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BUGS! Larger than Life

Sponsored by Sendik’s Food Markets

May 28-Sept. 5, 2016

Blue-eyed Dragon Fly
Blue-eyed Dragon Fly


BIG, BENEFICIAL BUGS will swoop, crawl, buzz and fly into the Milwaukee County Zoo this summer!

BUGS! Larger than Life, sponsored by Sendik’s Food Markets, will feature creatures (13 total!) more than 200 times their actual size, moving and buzzing in their GIANT outdoor habitat. The robotic re-creations will take up residence May 28 and crawl out Sept. 5.

Insects are the foundation of life on earth. Without them, our ecosystem would collapse. These tiny life-forms perform important natural services that are often taken for granted. They’re the pollinators, leaf-litter sweepers, garbage collectors, soil conditioners and natural fertilizer producers of our natural world.

Here are some fast facts about the insects and arachnids visitors will encounter:

  • Black Ants: They live in colonies of several thousand, including males, females and one or two egg-laying queens. These tiny omnivorous bugs eat other insects, fruits, vegetables, greasy or oily foods and plant secretions.
  • Devil’s Flower Mantis
    Devil’s Flower Mantis
  • Bombardier Beetle: These insects boast an extreme form of self-defense: chemical warfare. They create explosive chemical reactions inside their bodies so they can spray burning, caustic liquid from their backsides, reaching a temperature of about 200 degrees!
  • Devil’s Flower Mantis: From the top, it looks like a leaf, but when it rears up in self-defense, its underside sports dazzling red, white, blue and black markings. This insect is quite large at almost 4 inches long!
  • Emperor Scorpion: This is the largest of all scorpions, but despite its impressive size -- adult females are about 8 inches long, males 6 inches -- it’s said to be one of the most timid. Size has nothing to do with the potency of its venom, either, which is weak compared to other scorpion species. Its sting is painful but not deadly.
  • Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula
    Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula
  • Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula: These arachnids are docile and have beautiful orange-red leg joints. Less beautiful, perhaps, is how they eat. Their venom first paralyzes prey and then begins the digestion process, liquefying the innards so the tarantula can suck up the proteins and fats. All that’s left is a small ball of undigested body parts.

In addition to the robotic residents, the Zoo will feature several large displays of LIVE bugs in our specially designed “BUG SHACK.” Located in an indoor enclosure, visitors can see real insects including: a red-claw scorpion, Huntsman spider, dung beetle, tarantula and Madagascar hissing roaches, all displayed in enclosed aquariums.

“BUGS! Larger than Life,” sponsored by Sendik’s Food Markets, is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit is located behind the Small Mammals building and is $2.50 per person after regular Zoo admission.

Special thanks to our BUGS! Larger than Life sponsor:
Sendik's Food Markets