Once upon a time there was this volcano that exploded from underneath the seas over 7 million years ago.  It raises 1,844 feet into the air and is a towering thin rock.  It was named Ball’s Pyramid in honor of the British naval officer who saw it first. 

Pretty amazing looking rock and my rock-climbing friends are probably drooling over the thought of scaling this, but wait.  There is more to this story.

13 miles away are the Lord Howe Island Group, between Australia and New Zealand.  One day a ship ran aground on Lord Howe Island and it took 9 days to make repairs.  During this time the 4-legged mascots on board, otherwise known as Black Rats abandoned ship and much to their delight found a very tasty treat waiting for them.  Residents had named this treat Tree Lobsters.  They were not really lobsters, they were in fact 6-legged insects that held the honor of being the largest and heaviest flightless insects in the world. They masqueraded as stick insects and were as big as a human hand.

After two years had passed the rats had gone forth and multiplied and by 1960 scientists believed  the Tree Lobster was extinct.

Rumors came back though from climbers that skeletons of these insects were here and there, but no one wanted to verify this fact as these insects are nocturnal and no one wanted to climb that rock at night.

However curiosity got the better of two Aussie scientists and they actually did go over and climb 500 feet to where they had seen some vegetation and there they found big insect poop.  Nothing excites scientists more than poop.  They came back after dark and what to their wondering eyes would appear?  Not St. Nick I promise you that.  Underneath the plant they discovered 24 of these big boys and girls, and as they put it – it was a Jurassic Park moment.

Ready?  Here they are:

I think they are cool, wouldn’t bother me to hold one, but I know there are people probably leaving this article now except there is a happy ending, so please keep reading.

No one has a clue as to how they got from Lord Howe Island to Ball’s Pyramid, but they did.  After several years of debating moving them back to a “better place to live”, 4 of them were removed to Australia to be placed in a breeding program.  One pair died, and “Adam and Eve” survived and multiplied.

The people of Lord Howe Island are not to thrilled about having these large insects back, and then there is the problem of the grandkids, nieces and nephews of the Black Rats who could effectively wipe out the population again.

This is the rarest insect in the world.  The Melbourne Zoo is still working on this, in the meantime extinction has not won, and I only have one question, do they bite?  The answer is no.  Want one more peek?

I swear as a kid I saw these in a horror flick.

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