The return of the 17-year cicadas has Washington buzzing.

For the cicadas, the good old days are just about over. They seem to have enjoyed themselves while in above-ground Washington. Others have, too.

In the reptile house at the National Zoo, for instance, tongues have been wagging, says spokeswoman Peper Long. "Lizards, caimans, turtles and amphibians love the protein-rich insects that are the rarest of treats," she says.

Water dragons, chameleons and skinks -- who ordinarily crunch-and-munch on roaches and crickets -- have delighted in the exotic exoskeletal delicacy. Keepers have noticed, Long says, that the lizards "will generally choose a cicada over a cockroach."

To reptiles, Long says, cicadas are "sort of like caviar."

Holly B. Laffoon of Fort Washington has been bitten by Cicadamania. She is keeping all the stories about Brood X in a big fat envelope. She ordered a silver cicada for her charm bracelet, and she learned how to make origami cicadas. "I rescue ones that have fallen on their backs and can't turn over," she says, "speaking soothingly to them the whole time."

She adds, "In 2021, I will be 75 years old. I hope that I will still be here to experience this again."

Any last -- and lasting -- cicada tales? E-mail