Hi, I'm Rudi, i'm 8 years old and my favourite book is 'Tarka the Otter' by Henry Williamson. Its about the life of an otter named Tarka and British Wildlife. One night i was reading the book with my dad and i said that i wanted to see all the animals in the book, he said i should do it and call it the Tarka Challenge. My Tarka Challenge started on 1st January 2012. The book contains 89 birds, 54 land based animals, 120 plants and 56 aquatic organisms.

The rules are simple, i must either see each thing myself or photograph it using my trail camera. I will try and see each thing on my local patch (Ogmore River Catchment) but may need to look somewhere else in Britain.


Woodlice (Oniscidea)

Woodlice are cool, under the microscope they look like armoured tanks. Everyone has seen a woodlouse, they are really common and you have probably seen them in your house or garden. Different people throughout the country have different nicknames for them including - bibble bug, cheese bug, cheese log, cheesybob, chisel pig, crockers, fairy pig, gramfer, granny grey, grumpy gravie, monkeypede, snot, sour bug, tiddy hog and woozey pug - which is your favourite name?

In the olden days people used to think that they were medicine because they curled up like a pill, so they used to crush them up and eat them to make them better.

People who study woodlouse are called oniscologists. There are about 40 native British species which live outdoors and another 12 that live in heated greenhouses. Only 9 of these are common and only 5 of them are really common. Woodlouse are broken down into groups named after what they behave like, the groups include 'runners' 'clampers' 'rollers' and 'creepers'. They eat rotting wood. The prettiest woodlouse is the Rosy Woodlouse which has a pair of bright yellow stripes running down its back.

So thats another one off the list...

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