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Germany

Ants Latest Pet Craze in Germany

German children are marching to pet shops on the trail of a pricey new trend -- ant-breeding. German insect dealer Martin Sebesta said after the creatures were showcased as pets at a German agricultural fair last month, the self-proclaimed "ant fanatic" has had so much interest from children and students at his Berlin store that he plans to open two new shops. "Children love them because they can observe a mini-world. Every member of the colony has a different job to do, some collect food, others defend the queen," said Sebesta, who sells at least two colonies per day at $126 each. "They are easy to look after, eat household scraps and can live up to 30 years," said Sebesta, whose most expensive ants cost $1,764 per colony of up to 20 ants. The biggest ants he offers, from Southeast Asia, grow up to around two inches. Others species are barely visible. The 28-year-old ant dealer has been selling the insects on the Internet since 2000. But he said most people preferred to come to his shop to handle the ants before buying them online.