It’s Tough to be Tiny

It’s Tough to be Tiny
Kim Ryall Woolcock and Stacey Thomas
Flying Eye Books

Being tiny is tough, so the title of this book would seemingly have readers believe; but then it proceeds to show that this isn’t always the case. The reason being that some tiny creatures are able to keep safe or indeed get their food by means of a superpower. This can be anything from a protective armour to the gross use of poo some beetles use. There’s the horse mint tortoise beetle that carries a poo umbrella with its bum. Said umbrella is likely to be filled with toxic chemicals from the plants the beetle has eaten. Then there’s the palmetto tortoise beetle; this clever creature spins a protective thatch covering of dry poo threads to hide beneath. 

However, if you are a water scavenger beetle that has the misfortune to be consumed by a hungry frog, this clever bug makes use of its legs and on reaching the frog’s bum, it’s ejected in the amphibian’s poo just minutes later. 

Other tiny creatures have a secret weapon that is very useful when it comes to obtaining something tasty to eat. Tiny cone snails hunt speedy fish as big as themselves. They lie in wait, then out shoots their venom-filled harpoon tooth, which paralyses the fish which the snail then swallow whole. Velvet worms too, have a secret weapon, a sticky goo. Readers can find out how that works in this fascinating book. 

There’s an interesting spread on microscopic creatures that make no effort to get their food, they merely wait for it to come to them; these include the stretchy stentor and hydra, which are also very stretchy.

A super book for budding zoologists or anybody with an interest in small creatures.

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