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Is your kid interested in living creatures? Do they spend time examining things closely? Here is an introduction to an interesting micro-animal you can share with them to support and encourage that curiosity! 

Tardigrades are some of the oldest organisms we know of and they are found all over the world! They are very small, water dwelling organisms, known as a micro-animals. They are so small, that they are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. When examined through a microscope though, people say they look like little bears, which has earned them the name water bears.  


Tardigrade floating in water


Tardigrades are harmless to humans, in fact they eat bacteria and other micro-organisms. Amazingly they can live without food or water- for decades!  If they become dehydrated, their bodies undergo a process that turns them into what is called a tun.  In this state, they can live without food or water for a very long time.  Add a few drops of water to a tun though, and they will rehydrate themselves and again become a tardigrade!   

Tardigrades are also super cool because they are able to live in extreme environments, including places as cold as -328°F, and as hot as 304°F! Because tardigrades can be found in most wet places, you may be able to find some yourself so you can look more closely. 

Once you find a place to try and collect a sample, you can work together to look at them under a microscope. Try our Explorer Series Microscope to help your budding scientist, with easy-to-use, large focus knobs, a soft-touch eyepiece, and an adjustable platform to keep specimens positioned just right!