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A plastic ice-cream carton with a lid
Two or three woodlice
A small lump of wood or tree bark
Dead leaves of different varieties
A fine water spray
Something to make holes in the lid of the carton. A knitting needle or a skewer would do.
Using a plastic Ice Cream Carton to make
A Home for Woodlice
This project is supported by the Department of the Environment
Environmental Partnership Fund.
Woodlice are very interesting creatures. Cousins of crabs and lobsters, they left the seas millions of years ago to live on land. They like damp conditions and eat decaying leaves and dead animals.
The females carry their young around in pouches underneath their bodies.
As a woodlouse grows it sheds its skin regularly. It sheds the back half first, eats it and waits for three days for the new skin underneath, to harden. Then it pushes off the front part which it eats as well.
All of the above activities can be observed in a simple woodlouse home.
Wash out the carton.
Place about 2 cm of damp soil in the bottom.
Place the lump of wood or bark on top of the soil. Woodlice like to shelter under this.
Put in some rotting plant material. Give them a variety of leaves.
Make small holes in the lid of the tub and put in the woodlice.
Spray the inside of the tub with a fine spray and cover.
Check the habitat every day to make sure it is moist. Spray regularly with a water mister or fine spray, but avoid having it too wet. Woodlouse
Bugs (Magazine Series) Orbis Publishing Ltd., London, 1994
Fergus O' Gorman (Ed) The Irish Wildlife Book. John Coughlan, Publisher