(image of mating grasshoppers courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)
Yesterday I was playing outside with the little girl I nanny (I'm a nanny to a sweet brother-sister duo) when I noticed two large grasshoppers assuming THE position on her potted mum. I called her over to check out the grasshoppers up close. We get excited about our nature sightings--butterflies, birds, worms, caterpillars, deer, squirrels--and grasshoppers are rare. After a moment, she had to ask the question I was hoping wouldn't come up: What are they doing? It was literally my birds-and-the-bees moment, only substitute grasshoppers. I didn't feel it was my place to provide full disclosure about reproduction. I dodged the question and proposed that perhaps they were resting? They were quite still for two grasshoppers getting it on, after all.
I told her dad when he got home about what we saw and how I handled it. He told his daughter the grasshoppers were makin' babies! He also suggested that they were "being friends." I liked that one. I'll tuck that away in my Good Answers for Good Questions file.
When I left their house two hours after first catching the grasshoppers in the act, I felt compelled to go see if they were still there. Not only were they still doing it, but there was a third grasshopper watching and waiting in line! Kinky stuff, this grasshopper mating business! It was a day I sincerely regretted not having my camera handy.