Battling it Out: Insects Made to Fight for Entertainment

Back in the days when there were no pest control services yet, people used insects as pets, they were often used as a means of entertainment by making them fight. Insect fighting is a popular activity in many Asian countries – and was actually known to date back to China’s Tang Dynasty. Different insects are used in these “insect sports”, such as the stag beetle, rhinoceros beetle, praying mantis, grasshoppers, and goliath beetles.

Here are two of the most popular forms of insect fighting.



spider fight

It is a insect game which is practised worldwide – especially in Asian countries like the Philippines, Japan, and Singapore.


In Japan, there is an annual spider fighting contest called Kumo Gassen that is held in Kajiki, Kagoshima. They use spiders from the genus Argiopeand the form of spider fighting is similar to Philippine spider-fights. One spider, the “Kamae”, is placed on one end of a stick, while the other spider, the “Shikake”, is placed on the other. The spiders will then fight with each other in the middle.

This contest is a tournament, with the last two remaining spiders fighting each other in the finale.


Also called pahibag sang damang by the Hiligaynons and paaway kaka or sabong sa kaka by the Cebuanos, spider fighting is a popular sport among rural Filipino children. This game starts by placing two spiders at the opposite ends of a stick.

Spider fighting in the Philippines is famous in the country but this practice is now discouraged, especially with children. Why so? Because spider fighting directly affects the educational performance of school children. Adults, on the other hand, also play this sport and treat it similarly with cockfighting, with bets possibly going as high as Php 50,000.


Spiders used in fights in Singapore come from a specific species of jumping spiders – the Thiania bhamoensis (also called the “fighting spider”). These spiders are captured, admired, nurtured, and staged in fights by many young people. They often use male spiders in this sport as spiders are territorial against other males of their kind.

United States

Spider fighting is also famous in the United States, especially in the prisons in Florida. In there, the inmates catch spiders and keep them in boxes as pets.

Cricket fighting

Man Zhiguo's crickets fight each other as he trains them for the upcoming national cricket fighting championships at his house in Beijing

Cricket fighting is also another insect sport involving male crickets. It has originated, and became popular, in China more than 1,000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. It was first started by Tang Dynasty emperors and later popularized by commoners.

Cricket fights are often arranged by weight class. Crickets are often made aggressive by stimulating the cricket’s whiskers using a straw stick in a fighting container. When both crickets are agitated, a divider separating the pair will be lifted, and they will start the match. The fight is considered over when one of the crickets begins avoiding contact, runs from battle, stops chirping, or thrown from the fighting container.


Insect fighting is and has been a form of entertainment from the past to the present. Although this may really be considered entertaining, one must always remember that there are possible repercussions when fully indulging in this – most likely an addiction, or at least a nasty bite.