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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 7/1/1997


by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

 New Zealand is home to a giant, ugly, fearsome beast called a weta. It has another name—taepo—which in the Maori language means “the devil who comes by night.” The Bible talks about the real devil as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

What is this scary-sounding creature? Wetas are wingless, cricket-like insects. There are two main types: the smaller cave wetas, and the larger ground and tree wetas. The ground wetas can grow as large as a mouse. I took a ground weta to school in a jar once. It tore the paper lid off the top, and I thought it was coming to get me! This one was four inches long. Ugh! They are not poisonous, but will defend themselves if threatened. Wetas can draw blood by biting with powerful jaws, and they can scratch you with the spines on their hind legs. Needless to say, I left my show-and-tell specimen and ran.

By comparison, cave wetas are shy. They thrive in the dark, damp conditions of caves. They lay eggs to incubate in soft mud, and hang in colonies upside down. They have very long antennae and back legs. 

We may think that the weta is ugly, and one of its names is not very nice, but in some ways it reminds me of how a Christian should be. Wetas avoid trouble by sliding into crevices and cracks in rocks or bark. But if provoked, they will make a stand. Christians, also, should avoid trouble whenever they can. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you,” the apostle Paul wrote, “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Jesus and His disciples sought safety on many occasions so that they could continue to teach the Gospel. Yet, we should make a stand for the Truth (Jude 3), and always be ready to tell people why we are Christians (1 Peter 3:15).

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*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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