Illustrations by Alan Batley

What is a pooter?

A pooter enables you to observe tiny insects without touching them and is an essential tool for any young wildlife enthusiast. Here's how to make your own:


Drilling holes for the pooter

Take a small, clean jar and remove any labels. Using a nail or drill, carefully make two holes in the lid.


Adding straws to the pooter

Take two bendy straws (if you can, try to find straws that aren't made out of plastic) and trim a few centimetres off the end of one. Insert the straws through the lid holes, plugging any gaps with blutack or plasticine. Next, using an elastic band or tape, secure a square of muslin, old tights or gauze over the end of the shorter straw (this keeps the insects away from your mouth).


Go find some insects!

When you've replaced the lid, it's time to go pootering! Find an invertebrate, point the long straw at it and suck at the shorter straw. The insect will plop safely into your jar for observation. Once you've had a good look, release the bug carefully where you found it.



Sarah McPhersonFeatures editor, BBC Wildlife Magazine