Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The cicadas are coming! What will our dogs do?

My, what big red eyes you have!
The media are all a-buzz (no pun intended) about the 17-year cicada emergence that is due any time from now until mid-May. Billions of cicadas will overwhelm us with a deafening sound the likes of which, they tell us, we haven't heard since Bill Clinton was in office. (Um. That paraphrasing didn't come out right. Sorry, Bill.)

So, my first thought was: "Wow, what will the dogs do?"

My second thought was: "Riley will EAT them. He eats everything."

But my third thought was: "Hey, wait a minute. This doesn't add up." I distinctly remember Riley encountering (but not eating) masses of cicadas, and he's not 17. And I also distinctly remember a big cicada emergence in 1987, the year before my daughter was born, and again when she was 16--which would be 2004.

The math wasn't working.

So I did a little research and found that there are all kinds of "broods" of 17-year and 13-year cicadas. In 1987 and 2004, we had Brood X (10), a 17-year variety that is known as the "Great Eastern Brood" (says Wikipedia) and is the largest of them all. And their arrival truly is an experience you are not likely to forget. But those buggers aren't due back until 2021. (I have to admit--I actually grew a little fond of those clumsy, goofy little guys.)

The brood emerging this year is Brood II (2), which last came out in 1996. And, frankly, that year is not sticking in my head like the others. So I doubt that this will be as much of a phenomenon as we might be led to believe. And that's just fine.

Search result when googling
(not quite what I expected to find)
But . . . my original purpose in writing this was to talk about dog-cicada interactions. The cicadas happen to be a great food boon for a lot of animals, and dogs have been known to snack on them. Actually, even people eat them. The WBAL story says they have a "delicate, nutty flavor, and a buttery texture."  People apparently enjoy them boiled, baked, stir-fried and dipped in chocolate. (I really didn't mean to tell you that. Sorry.)

Long story short, the cicadas themselves are not toxic. But a dog that eats too many might have trouble digesting the tough skins and could get an intestinal blockage, or could choke on a body part. And just like people, some dogs can get allergic reactions.

So I for one will not panic if Riley nibbles on just one. But I will definitely lecture him about moderation.

File:Cicada Brood II.gif
Geographic range of Brood II
For more cicada info:

Columbia Dogs on the Go

1 comment:

  1. The Post has a good article today about the various broods. It looks like not much will happen in Howard Co. More in Baltimore Co. and VA. http://goo.gl/SqIRo


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