Toad Gets Bugged
Characters: Teddy Toad, Shirley Spider, Davy Dragonfly, Bombardier Beetle, Giant Water Bug.
Teddy Toad I’ve worked up quite an appetite in the garden today and a nice insect would taste great. (tapping sound) Is that the pitter patter of little buggy feet I hear? Who’s that walking down my garden path?
Shirley Spider It’s me, Shirley Spider. Let me pass!
Toad Afraid not! I’m ready for an insect snack and a crunchy bug like you would be perfect.
Spider I might be crunchy because of my hard skin or exoskeleton – but I’m not an insect!
Toad You sure look like an insect to me with those jointed legs.
Spider Yes, but insects have only six legs, and I have eight. Think how they’d tickle going down.
Toad Oh, a couple more legs won’t bother me at all.
Spider And insects have three juicy body parts, while I have only two. And look at my head. No antennae!
Toad No, but you have lots of eyes.
Spider Yes, but insects have nice, big compound eyes instead of these little, simple eyes. And don’t forget about their wings.
Toad Wings, yum! I do love wings.
Spider Well, if you eat me, you won’t have any appetite left for an insect with wings.
Toad Well, then you can pass. I’ll wait for a real bug to eat. (spider exits) Who’s that flitting down my garden path?
Davy Dragonfly It is I, Davy Dragonfly. Let me pass!
Toad Never! You’re just what I want – a nice crunchy bug to fill my belly.
Dragonfly Bug! I certainly am not a bug.
Toad What? You have three body parts, six legs, big compound eyes, and wings! You can’t tell me you’re not an insect!
Dragonfly I’m an insect, but I’m not a bug.
Toad But aren’t bugs the same as insects?
Dragonfly Oh no. A true bug is a particular type of insect – not just any old insect. You wouldn’t call a butterfly a “bug,” would you?
Toad Well…no. A butterfly’s a butterfly.
Dragonfly Right. A butterfly is an insect with big colorful wings. You wouldn’t you call a bumblebee a bug, would you?
Toad No, it’s a kind of bee. But what’s all this talk about bugs and true bugs?
Dragonfly Lots of critters are called bugs, but true bugs are a special group of insects. They have wings that close tightly over their backs, and beaks for sucking juices.
Toad Sounds like a juicy meal to me!
Dragonfly Right! You don’t want a buzzy dragonfly when you could eat a juicy bug!
Toad Yeah. I want a true bug – yum!
Dragonfly I thought so. Bye, Toad. (exits)
Toad Bug, bug, I want a true bug! (tapping noise) Ah ha! Who’s that coming down my garden path?
Bombardier Beetle Hey toady, how’s it going? You’re gonna let me pass, right?
Toad No sir-ee! I think you’re a true bug, and I’m gonna eat you!
Beetle True bug? No way – I’m a beetle.
Toad Beetle, bug, what’s the difference?
Beetle Well, for one thing, when a true bug’s wings are closed they make an X-shape on its back. Now check out my wings.
Toad Hmm. Your wings close in a straight line, right down the middle of your back.
Beetle That’s right. My front wings are hard and protect my delicate underwings.
Toad Well, I like hard, crunchy wings! Down the hatch you go! (lunges at beetle)
Beetle Guess you don’t know anything about bombardier beetles.
Toad What’s to know?
Beetle Well, think of us as the skunks of the insect world. I take aim like this. (turns)
Toad Oh! I do remember about bombardier beetles! You squirt an awful chemical. Go on, go away! You can pass! I don’t want you for dinner! I’ll wait for a juicy bug after all!
Beetle I toad you so! Bye, Teddy. (exits)
Toad That was a close call. But here comes something else! Who’s that walking down my garden path?
Giant Water Bug (deep voice) It is I, a giant water bug. Let me pass!
Toad No way! I want a bug for dinner, and I can see that your wings make an X on your back. You’re a true bug for sure.
Water Bug Yes, I am a true bug all right, but you don’t want to mess with me.
Toad You are big, but I have a big appetite.
Water Bug Me too! See my long front legs? They’re good for grabbing my prey. Why, I eat tadpoles for snacks!
Toad T-t-t-tadpoles, you say?
Water Bug Yes, and when I catch them, I poke my piercing, sucking mouth tube right through their skin and suck out the juices!
Toad (to audience) True or not, this bug is making me nervous.
Water Bug We water bugs can pierce very tough skin. People often call us toe-biters!
Toad (to audience) If I don’t let it pass, it might become a toad-biter! (to bug) Turns out I’m not hungry after all, so on your way, Water Bug.
Water Bug A smart decision. (exits)
Toad Phew, that was a close call. It’s a good thing I had my wits about me! That bug might have made me his dinner… dinner? Doggone it! I let all those juicy, crunchy, leggy critters get away. Now I’m toad-ally famished! Guess I’ll go look for a plain old worm. Good bye!