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slime molds

  • Subject: slime molds
  • From: Alektra@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 23:34:22 -0500 (CDT)

When I was a kid, Cricket Magazine (a literary magazine for kids) had an article about how to keep a slime mold as a pet, essentially culturing it in a nonsterile layman fashion. I have always regretted losing that article, because I have never seen the information duplicated-- and I did an online search for it a few months ago. This is what I remember, but please, experts, correct me if you know:

Basically, you get a piece of slime mold off a log, put it on one end of a moist piece of paper towel in a bottle, and put a single grain of uncooked non-instant rolled oats on the other end of the moist paper towel. The slime mold will become mobile and "walk" to the other end of the paper towel to "eat" the oats (actually, to consume the bacteria feeding on the rotting oat grain-- oddly enough, instant oats will not work).

You periodically "clean the cage" by putting in a fresh piece of moist paper towel, then taking only the portion of old paper towel that bears your pet, laying it on the fresh towel, and letting your pet "crawl" onto the fresh paper towel toward a new piece of oats.

Eventually, your pet gets tired (I can't remember how many weeks or months it takes) and you have to let it "rest" by letting the cage dry out. This is when it stops moving and sets up fruiting bodies.

You can keep your pet in suspended animation by cutting out the piece of paper towel that has the fruiting bodies on it, and putting it in a bottle. When you want to revive the mold, you put the scrap on a new paper towel, moisten the whole thing, and add a grain of rolled oat again.

This is what I remember from decades ago! It may not be accurate in every detail, and I never tried it. I'm certain this is the gist, however.

In a message dated Wed, 3 Jul 2002 2:19:01 PM Eastern Standard Time, hetter@worldonline.nl writes:

> Can I add a creature in my greenhouse? It is a slime mould that puts up
> truss-like brown "fruiting bodies" that give of spores in large brown dusty
> clouds. Do you know that thing?

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