Weta and wetter

Weta loosely translates as 'the god of ugly things', harsh but perhaps not unfair. These creatures aren't popular in New Zealand, as some species bite. This is a Cook's Strait giant weta, a harmless species that became extinct on the mainland about 100 years ago. The endangered giant weta now only survives on smaller islands in the region and its large size results from this island isolation. They can grow to three times the size of the one seen here. The islands are free from predators, so the wetas live in peace and do very well. At the end of the sequence, Stephen Fry reluctantly holds the weta and it promptly pees on him, provoking his comment "weta by name, wetter by nature".

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