+353 (0)86 836 3534
      

Various

Pavement Ant

Pavement Ant

As their name suggests, the Pavement Ant (2.5 to 4mm in length) usually builds their nest under concrete structures and under footpaths. Some Pavement Ants also build their nests around firewood, bricks and stones. The male Pavement Ants can live for as long as five years while the females can live a little longer (up to 8 years). A single nest of pavement ants can house more than 10,000 workers. The male Pavement Ant’s only role in life is to mate with the queen and after he performs this duty – he dies. The queen Pavement Ant’s only duty in her lifetime is to lay thousands of eggs. Mating mostly occurs during the spring and summer seasons when the drones fly high up in the air and mate with the new queens. Non-productive females (usually seen running around) are workers and soldiers that hunt for food, take care of the queen’s offspring, protect the community and work on the nest. They are omnivores and feed on various types of foods ranging from nectar, fruits, honey and bread. They also feed on dead insects, small nuts and seeds. They have two stomachs, one that holds food for themselves and the other that holds food for the colony. They communicate by using a chemical trail (pheromones) when recruiting nest-mates to help find food and bring it back to the nest and also to alert them of danger. Pavement ants are known to be very aggressive especially when seeking out new colonies or settlements. The invasions of new colonies result in battles that end up causing the deaths of thousands of ants – these battles occur mostly during the spring. During the summer, they are less aggressive so instead of invading new colonies they dig out the sand in between the pavements to vent the nests. Pavement ants were studied on the International Space Station in 2014.

 

Garden Snail

Snail

 

 

 

With their messy trails and taste for greens, the common Garden Snail is often considered to be a pest whose strong homing instinct makes human control difficult. They are often seen after rain and leave a tell tale trail of mucus. Being hermaphrodites, the Garden Snail each have both male & female reproductive organs, but although they can mate with themselves, it’s more usual for them to find a partner. When conditions are dry, Snails retreat into their shell and seal the entrance. They can survive in a state of suspended animation for several months. A single Snail can have 430 babies in a year. The common Garden Snail is also edible and snail farming is currently a booming cottage industry in Britain.

Gecko

Gecko

 

 

 

The mediterranean Gecko has large, unblinking eyes (ie: there are no eyelids) with vertical pupils. They have bumpy or warty skin and their somewhat odd appearance that also matches their rather intriguing habits. The Mediterranean gecko helps provide year-round insect pest control in our landscapes and homes by feeding on cockroaches and a wide variety of other insects. It is native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa. Geckos have adapted well to living in and around homes. For this reason, their numbers and range seem to be on the increase in many areas in the Southeastern United States. The Mediterranean Gecko body is cylindrical, squat and sometimes flattened on the upper side. They have soft, granular skin that feels velvety to the touch. The coloration of a gecko is very important to their lifestyle. The skin is usually gray with several brownish-red to bright red spots and flecks. They have the ability to lighten or darken the coloring of their skin. They usually do so in order to blend in or to be less noticeable to other animals. Mediterranean Geckos have toes that are equipped with claws and sticky toe pads to aid in climbing. They are expert tree climbers. Their sticky toe pads also allow them to climb walls as well as navigate across glass and screens. They are often observed perched on walls around outside lights, waiting to grab insects attracted to the light. By day, these lizards hide in cracks, crevices and under tree bark. Mediterranean Geckos are nocturnal, being most active during the evening and night time hours. They are frequently found near lighted areas (such as the front entryway), where small insects are abundant during the warm season.

Common Frog

Frog

 

 

 

The frog you are most likely to see in Britain is the Common Frog (Rana Temporaria), which lives on land in damp habitats for most of the year. It may be found in open woods, hedgerows, fields and gardens, not too far from water. The body colour varies widely, with upper parts usually brown or olive, but sometimes yellowish- orange or grey. The underside is normally paler, and the whole body is blotched or spotted with a darker colour, which helps to camouflage it against its background. This frog has a distinctive dark patch behind its eye. A male Common Frog is slightly smaller than the female, which measures about 7.5cm (3in.). Frogs move by hopping or leaping, using their long, muscular back legs; they do not crawl. They have very smooth, damp skins. The fully webbed hind feet help them to swim. Diet: Frogs eat insects and other invertebrates, such as slugs, snails and worms. On summer days, they like to hide amongst tall plants and come out on warm, damp evenings to hunt. Like all amphibians, it is hard for them to find food during the winter, and they cannot function in cold temperatures, so from about mid-October they hibernate in a sheltered place on land e.g. under a log, or in the muddy bottoms of ponds. Males often hibernate in the bottom of ponds, so that they are already at the breeding site when the females arrive in the early spring. They can take in sufficient oxygen through their skin during hibernation under the water. Breeding: A frog is ready to breed at about two years old. After their winter hibernation, frogs emerge to migrate to breeding ponds, returning, if possible, to the places where they themselves were hatched. The males usually arrive first, usually in February or March, but often January in the south-west of England and begin croaking loudly to attract the females. The male frog develops thick pads of rough skin on his thumbs, which enable him to grip the slippery female firmly whilst mating. The female releases about 2,000 eggs into the shallow parts of the pond, and, as they leave her body, the male releases his sperm over them. The jelly around each egg swells up, so protecting the egg and helping to keep it warm. The spawn sinks to begin with, but soon swells and rises to the surface. After spawning, the adults usually stay in the water until April, when the weather is warmer, and then live on the land. Tadpoles hatch from the eggs after about two weeks. It will be three months before they will have developed into tiny miniature frogs, ready to leave the pond. As they leave the water, they are very vulnerable to predators such as blackbirds. At any age they may be eaten by cats, crows, herons, ducks, hedgehogs, rats and foxes.