Maggot mignon? It wouldn’t bug me
We need to talk about insects.
As in, eating them. There is a move on, The Boss tells me, to get all of us — dogs included — eating insects as a source of protein.
This is on account of the fact that, according to those who claim to know these things, insects are a more efficient way to ingest protein than chicken, pork, lamb or beef.
By efficient, they mean that insects consume less resources. Your humble cricket, for example, consumes 1.7 kg of dry feed to produce 1 kg of cricket, er, meat — compared to 2.5 kg for a chook, 5 kg for a pig and 10 kg for a steer.
And the four-legged ones need a lot of water, whereas a cricket needs very little.
Can you believe that 100 g of cricket gives us the same amount of protein as 100 g of beef?
Not surprisingly, The Boss thinks I should go first on this: there’s a fly factory in Cape Town already producing 10 tonnes of dog food a month from dried f ly larvae, fed on spent grain from a nearby brewery.
So, what self-respecting hound salivates over a plate of maggots? Which, I suppose, begs the question: who wants to pass up a filet mignon for 100 g of crickets? Or meal-worms, or termites, or dragon f lies?
A lot of people do, apparently. The Boss was reading that almost 80 per cent of the world’s population — mainly in Asia, Africa and South America — have included insects as a part of their diets for centuries.
Europeans have always been squeamish about the idea, taking their insects largely inadvertently — bits of weevil in the f lour, moths in the cabbage, mouse droppings in the Coco-Pops, that sort of thing.
I have made a selective start: I have a particular affection for bardi grub moths, which are plump and buttery. They turn up in the early autumn when the outside lights are on, flutter around clumsily and sacrifice themselves to me and my enjoyment.
Grasshoppers are another tasty morsel although I regard them as a snack, of course, rather than the main meal and I prefer them to crickets, which I find a little prickly when swallowed mid-song.
Then there’s those pesky insects that a dog has to snap at, like blowflies, bees and wasps. This can be a risky business — but a dog can’t have things buzzing around in his territory unchallenged.
I missed a paper wasp once and it got me on the rebound: I don’t have a lot of flesh on my nose but it had me howling for a bit.
The Boss says I should leave them alone because they clean up the caterpillars. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen him eating one of those lately either — he must need a bit more time. Woof!
● The General is The Boss’s dog. For more yarns, visit