Grasshoppers can be found almost everywhere in the world, except for the colder regions near the North and South poles. They live in fields, meadows, and just about anywhere they can find generous amounts of leaves to eat. Some types of grasshoppers will only eat certain types of plants. Others will eat any type of plant they can find. Grasshoppers can destroy entire crops of alfalfa, clover, cotton, corn and other grains, causing millions of dollars in crop damages every year.
When a grasshopper is picked up, they "spit" a brown liquid which is known by most kids and adults as "tobacco juice".(Maybe they someday hope to join a baseball team). Some scientists believe that this liquid may protect grasshoppers from attacks by insects such as ants. Grasshoppers will try to escape from their enemies by jumping up and flying away, or by hiding among leaves or the grass. If you have ever tried to catch grasshoppers in a field, you know how quickly they can disappear by dropping down into the tall grass.
The grasshoppers greatest enemies include various kinds of flies that lay their eggs in or near grasshopper eggs. After the fly eggs hatch, the newborn flies eat the grasshopper eggs. Some flies will even lay their eggs on the grasshopper's body, even while the grasshopper is flying. The newborn flies then eat the grasshopper. Other enemies of grasshoppers include beetles, birds, mice, snakes, and spiders. Another dangerous enemy of the grasshopper is the shoe. The shoe comes in various shapes and sizes, but all are equally dangerous to the grasshopper. Just ask any grasshopper that has been stepped on by one!
There are two main groups of grasshoppers: (1) long-horned grasshoppers and (2) short-horned grasshoppers. They are divided according to the length of their antennae (feelers), which are also called horns. Short-horned grasshoppers are usually called locusts.