Creepy Crawlies

Satisfy your curiosity about ants, butterflies, crabs, spiders, termites and 1000s of their relatives. The Creepy Crawlies gallery explores how all arthropods live. Take a closer look at the 4 main groups: insects, crabs and related species, centipedes and millipedes, and spiders and related species.

Entrance to the Creepy Crawlies gallery.

What makes locusts swarm? How do termites air-condition their homes? How do bees tell where flowers can be found? Find out in the Creepy Crawlies gallery. On your visit, explore exhibits, watch videos, hear sounds and interact with displays.


Locusts feed on plants, leaves and young shoots. When they swarm together they can decimate whole areas of land. Even in moderate-sized groups of 5,000 million, they can devour 1,000 tons of vegetation a day.

Live leaf cutter ants.

Watch hundreds of leaf-cutter ants at work producing their own food. These industrious creatures live on fungus that grows on the leaves they bring back to their nest. In the wild, one nest can hold as many as 7 million individuals.

Butterfly changes display

All arthropods change as they grow. Some more dramatically than others. Witness the full extent of changes in a swallowtail butterfly’s life from caterpillar to cocoon, as you look up at this enormous mounted exhibit.

Inside the life-sized African termite mound.

Enter a life-sized African termite mound and learn more about these useful, but sometimes destructive, insects. In the tropics, termites help recycle soil and create habitats for other species. It is said they can destroy houses. Termite mounds can be up to 9 metres high and extend many metres underground.

Build a spider interactive display

From scorpions to spiders, the Arachnids room uncovers many myths about this much-feared variety of leggy creatures. At the Build your own arachnid interactive display explore the differences in arachnids as you try to lift the model spider’s legs. They only rise up when you get the answers right!

Hermit crabs inside their shells.

Hermit crabs are shell-sharers, protecting themselves by moving into the empty shells of molluscs like periwinkles or whelks, such as this one. Other animals, such as ragworms, also often lodge in hermit crab shells, picking up bits of leftover food from the crab.

Hawk moths hovering.

Hawk moths have streamlined wings and bodies perfectly adapted for rapid flight. They are capable of hovering while they use their long tongues to sip nectar from deep flowers such as orchids.

Millipede display

Learn the difference between centipedes and millipedes. Actually it’s easy if you know. Millipedes are vegetarians while centipedes are meat-eaters. Look in on this huge millipede on the forest floor where they like to feast. Millipedes can grow up to 300mm in length.