We’re living among a fantastic array of creatures, critters and bugs — and not all are pesky or dangerous, I promise. If you know what you’re looking for then you’ll find a huge array of mini beasts in the garden and in local parks, and the rain tends to bring out the creepy crawlies that are great for young kids to enjoy and explore.
However, if you’re not sure of an animal or insect then don’t touch it! If you think it might be dangerous or poisonous then leave it well alone and move onto another area. We do live in a tropical country so this it is not a good idea to start scrabbling amongst piles of rotting compost, or through dense shrubs and hedges. Just look on plants, and around the footpaths, on walls and in amongst flower pots.
Look, draw or photograph but don’t pick it up unless you are sure it is safe.
Hunting for mini beasts is a great way to spend time outside, learn about the wildlife of Thailand, and educate your children on conservation, environment and nurturing wild creature. It’s also pretty good fun so grab an umbrella and get going.
Equipment you could use:
- Pencils, pens or drawing equipment
- A notebook
- A clip board
- A camera
- A pot or tray to collect mini beasts in
- A magnifying glass
Thailand is home to some spectacularly beautiful butterflies, and caterpillars for that matter. And that’s not to mention the moths! These are delicate creatures that don’t do well with being caught or examined but if you can collect photos whilst out snooping for wildlife. Sometimes you can find dead butterflies, which you can really get a good look at what they’re all about, how special they are and some of the wonderful colour combinations.
We should never take these for granted. Of course, they are very common here in Thailand but no two are the same. And the work they do for us in our homes is, quite frankly, incredible. Without them we would have homes full of unwanted insects.
Spot the differences. See if you can find your resident ‘jing joks’ around your home and compare eye colours, sizes, skin tones. Some have missing tails that can grow back! Some like to hide behind the fridge! And some make a curious clucking sound via their throats.
Lizards are quick and delicate so don’t try to catch them as they’ll get very frightened but sit still and watch, and they will usually sit still and watch you back.
We have been blown away by the beauty of the snails we find here in Thailand. These cumbersome creatures only come out after the rain, so that’s a great time to get outside and look for them.
The climb over walls and on windows. They slime along pavements. You can pick them up to have a look but don’t put their soft undersides on your hands as your skin is too hot for them.
See if the kids can draw their swirling shells, or look for the biggest snail. If the ground’s wet and the sun’s behind the clouds, have a snail race but remember, they are living creature so we must be careful not to hurt them. Set up a race track using twigs or leaves.
At certain times of the year, the sky in Bangkok is full of an array of dragonflies.
If you have access to a pond, or even a swimming pool, you can see them skirting over the water, creating tiny ripples, while they hunt for insects and bugs to eat.
If you can find them, draw them, record the sound of their wings flapping or collect fallen wings so that you can examine the delicate make up of what makes dragonflies fly. It’s great fun scouring the great outdoors trying to find them!
There are heaps of resources online, and books about local wildlife that can give you details about these wonderful animals. Maybe you will inspire the next generation of conservationists.