While walking back from our routine evening stroll through the hills, we stumbled upon some insect(?). It was the size of an index finger, and it appeared to have some sort of wings. While I tried to take pictures of it, it started turning towards me with it 'claws'.

Additional info:

  • Origin: Romania, in the hills
  • Date/time: 17 August 2017, 19:15, sunset
  • Warm sunny day, just started to cool down, 19 degrees celcius

My wife doesn't want to go outside anymore unless she knows what it is, and she won't allow me to go and pet it.

enter image description here


That's some kind of mole cricket (Gryllotalpidae).

According to this website there's only three species found so far in Romania:

  • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa
  • Gryllotalpa stepposa
  • Gryllotalpa unispina

It's most likely you've encountered a specimen of the first species as it's the most common and widespread one in Europe, Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa:

example picture of gryllotalpa gryllotalpa

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    $\begingroup$ Due to the context of the question it might be helpful to add whether they are aggressive, dangerous, poisonous etc. or mostly harmless $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Sep 18 '17 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much. Even though they are common here in Romania, apparently actually meeting one is not an everyday occurrence. $\endgroup$ – Poul Kruijt Sep 18 '17 at 6:12
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    $\begingroup$ See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_cricket, the one shown here seems to stem from Australia, though (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gryllotalpa_brachyptera), the one from the question looks more like Gryllotalpa orientalis $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Sep 18 '17 at 6:29
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    $\begingroup$ @PierreDuc Good question, it probably hitch-hiked 😉‎ $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Sep 18 '17 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKienzler Stop it. Next thing you will start writing cricket as krikkit. $\endgroup$ – Mr Lister Sep 19 '17 at 6:51

To answer whether they are dangerous:

Mole crickets are not poisonous and do not bite people. While they technically could bite you if provoked enough, their bite would be completely harmless. Mole crickets are only harmful to your turf.

Source: Do My Own Pest Control

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Good to hear, so we don't have to burn down our house just yet :) $\endgroup$ – Poul Kruijt Sep 18 '17 at 11:52

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