This morning a microscopic ladybird landed on my diary and for a while I watched my new little friend till he (well, it looked like a he, not that I could really see him, besides the missus would have been busy sprucing up their den) decided he’d had enough and flew away into the vastness of the office.

How entrancing and engrossing little creatures can be. The big ones may steal the limelight, but the small ones are just as fascinating and, being of somewhat small stature myself, I can’t help but admire them. There’s even a little five in Africa to rival their better known big counterparts: the sweet elephant shrew has a flexible trunk for searching out insects, the fearsome rhinoceros beetle hisses loudly when riled, the clever buffalo weaver bird follows its namesake feeding on insects it has just disturbed, the handsome leopard tortoise can live for up to 100 years, and the cunning ant lion digs a small pit where he lurks, waiting for unsuspecting for prey to fall in. What’s not to like?

leopard-tortoise

leopard-tortoise

The creatures of the micro-cosmos are just as rich and varied as they larger cousins. Seek them out on a walk with your expert guide and share their world, if only for a few hours. It’ll be a real eye-opener!

But here’s a word of warning. Underestimate the small fellas at your peril and pause when you’re next tempted to swat a fly or squash an ant – they and their chums are quite capable of getting their own back, as Spike Milligan observed:

How teeny, teeny wee
Is the little tiny flea
One would think that one so small
Could do no harm at all
But all last night
In my hotel
He made me scratch
Like merry hell.