By Maryam Louise
When it comes to the world of weird sports, there are certainly some offenders. As People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) states on their website concerning animals used for entertainment purposes: “There is nothing remotely “sporting” about sports that involve unwilling animal participants.” However, there are plenty of ways that insects display their athleticism without provocation. To fans sports that involve insects are viewed as on par with any major championship. But let’s be honest—to most they are still seen as weird.
Australian cockroach racing
Cockroach exhibition race in Washington.
Who says cockroaches are good for nothing? In Queensland, Australia, the annual championships of theCockroach Races are held. Despite the fact that racing the world’s most unwelcome guest is strange, there are actually corporate viewing boxes at the event. Altogether over 5,000 cockroach fans participate, and have the option of bringing their own racer or buying one from the event’s bug ranch.
The refined sport of cricket spitting
A newcomer to the world of weird sports, spitting dead crickets as far as you can was developed in 1996. Created by Jonathan Neal the BugBowl is still popular at Purdue University, where Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology. On his blog, Neal lists several rules for the competition, including the species limitations, weight ranges of the dead crickets and a requirement that the Brown House Crickets are previously frozen.
Neal has gone on to publish “Living With Insects” and has watched his weird sport spread nationwide. Currently, Brian Johnsrud holds the world record for spitting a cricket: 22 feet and 8 inches.
Japanese bug fights
In Asia, it is common to find plenty of prize winning insect owners for the purpose of bug fighting. In particular there is a type of rhinoceros beetle that is favored for competition, called the kabutomushi. Although it is not referenced academically, lovers of the popular Japanese Bug Fight website will tell you that this was once a performance exclusively for Asian kings.
While the origins are still disputed, this show has now grown to include different types of insects. Millipedes, grasshoppers and the praying mantis have all been featured in Japanese Bug Fighting videos. Despite the popularity, there is plenty of outcry from insect lovers all over the world. In the InsectGeeks.com forums, many people feel that insects fighting to the death is ethically inappropriate. Unlike other weird sports involving insects, this means that bug fighting might be locked into the weird category forever, since there may come a time when voters decide to ban it.