Which Animals Live in a Rotting Log?

A rotting log is often the habitat to a variety of insects, including carpenter ants, bugs, centipedes, beetles and crickets. A larger rotting log may be home to smaller animals as well, including squirrels, raccoons, woodpeckers, owls and snakes.

There is typically little evidence of life within a rotting log unless it is flipped over. Under the dying and lifeless log is a wealth of bugs, snails, slugs, earthworms and bug larvae. The rotting log is considered a habitat of its own, as it is home to small and large animals alike. Its softening trunk and loosening bark shelters and provides nourishment to the animals as well.

Wood colonists, such as termites and ants, eat through the dead wood. Wood-boring beetles attack and chew on dying trees. In part, these small insects help break down the rotting log and speed up its decomposition. They decompose and convert it to humus, which nourishes the soil, the forest, and the ecosystem as a whole.

The dying log also creates a food web. Insects eat the bark and break down the tree. The carnivorous centipedes, spiders and scorpions prey on these smaller insects. Owls and woodpeckers feed on the centipede, crickets and scorpions. When the larger animals die, their bodies rot, and they become food for insects again.