7 Sep 2015

'Bring us your huhu grubs'

10:06 am on 7 September 2015

The Southland Museum is calling on Southlanders to collect live huhu grubs to feed its hungry tuatara.

man eating huhu grub

People describe huhu grubs as tasting like peanut butter, Southland Museum's tuatara curator (not pictured) says. Photo: AFP / HO / Juergen Schacke

The museum's tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said the tuatarium currently had over 100 of the reptiles coming out of hibernation.

The museum breeds locusts to feed them, but they had not grown fast enough and food stocks were running low.

Tuatara ate a variety of insects but huhu were "the safest" for collecting.

"I encourage the gathering to come from more natural areas rather than the city because people use pesticides and things and insects can build up an immunity, so we'd prefer not have grubs that come from within the city boundary where there's potential contamination."

A huhu grub hunt made a great family outing, and it was a great way of involving the community in the tuatarium's work, Mr Hazley said.

"We often feed some of the tuatara straight away when huhu grubs become available so people can see the whole cycle."

For huhu hunting novices, the best places to look are rotten logs with finger-sized holes in them, which is usually a sign of a grub infestation.

"People tell me they taste like peanut butter. I've never been game to try one raw, but the ones I cooked on the barbie tasted like the chops I'd just done.

"I think for young tuatara, they're like a lovely thickshake."