Insect the size of a small dog bewilders Aussie: 'Holy s**t'

While these insects are common in parts of Australia, they are usually camouflaged in trees.

Australia is known for its wildlife but it’s not every day you find your dog standing next to a giant, green insect almost the same size.

Jack Riddle was in the shower at his Brisbane home when he heard his dog Harlow "barking like crazy" outside. Fearing what it could be, Jack ran out into the garden to find his pug looking at something large on the garden shed. "Holy f**king s**t," Jack exclaimed as he walked towards the giant bug. "What the f**k?"

After sharing the video of the creature online, hundreds responded saying they could not believe what they were seeing. "Your reaction is totally valid, what the hell is that?" one person asked. "When its wings came out I was getting Jurassic Park vibes," another added.

Image of the small, black pug sniffing the goliath stick insect which is perched on the garden shed.
These large but gentle insects are found along the east coast of Australia. Source: TikTok/JackRiddle

While Jack and many who saw the insect were terrified by the sheer size of it, according to entomologist, Dr Thomas White, Jack and Harlow were lucky to have found themselves a "beautiful" goliath stick insect, otherwise known as eurycnema goliath.

Gentle giant is not as scary as it may seem

You may not see these giant insects out and about regularly as they usually live and camouflage high up in large eucalyptus trees. But, the goliath stick insect is endemic to Australia and lives along the east coast. "They're all around us," Dr White said. "This one may have just gotten lost".

These "herbivores" can look "a little bit scary", particularly when they unfurl their wings, but are "completely harmless", White says. "They will unfurl their wings if they get a little bit scared but that is purely just to say 'leave me alone'," he said.

Instead of being afraid, if you find one of these insects in the wild White says to "enjoy" watching it and to even gently help it get to the nearest tree — ideally a eucalyptus — if you can.

Goliath stick insects are common household pets

While males are similar in colour, they are smaller than the females, who can grow to over 200mm in size. This impressive size as well as their relaxed nature make them a "common" and "easy" pet to have. "You can buy a baby from a reputable seller and they live about 12-18 months," White explained.

"They're easy to take care of and do their own thing, but have no problem being handled as long as you are slow."

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