ANIMALS Moments You Never Forget … (No. 46)

Posted by Axel Thorer on 25. November 2013

If you see this flying horror, close the windows, get out the gun!

Red Tailed Wasp

The horror: half black, half red and big ...


... like a fat cigar!

I didn’t believe it until I saw it. And before I saw it for the first time, I read about it – in the entertaining book „Delagoa Bay“, written in 1891 by the English lady Rose Monteiro. That’s what she wrote, living near what is now Maputo, the capital of Mozambique in East Africa: „I have a nest made by the red-tailed wasp, which is 5 1/2 inches long, 3 1/4 long and 1 3/4 high …“. Wait a minute, I thought: 5 1/2 inches means 12,7 cm, 3 1/4 is 7,62 cm, and 1 3/4 is 2,54 cm!!! That’s about the size of a fully grown cigar! With wings and it stings! How is it possible that a wasp is much bigger than a hornet? And if they have wasps like this, my god, how large are the hornets? Everything is possible in this part of the world. I now saw one of these gigantic wasps myself, a caddies in the Maputo golfclub had it on a string, flying around like a bird on a leash, quite an attraction even for the Mozambiqueans, half tamed it was and obviously had the kid the sting removed or cut. Gosh, was it frightening even in captivity! A huge beast, noisy like a chopper, and when it sat down, it did it with an audible „thud“. I guess that three stings might kill a baby, ten a gown man. But the literature tells nothing about the worst case.

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