the tank with a fine mist of water to provide good moisture coverage. You can see the size of the water droplets on the leaves here.

Step66. Provide a very small, shallow dish of water. These critters nibble on dry gum leaves but also love small pieces of sweet potato and cucumber.

Now you’re free to sit back and enjoy the show. Unfortunately they spend most of their time completely buried. Amen to the world’s most low maintenance pet.

Watching Scarlett

And who says girls like playing with Barbie dolls.

Posing with Scarlett


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