The weta (pronounced “wita”) are a variety of insect resembling giant crickets and are unique to New Zealand. They are truely massive and, according to the Rough Guide, the Giant Weta is the heaviest insect in the world and can grow to the size of a small thrush!
Weta are nocturnal beasts and so we were lucky to come across one lying dormant by the side of a Mount Victoria track this afternoon. If it hadn’t been for Polly’s sharp eyes we’d have missed it entirely. Although they are not dangerous, they look pretty vicious as their back legs are lined with spines and their mandibles look strong, so we only paused long enough to take a photo or two before continuing on our way and leaving it be.
Unfortunately there is nothing in this photo to indicate scale, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that this particular specimin was somewhere around two inches in length. That was just it’s body, so you can take a guess at how large it appeared with it’s legs all spread out like that.