Wildlife watching tips: Part 2, Creepy Crawlies

Su Hartland Smith

Getting up close to wildlife in your local patch

It’s not all about the birds and the other obvious creatures in the garden. There’s plenty to see that can’t get away as fast. As a child I was fascinated by ants and other smaller beasties in our garden and I used to really enjoy watching them and seeing what they were doing. When I first started watching wildlife, I didn’t need to know exactly what everything was I was just so interested to find things. Woodlouse, was enough. It didn’t need to be common shiny woodlouse. Simply the enjoyment of seeing another world was enough to get me hooked. Even now as an adult I’m happy with a rough identification.

You can do the same and see what fascinating creatures there are in the garden and on your balconies or even just a wall!

Now a lot of us don’t like creepy crawlies and I understand that. But you don’t have to touch anything or get that close if you don’t want to. Start off by carefully lifting a plant pot, a stone or a piece of wood and see what’s underneath. Or if that might be a step too far have peek under the window-sill outside. You could even watch what the birds are doing in the flowerbeds and then go over to look yourself. Don’t disturb them too often as they need to get their dinner.

Leopard slug credit Su Hartland Smith

Su Hartland Smith

When you’re feeling a bit braver you could make an area to attract them into your garden or balcony. Minibeast hotel, bee house or butterfly home? Here is one of our help-sheets to give you some ideas.

There are all sorts of different invertebrates living in our gardens and they all have a role to play. Indeed some can be a bit of a pest but not all are as it seems. The leopard slug is a gardener’s friend as not only does leave your carefully grown plants alone but it actually hunts and eats other slugs in the garden! And did you know there are 27 different species of earthworm in the UK? These all have their jobs in the garden and help to make the soil tip-top. If you have a bit of spare time on your hands you could become a work specialist and amaze your friends with you knew found knowledge.

If you’re up for a bit of gardening then you could sow some flower seeds to attract wildlife into the garden. You don’t just have to sow wild species there are plenty of garden plants that are great too. We'll share some more wildlife gardening tips soon.