In spite of the somewhat inclement (that means unpleasantly cold and wet) weather, we bravely (on my part - less so on the others among us) ventured outside, wrapped up against the cold, nimbly dodging between the raindrops, to see if we could find any snails.
Snails, as you have seen from this masterly diagram…..
have a cycle of life that involves eggs being laid and baby snails hatching out of them. What if we could ‘borrow’ one or two snails from the wilds of the school garden and take care of them for a bit? And what if we waited and waited oh-so-patiently to see if any of them laid eggs?
But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. First find your snails!
Well, we looked high and we looked low. We looked underneath plants…..
and we looked under stones (where to our surprise we found a teeny pink one of these…..
a very new woodlouse, which was almost as surprised as we were!)
We found one of these…..
(and no, unfortunately it’s not a snail who’s lost his shell; it’s a slug!) in a seed bed, which Nicholas picked up for a closer look…..
as well as one of these…..
which Nicholas also picked up for us. I expect you know what that is.
But do you know what this is? Can you see it there on Nicholas’ thumbnail?
Take a closer look. Even though it looks like quite possibly the smallest worm in the whole world…..
it is probably the larva stage of a different creature. Nicholas found it in the soil.
We spotted a couple of spiders, one hiding within the petals of a narcissus…..
and one which Alexis captured in order to bring back to the classroom for a closer look.
(And yes, it escaped. Heaven only knows where to.)
But we didn’t find any snails. We found evidence that something (possibly even a snail) had been feeding. Holes in leaves…..
But no snails.
During lunchtime, while the sun made a brief appearance, some of us looked some more. This time, perhaps because of the warmth of the sun, we spotted three different kinds of fly. One of these…..
on a daffodil and one of these…..
on its leaf as well as one of these…..
sunbathing on a raspberry leaf (note to self; must keep a close eye on the life cycle of this particular plant!)
But still no snails.
To end with, and just before we pull off our boots for the last time, I have a question for you. What’s fluffy like a bee, hovers and hums and visits flowers like a bee, and has a scary looking spike at one end like a bee?
A bee you say? It certainly looks like one, doesn’t it.
But in fact it isn’t a bee. It’s a fly (and our fourth one of the day). It’s what is called a fly mimic (mimic, as Tanisha explained, means that you pretend to be something else by copying it). This fly ‘pretends’ to be a bee. And in spite of the scary looking spike, it is perfectly harmless.
So even though we didn’t manage to find any snails, we did clock up a good few other living things along the way. Can you remember what some of them were?
PS I wonder - does anyone have any snails hiding in their garden that they wouldn’t mind lending to us for a bit? Although of course you may not know – for, as we can vouch, they can be notoriously hard to spot…..