How does a weta hear?
  • Wetas have ears, they’re just not on the sides of a weta’s head like ours are.
  • A Weta’s ears are on its front legs near its knee joints. They don’t look like our ears though; they’re more like little holes that are quite hard to see.
  • Wetas also have very simple feelers on their bottoms balled cerci (sir-key) which they use to detect vibrations - including vibrations caused by sound so the cerci work a bit like ears too.
  • They use their ears to listen out for predators - other creatures that might like to eat them or hurt them.
  Did You Know?
  • Cave wetas, like the one in the photos here, are called cave wetas because they like to live in dark places like... caves.
  • Cave wetas are different to other wetas because they have very strong legs that are good at jumping. Most other wetas can’t jump or if they can, don’t do it very well.
  • Wetas are related to grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.
  • People who study wetas are called entomologists
  • There are wetas all over the world (they just get called different names like "cave crickets" etc) but New Zealand has the greatest number of different kinds of wetas. We have over fifty different kinds of cave weta and over 40 different normal wetas.
  • A weta is omnivorous (om-niv-or-os). That means they'll eat most things. Plants, fruit, insects sometimes even things like cardboard.
A weta has its ears near its knee joints on it’s front legs because it is the highest point on the weta’s body and because the knees face out in different directions the weta can listen for sounds in almost all directions.
Use your ears to work out which direction a sound is coming from and how close it is to you. Cover your eyes with a blind fold and have someone rattle some keys or something else noisy near you. See if you can point in the direction the sound is coming from without peeping.
Cave weta are not just found in dark places like caves but in lots of other dark places too, like under stones and loose bark or under fallen trees in the forest.
Have a look around your garden and see if you can see a cave weta hiding in a dark spot.
Did you hear about the Italian bug that went out in the rain?
He gotta weta (got wet)

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