Miniature Neck Brace Saves Peruvian Jumping Stick

March 5, 2024

Today's good news story comes from Houston, Texas.

In a heartwarming tale of ingenuity and care, the Houston Zoo recently announced the successful rehabilitation of a tiny resident, a Peruvian jumping stick, thanks to the creation of the world's tiniest neck brace.

grasshopper neck brace
Credit: Houston Zoo

The saga began when one of the zoo's entomology keepers noticed a crease and weakened area around a non-joint part of the insect's "neck" after completing its molting process. Quick to respond, the entomology team collaborated closely with the zoo's veterinary experts to devise an extraordinary solution – a miniature, flexible neck brace.

In an official blog post, the Houston Zoo proudly introduced their creation, saying, "Introducing the world's tiniest neck brace! Recently, one of our smaller residents, a Peruvian jumping stick, completed molting. After the post-molt process, one of our entomology keepers noticed the insect had a crease/weakened area around a non-joint area of the 'neck'."

Dr. Melissa, a key member of the veterinary team, played a crucial role in crafting the ingenious device. Using the shaft of a sterile Q-tip and soft microspore tape, they fashioned a tiny neck brace for the grasshopper, ensuring it was secure but gentle enough for the delicate creature.

Days later, the moment of truth arrived. The miniature neck brace was removed, and the female Peruvian jumping stick triumphantly supported her own head, signaling the success of this miniature medical marvel.

grasshopper neck brace
Houston Zoo

The zoo expressed its pride in the collaborative effort, stating, "Whether it’s a mammal, reptile, bird, or even insect, all of our animals receive extraordinary care from our veterinary team, no matter how big or small it may be. Together, with the help of our entomology and veterinary team, one of our smallest critters received exceptional treatment thanks to the ingenious design of a temporary neck brace."

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