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Rotting logs can be a treasure trove of biodiversity, with various creatures calling them home. Setting up a rotting log community is a great way to introduce children to the wonders of the natural world and the importance of decomposition. Here's how you can do it:

Materials needed:

  • A rotting log (make sure it is not too dry or too wet)
  • A container (such as a plastic tub or a large glass jar)
  • Soil
  • Leaves and other organic matter
  • A spray bottle with water
  • Creatures like millipedes, pill bugs, Bess beetles, cricket nymphs, Tenebrio Beetles, and land snails (these can be found in your backyard or local park)


    1. Find a suitable rotting log that is not too dry or too wet. A log that is slightly rotten is perfect.
    2. Place the log in the container, and add some soil to the bottom. Make sure the log fits snugly in the container, with no gaps around the sides.
    3. Add leaves and other organic matter around the log to create a suitable habitat for the creatures.
    4. Spray the habitat with water to keep it moist.
    5. Add the creatures you have collected. Make sure to add a variety of different species for the best biodiversity. You can also add some fresh fruits or vegetables as food for the creatures.

Caring for your rotting log community:

  • Keep the habitat moist by spraying it with water regularly.
  • Make sure the container is not in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • Keep the habitat clean by removing any dead leaves or food.

In order to ensure the health and well-being of the creatures living inside, it's important to provide them with a source of food and water.
For food, you can add small bits of fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber or carrot, to the community. Additionally, some of the creatures may feed on the decaying wood itself, so you don't need to worry too much about providing a lot of extra food.
For water, you can mist the community with a spray bottle filled with clean water once a week or so. Avoid using water that has been treated with chemicals or contains additives.
It's important to monitor the log community regularly to make sure the animals are thriving and there are no signs of illness or distress. If you notice any issues, such as a build-up of moisture or mold, adjust the environment as needed to address the problem.

Creature Spotlight:

  1. Millipedes: These are small, worm-like creatures with multiple legs that can curl up into a ball when threatened. They are important decomposers, breaking down the rotting wood and returning nutrients to the soil.

  2. Pill bugs: Also known as roly-polies, these small, armored creatures are excellent decomposers and important food sources for many animals in the ecosystem.

  3. Bess beetles: These large, black beetles are excellent burrowers, creating tunnels through the rotting wood. They are also important decomposers, helping to break down the wood and release nutrients.

  4. Cricket nymphs: These tiny, wingless crickets are excellent scavengers, feeding on decaying plant matter and other small creatures.

  5. Tenebrio beetles: Also known as darkling beetles, these insects are important decomposers, helping to break down the rotting wood and release nutrients.

  6. Land snails: These slow-moving creatures are important members of the ecosystem, helping to break down plant matter and providing food for many predators.

There may be other creatures in your rotting log community, depending on your location and the type of wood you are using. Take the time to observe and identify the creatures in your habitat, and learn about their roles in the ecosystem.


After observing the creatures in the rotting log community, it is important to release them back into their natural habitat. Before releasing them, it's essential to make sure the habitat is suitable for them. If any creatures have died during observation, it's important to remove them to prevent the spread of diseases or parasites.

To release the creatures, find a suitable location that is similar to their natural habitat, such as a nearby forest or meadow. Make sure the area is free from any pollutants, chemicals, or other potential hazards that could harm the creatures. Avoid releasing them in a place where they may become prey for other animals, such as near bird feeders or pet areas.

When releasing the creatures, place them gently on the ground and let them go on their own. Avoid handling them too much, as this could cause stress or harm to them. Additionally, avoid releasing large numbers of creatures in the same area, as this could cause competition for resources and disrupt the local ecosystem.

Setting up a rotting log community is an easy and fun way to explore the wonders of the natural world. By observing and caring for the creatures in the community, children can learn about the importance of decomposition and biodiversity. Will you set up a rotting log community for science observation?

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