Is it just me... or does the Handbook of Nature Study give you the impression that an effective teacher ought to collect things for the children's classroom... living things, for the sake of observation and learning? Surely the instructions on how to create a pond aquarium or a small animal trap are for the reader's sake?
Well we do. And it's interesting how you really do learn so much more when you spend time with a creature and observe it's behavior.
Take our water bug for instance...
you can learn that those front legs are for catching prey, but it isn't until you observe the one your friend caught you that you see just how it sits perched on a rock sitting ever so still for its prey to swim by to nab it. And you don't see how patient it is and how many times it will try and how frantic it becomes after a while that it even dives after it. And you don't see that after a good day's hunting without a catch, it rests until the next day to give it a try again.
I didn't read anywhere about this silly behavior with its hind legs captured in this video. By the way, it has a water strider in its grip in the video.
I wonder if it isn't trying to release some excess air from under its wings - it seems it only does it after surfacing for air.
Another one of our collections came from this slimy sac of frog eggs we found in a stream by us. We brought them home along with some snails we saw there since the water bug supposedly eats them.
The water bug hasn't eaten the snails we gave it. It prefers the minnows we buy at the pet store for .12 cents a piece. We left the frog eggs in an open container outside and check it every day to see if any of the eggs have hatched. They have! So we keep them in this jar with air holes of course and a tiny bit of algae wafer for food. We've learned too much pollutes the water and can kill the tadpoles.
They are tiny at first, but grow quickly.
For the most part they just hang from their noses like this...
They have the most adorable little faces!
They seem to get along just fine with the snails.
And look - see that?
We've found a few of these egg sacs in different parts of the jar. The tadpoles don't lay eggs... and the only other creature in there are the snails so they must be snail eggs! I guess we'll find out soon.
Isn't real life ever so much more interesting than textbooks?