The trees reach to the sun absorbing as much energy as they can. Under them smaller broad leaf plants and trees spread out hoping for nutrients only the sunshine can give. Further down are the twisting vines, the ferns, the more moist plants continue to yearn for some of the warmth of the sun. Here in the rainforest of Borneo there are thousands of different species of insects.
According to scientist the rainforest is millions of years old, much older than even the Amazon rainforest. There are over 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, over two hundred species of mammals and over 400 species of birds. It is the home of the Orangutan, the Asian Elephant, the Clouded Leopard, the Dayak Fruit Bat and the rare Hose’s Civet.
Here in the rainforest also lives an insect that most people would simply overlook. The reason they might not see it is because it looks exactly like a twig. It is called the Walking Stick insect. The rainforest provides the greatest place of earth for it to live because it can camouflage itself among the assorted varieties of natural trees and vines.
The walking sticks grow from a tiny half inch long to over 21 inches long. With its legs outstretched it is one of the longest insects in the world. As with many insects the females are normally larger than the males.
Moto sat on the branch of one of the lower lush green plants. He felt comfortably certain that he blended well with the green color of the stems. He had been sitting completely still all day watching for something to land near him. He had a very good day the day before. He killed and ate twelve bugs that landed on him thinking he was just a part of the tree.
“Did you know that I am very good at doing nothing?” He whispered to the serpent lying on the ground beneath him.
“I just sit here all day long completely motionless. I don’t even blink my eyes often. I can out fox almost all of the insects here. You would think they would not be so stupid but day after day they land on my back thinking I am a stick. Well, I guess I do look just like one so it really would be difficult to tell the real thing from me.” He spoke in a hushed voice.
“You are lucky. I eat as often as I can but I just get bigger. Then it is harder for me to hide. I have had a good day today though. I caught a huge lizard and ate him all by myself. So I will be fine for a few days.” The serpent burped loudly.
“I think I will go into acting.” The stick replied.
“Oh my goodness what in the world would you act like? A stick is a stick regardless of which way you position him. Now you might want to contemplate becoming a real walking stick. Then you could at least help some old man across the road.” The serpent laughed.
“Stop making fun of me. I could be a real walking stick if I really wanted to be one.” Moto pouted.
“I’m not making fun of you. You are just a funny stick and you say the dumbest things.” The serpent answered as he wound himself around a tree trunk.
“I suppose I do have a very boring life. I can spread my wings out if I wanted to and show off my brilliant colors. I just don’t like to do that because I will be more noticed. I have an uncle that looks just like a stump. He has arthritis in his legs now and can’t get around as good as he once did.” Moto recalled.
“It’s probably from lack of exercise!” The serpent laughed sticking his tongue out at Moto in contempt. “I think it is better to get lots of exercise and keep your muscles strong. Oh but I forgot you don’t have any muscles.” He hissed hysterically.
“Well at least God didn’t kick me out of heaven like He did your ancestors!” Moto blurted out in protest.”I do get exercise thank you very much. The muscles in my throat work very well digesting my food. I also do leg bends at night before I go to sleep. You are just an evil ole serpent. I hope you don’t eat for a week because you have a really bad attitude.” Moto snapped as he rolled his eyes in disgust at the comments the serpent had made.
“You just go on being a stick. It is almost as boring as a bump on a log.” The serpent laughed. “I’m going up to the top of this tree to see what I can see. Don’t get yourself exhausted breathing.”
“Get out of here you detestable creature. I just hate it when you are so cruel. I might be a boring stick but at least I don’t insult folks. I hope a vulture spies you and swoops down and grabs you. You deserve it.” Moto shouted angrily.
“A stick is a stick that can’t even lick. A stick is a stick like a clock without a tick!” The serpent called from above Moto’s head.
“Hey all you vultures out there, I know where there is a juicy big snake. If you follow my voice I’ll show you exactly where he is.” Moto yelled out as he munched on a leaf.
It wasn’t but a few minutes until the tree tops were black with vultures. All eyes were searching for the serpent.
“He’s just underneath the red flowering plant about mid way up the tree.” Moto called. “The last one is a rotten egg.”
The tree limbs shook as all the vultures swooped down to fetch the serpent.
“You won’t have to worry about being thrown out of heaven now. You are going to end up as poop on the rainforest floor.” Moto laughed. “All I have to fear is becoming framed in somebody’s laboratory right next to the butterflies. “Ron is right! You just can’t fix stupid.”
So it came to be that the serpent did indeed become poop on the rainforest floor and Moto went back to being himself, a stick. He might have a boring life but he was alive. Perhaps he would become someone’s walking stick someday. You just never can tell!
Question: What does a walking stick look like? What do they eat?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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