Otter poop (spraint*) smells like a newly-opened pack of jasmine tea. I discovered this fun fact at the Zoology Live! Festival, held on 23-24th June to celebrate the reopening of Cambridge University’s Museum of Zoology.
Along with many other people, I’ve missed the Museum since it closed for redevelopment in 2013, so it’s a joy to see it open again on the New Museums Site, off Downing Street.
The iconic Fin Whale still welcomes visitors, drawing every eye upwards. In the entrance hall below, a stunning automaton by one of the creators of the Corpus clock offers a fun reward for cash donations.
The weekend festival had a lot going on, including children’s crafts and story-telling. Representatives of Shepreth Wildlife Park were there, with a host of live insects and reptiles, like this beautiful corn snake.
There were talks (full-length and bite-sized), workshops and urban safaris, and plenty more to keep children and grown-ups alike entertained.
Exploring the collections in the lower galleries I happened to look up and saw giant glowing jellyfish swimming across the ceiling.
The Museum offers events throughout the year, and it has Zoology Clubs for youngsters up to 18 years old. Do take your kids along. You may not find a corn snake in the courtyard, but even on the most ordinary day, this place is a treasure trove of wonderful things to discover.
Just remember to look up!
* Otter survey info can be found at Cambridgeshire Mammal Group
SPIDER HUNT GIVEAWAY
GIVEAWAY: The wonderful Rosalind Beardshaw illustrated six of the picture books I’ve written, and she put in lots of cute mini-beasts, including dragonflies and beetles. I think there are only two spiders among them. Can you spot them?
To help you, the English language titles of the six picture books that Rosalind and I have collaborated on are: ‘Daddy’s Little Star’ (or ‘My Little Star’ or ‘Mommy’s Little Star’), ‘A New Home for Little Fox’ (or ‘Daddy’s Little Scout’), ‘Goodnight, Magic Moon’, ‘Night, Light, Sleep Tight’, ‘Little Deer Lost’ and ‘The Best Present’. There’s a spider in two of them.
I’ll send a PRIZE* to the first person who correctly names the two picture books and tells me where these spiders are hiding. Anyone can enter. Just leave a comment on this website.
*The prize is a copy of the toddler-sized My Little Star board-book, now out of print. Good luck!
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