Bug Barn FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Why are there so many spiders?

When you first walk in, it does seem like there are a lot of spiders. That’s because each spider has to have its own cage. As predators, spiders have to be housed separately so they don't eat each other.

If you went through and counted, you would find we have hundreds of insects in the Bug Barn! Most of our insects are smaller than tarantulas, and are better at sharing their homes. We usually have more than 200 mealworms and 150 roaches at any given time, as well as crickets, mantids, and different kinds of beetles.


insect on arm

Will it bite me?

The majority of animals in the Bug Barn are harmless to humans. Millipedes, beetles, cockroaches, and isopods all have other ways of protecting themselves besides biting. The death-feigning beetles just pretend to be dead. Hissing cockroaches pretend to be snakes and hiss. Our caterpillars may nibble on your fingers, but they are too small to hurt—it just feels like a tiny pinch.


Does it have venom?

Some of the animals in the Bug Barn do have venom. They use it to kill their food.

Our pet tarantulas are just like pet cats or dogs. They can bite—it’s how they eat their food. But they generally will not bite you unless they are hurt or afraid. So, our venomous scorpions, centipedes, and tarantulas might bite if they were mishandled. BUT, that doesn’t mean they can hurt a human. Their venom and stings are for killing small insects, not people.

None of our animals have bitten or stung anyone since the Bug Barn opened in 2006.


Does the Bird Eater Tarantula really eat birds?

This tarantula feeds mostly on insects, but in nature occasionally dines on a small bird, frog, mouse, or lizard. Their name reflects more myth than reality.


How does the hissing cockroach hiss?

Many insects make sounds by rubbing body parts together like crickets, but the hissing cockroach exhales air through its breathing holes (spiracles) to make sound.


Are they real?

Yes! The preserved insects in the Bug Barn are all real, just dead. We have some preserved insects because it’s the easiest way to show you animals from around the world.


Can I take a bug home with me as a pet?

Nope! We went through an intensive permitting process with the US Department of Agriculture to get permission to have our bugs. Some insects or millipedes have the potential to be agricultural pests, so they are regulated and need to be carefully kept in captivity.


What’s the History of the Bug Barn?

There is a nice overview of the creation of the Bug Barn here:
https://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/connections/winter2006/pg04_01.html



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