Dances with woodlice

Some woodlice.

I write this post while taking part in the boss battle that is the end of a really nasty virus. I haven’t felt so ill in ages. My energy has been completely sapped, my limbs have ached, my voice has been replaced by a largely inarticulate groaning sound and my brain hurts.

To all intents and purposes, I could actually be turning into an extra from the film that this blog is sort of named after. A zombie – or Tombie, if you will. But this post isn’t about me facing my nemesis. Nope, it’s about an interloper in our home which has become the ‘hunter’ of one and the hunted of another.

Of course, I’m referring to that formidable foe known as the woodlouse. Naturally. Our house is over 100 years old so we do get a few unwanted miniature visitors finding their way in via little nooks and crannies now and then.

The most common of these are the aforementioned prehistoric-looking creatures. Of course, they are always humanely evicted to the garden where they can earn their keep.

One day last week, Kate caught Dylan running on the spot. “Are you dancing, little man?” she asked him. “No Mummy. There’s a hedgehog. Argh!” was his response.

We were all baffled until we saw one of the little exoskeleton-sporting fiends dashing for cover underneath the sofa. I don’t know how we stopped ourselves from laughing. Both at the cause of this panic and our firstborn’s classification of it, but somehow we did. I have to say, I admire his approach to fear. Next time something frightens me I’m going to dance until it goes away.

The day after this, a similar face off occurred. Although this time there was a definite act of aggression by one of the involved parties. This particular crustacean had the misfortune of crossing the path of Xander whose curiosity knows no fear.

Within seconds, the Porcellio Scaber – yes, I looked up woodlice on Wikipedia – was held in a firm but non-life-threatening grip and moving ever closer to a terrifying black hole with seven teeth around its menacing edge. Evidently, Xander thought it was a mobile raisin. We’ve all made that mistake.

Fortunately, my goalkeeper-like reflexes meant that little man didn’t get his first taste of woodlouse. After curling into an almost-perfect sphere for a few minutes, the many-legged mini beast lived to tell the tale. Not that I imagine they talk to each other. I mean it didn’t say they do on Wikipedia, so that must be right.


  1. Amy

    LOL! Good reactions for ensuring the raisin with legs wasn’t eaten. I now have visions of woodlice meeting in dark areas to discuss their near misses with human beings!

  2. Post

    Thanks Amy! They probably do you know. I found a load of them under a paving slab in the garden recently. They looked rather conspiratorial too…

  3. David

    This made me smile 🙂 good post. Dancing fear away sounds like something from Pineapple Dance Studios tho!!

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  4. Dad Without a Map

    What IS it all about with the woodlice? I thought it was just us. Every day they are there in our bath! I need to work out how they do it. Might write about this actually so thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Jodie

    We call them cheeselogs! Apparently what you call these little creatures all depends on where you come from.. My 4 year old is obsessed with them, we get them in our house too (and ours isn’t 100 years old haha). I have to remind her to loosen her death grip as they are small and need to be handled carefully if she doesn’t want a squashed one. On another occasion last summer she had collected some and put them in a tub which she unfortunately left in direct sunlight when she returned to them I had to tell her that they were all “sleeping” so the cheeselog massacre didn’t scar her for life!

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