By Erik Crouch
You may be able to eat centipedes, scorpions, and tarantulas, but crickets have a higher calling. Farmers in Shandong, rumored to have the most musically-inclined crickets, have been selling the insects for hundreds of yuan each, with especially talented specimens costing up to 2000 yuan.
The Guardian reports:
“It is such fun – it is the sound of nature. Can any musical instrument compare?” said Zhao Boguang, deputy director of the Capital sound-producing insect specialist committee, who sells about 1,000 such pets each year. […]
Dedicated fanciers can buy special long-handled sponges for bathing the insects and spoons to feed them titbits of vegetables or tofu. Most are middle-aged men who remember playing with the insects as children.
When not marveling at the insects’ musical abilities, Shandong farmers also engage in cricket fighting competitions: a cricket fight in October brought together more than 100 enthusiasts to bond over their mutual interest in making bugs fight.
According to Wikipedia:
A losing cricket put back into the ring will only go back to fight one out of ten times. If crickets are shaken and thrown in the air repeatedly, they will fight again six out of ten times. If a cricket is taped to the blade of a ceiling fan and the fan is turned on, it will go back to fight every time and will usually come out the winner.