Noticing it up on the wall like that reminded me of when I discovered Dipsy, the woolly bear that spent a brief week with me at work, over ten years ago now.
One morning, on getting up from my desk, I noticed something that looked just like this, up on the wall. (That wall was painted blue, but otherwise it was the same.) It looked like it might be organic, and given that I'd noticed insect casings that looked similar to this in the water boiler, I thought I'd collect it and see if it could be identified. (I was also curious about what "extras" we'd been having in our tea.)
I put the seemingly inanimate object in an envelope and took it downstairs to show the people in the Food Hygiene department. Perhaps they'd know what it was. As we were looking at it, it suddenly began to move, crawling slowly over the paper! Clearly it was a larva of some kind, but we couldn't tell what, and given that this was a food company, I thought identifying the species would be of interest. I took it back upstairs and put it in a clear box, where it would be able to develop into whatever it was going to be.
Having done some googling, I thought it was most likely to be a larder beetle larva (though a visit to the Natural History Museum would be necessary to verify that). They eat various bits of food stuff, so I gave it a couple of crumbs of bread. The larva wasn't very interested in this though. Maybe it was thirsty - I moistened a bit of paper towel with fruit juice and put that next to the crumbs. The creature pounced on it and drank greedily. And so it got the name Dipsy.
Over the next days, I tried various tidbits of food, including cheese, and a bit of bacon from Alex my co-worker's sandwich. But it was interested in none of this. After a bit more reading, I thought maybe it was a museum beetle, and would like something a bit less processed. Perhaps a tag of skin from my finger - no interest. Or maybe blood. I put some on a bit of paper towel (like the fruit juice), but Dipsy wasn't interested. Nor did he prefer the dried version. I tried other random things - cake, tomato, lettuce, but rarely did he do anything more than give a brief nibble before giving up.
Then one morning, when I went to check on him, his box was empty! Surely he couldn't have climbed out, though I did notice that sometimes the lid didn't quite close properly. The horrible thought occurred to me that an unpleasant man (who shall remain nameless) from the neighbouring office had come in and dealt with him the same was as he did with Homer the Blatella germanica. No, surely not - not even this man could be that nasty..? Perhaps it was just a practical joke, to see how I'd react. By the time Alex arrived, I'd convinced myself of this, and fully expected him to reach into his jacket pocket once he'd seen my distraught condition, and pull out a happy and safe little Dipsy. But it was not to be. And although I looked everywhere, there was no sign of our little office guest.
Here's the poem I wrote in his memory.
Sonnet for Dipsy
In his little box, so seemingly safe
Until one day he chose to disappear
Where has he gone, that tiny insect waif?
Why did he leave his warm and cosy nest
Where he was cared for, regularly fed
Treated as a welcome, respected guest
But seemingly wanting freedom instead
When out of his pupa he'd arch and bend
I wanted to set him loose in the wood
So little Dipsy, my dear larval friend
Could become a beetle and find life good
Though one day on him we shall cease to dwell
Wherever he is, I hope he fares well