Students are getting bitten by the bug

IT is certainly a bug s life at Shuttleworth College at Old Warden. They come in all shapes and sizes and many would make most people shiver with fear. But for the students at the animal care centre learning about all types of creepy crawlies it is a dail

IT is certainly a bug's life at Shuttleworth College at Old Warden.

They come in all shapes and sizes and many would make most people shiver with fear.

But for the students at the animal care centre learning about all types of creepy crawlies it is a daily routine to come face to face with some very weird and wonderful insects.

One of the biggest bugs at the college is a Malaysian jungle nymph, which is bigger than an adult's hand and in the wild looks like a leaf to camouflage itself from predators. It is also one of the heaviest insects on our planet.

"Students learn to handle, yes I mean handle, all sorts of insects that might frighten a lot of people," said animal centre manager Carl Groombridge.

"The Malaysian jungle nymph is really a big stick insect and students are getting a real insight into handling it and hopefully the nymphs will breed here as well."

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But many of the students might have finished their courses before any baby nymphs hatch. The eggs of a nymph, Latin name Hetropteryx Dilatata, take up to 18 months to hatch.

And if the students are not careful the nymph can give them a sharp reminder to handle with care as its back legs are covered in tiny needle-sharp spines that can puncture a human skin and are normally used to ward off predators.