Toe biters can be found in lakes throughout the Okanagan and beyond

One big, nasty bug

Today's Bug of the Week is one nasty customer – with a well-earned bad reputation.

It's officially known as a giant water bug, but they are also referred to as toe biters.

And one look at the large beetle shows how they got the moniker.

Toe biters are carnivorous hunters and will 'bite' someone should they be stepped on underwater.

According to Wikipedia, they can grow up to two inches in size and have large front pincers that they use to catch their prey, which includes small fish, small frogs, newts and other such aquatic delicacies.

When they catch their prey, they inject digestive toxins that liquify the insides of said prey, allowing the big bug to 'drink' their victim's innards. Yum.

While they live in water, the beetles can't hold their breath and actually trap air under their wings, which allows them to stay submerged, using two snorkel-like tubes that extend from the rear of its abdomen to the air supply.

They tend to reside on the muddy bottom of waterways like ponds and lakes and will bite if stepped on, hence the nickname.

However, other than that defensive reaction, they are not aggressive towards people.

When threatened, the bug will play dead until the threat goes away. If the threat continues, they will assume a defensive posture and will use those long front pincers to defend themselves.

They can be found throughout the region, in lakes and have even been spotted in swimming pools.

Have you had a close encounter of the creepy crawly kind? Send a picture to [email protected] and we may feature it as a Bug of the Week.

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