Other Animals

4 min read

“I never really thought about bugs having personalities until Groot came along.”

Earlier this summer, an unexpected visitor dropped by Jimmy Sexton’s backyard in Missouri and quickly made himself at home.

It was a stick bug — the largest Sexton had ever laid eyes on.

“I was shocked,” Sexton told The Dodo.

Despite the insect’s incredible camouflage, however, this particular bug seemed eager to be seen.

Jimmy Sexton

Rather than move on to a place where he’d better blend in, the stick bug decided to stick around. There, he’s become well-acquainted with Sexton and his family. 

“He is very friendly! This big guy loves hanging around people,” Sexton said. “He seems to be very attentive and wants attention.”

Whenever the Sexton family gathers out on the patio, the stick bug seeks them out.

“He will come toward us and crawl up our chair legs, or crawl down lower if he was hanging out near the ceiling,” Sexton said.

The family named him Groot.

Jimmy Sexton

Somewhere in Groot’s slender, stick-shaped body was a heart of gold.

“I never really thought about bugs having personalities until Groot came along,” Sexton said.

Jimmy Sexton

As if Groot’s friendly nature weren’t remarkable enough, it turns out he’s outstanding in yet another way.

His species, known as walkingsticks, is the largest insect in North America — known to grow up to 7 inches in length. Groot, however, is a whopping 9.5 inches in length.

“According to MDC Forest Entomologist Robbie Doerhoff, if there were records to be had, this individual may get the trophy!” the Missouri Department of Conservation wrote of Groot.

Chances are, Groot will eventually move on to seek out a mate in the woods surrounding Sexton’s patio to make a new generation of stick bugs — but until then, the Sextons are happy to have him call their place home.

After all, they’ve come to love Groot.

“What endeared us to him the most was his attentiveness — knowing where we were, following us, and generally wanting to be a part of the family,” Sexton said.

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