03 June 2013

Thirteen giant animatronic bugs are to be unveiled as part of our special new event.

Featuring large-scale robotic replicas of species such a scorpion, a ladybird and a 33ft-wide tarantula, BUGS! promises to be one of the most breath-taking exhibits ever seen in a UK zoo.

The huge creations are being custom built for the zoo by a top animation studio in the USA and it will be the first time they will have ever been seen together, anywhere in the world, when BUGS! opens on July 13.

Our conservation team hope the exhibition will provide a showcase for invertebrates and the need to conserve threatened species.

Director General, Mark Pilgrim, said:

“Chester Zoo is heavily involved in vital world-wide conservation work aimed at saving species from extinction. And it’s not just iconic species such as Eastern black rhino and Asian elephants that we’re focussed on. Our work with invertebrates, like our critically endangered Polynesian tree snails or rare British fen-raft spiders, is just as important to us.

“We want BUGS! to put invertebrates in the spotlight, show how fantastic they are and really raise awareness of the need to conserve them. Engaging people, particularly youngsters, with conservation sometimes takes some drastic ideas and new ways of thinking and that’s precisely what we hope these thirteen giant, robotic bugs will do.

“The attention to detail in the creation of these huge bugs is simply incredible. They’re very, very realistic but at the moment we’re keeping their further details top secret and firmly under wraps. We’ve no doubt this new, world first display will leave people absolutely buzzing.”

BUGS! will be free with normal zoo admission prices.

Visit www.chesterzoo.org/bugs for more.



What: BUGS!

When: July 13 – Nov 3

Where: Chester Zoo (SAT NAV CH2 1EU)

Cost: Free with normal zoo admission


Amazing facts about bugs:

• Why they are so important: Invertebrates are vitally important to a healthy planet – humans and other life forms could not survive without them. The food we eat, the fish we catch, the birds we see, the flowers we smell and the hum of life we hear, simply would not exist without bugs. Invertebrates underpin life on earth and without them the world’s ecosystems would collapse

• The emperor scorpion is one of the largest scorpions in the world

• A dragonfly can fly at speeds of up to 34mph

• A grasshopper can jump over 20 times its own body length

• The female praying mantis will often try and eat the male after, or even during, the mating process!

• The firefly is like a chemical engineer –mixing two liquids they can produce intense light without wasting any energy in the production of unwanted heat. We humans haven’t managed to invent a light bulb that can do this yet!

• The orb-web spider chooses its construction materials according to the engineering requirements of its web – very strong silken cable ties for the outer fixings and sticky finer strands of silk for the inner framework. In fact the spider is able to produce around seven specifications of silk to weave its web. Why waste energy and over-spec the job!

• The worker ants know their place – they are born and die as workers, devoted to carrying food back to the colony, never having access to their queen and never mating. But at least they don’t have to fight, the soldier ants do that job

• The bombardier beetle is like the skunk of the insect world – look out for the whoosh, the splash and the terrible smell. If you pose a threat to this beetle be prepared to be bombarded! Indeed, the defensive juices of a bombardier beetle can burn through skin! Now that’s powerful stuff

• The weight of insects eaten by spiders every year, is greater than the total weight of the entire human population

• A house fly ‘hums’ in the key of F

• The males of some species of stick insect have never been discovered

• Little Miss Muffet of the nursery rhyme really existed. She was the daughter of Dr. Mouffet who believed spiders had healing powers when eaten

• The Brazilian wandering spider is the most toxic spider in the world, more than earning its Greek name of ‘murderess’

• Aphids are born pregnant and can give birth after just 10 days

• It’s only female wasps that have stings

• The longest living-insect is the termite queen. They have been known to survive for at least 50 years and some scientists believe they may live to 100

• There are more insects in one square mile of field than there are people in the world