Roly-Poly Slaters

Slaters are intriguing for children.
Slaters are intriguing for children.
Call them what you will, but slaters  (also know as woodlice, pill bugs, roly-polys or butchy boys) are fascinating for kids. They are found in gardens all over the world and kids love holding them and watching them roll into little balls. They are often collected as pets and are great to investigate when learning about minibeasts. Here are some facts you may not know about these intriguing little critters you can share with the kids:

  1. Slaters are not insects, they are crustaceans and therefore are related to lobsters and crabs.
  2. They use gills to breathe however will drown if submerged in water.
  3. Slaters are scavengers and feed on decaying matter such as rotten wood and plants.
  4. They are often found under logs, pots or in piles of leaves.
  5. They do not urinate, instead they release their waste as a gas.
    Slaters have seven pairs of legs and are a member of the crustacean family.
  6. They have seven pairs of legs and two sets of antennaes.
  7. They roll into a ball to protect themselves from harm.
  8. They can live in extreme environments such as the desert and even Antartica.
  9. There are around 3000 different species of slaters.
  10. Slaters have an exoskeleton that they shed as they grow.
  11. They are harmless to humans however can cause problems in the garden as they love to nibble away at our prized harvest. To avoid this happening create a trap by placing wet newspaper in a garden pot. This will attract the slaters that can then be collected and disposed of.

So, what do you call these roly poly creatures in your neck of the woods?