While it may sound truly ridiculous, a pooter is actually a fascinating and useful piece of scientific equipment. It is also, however, truly ridiculous.

Whether for observation, dissection or a list of other reasons, it is sometimes necessary to capture small insects humanely. For this purpose, the pooter was invented. Consisting of a cup-sized plastic container with two tubes on alternate sides, a pooter works on the principle that nature abhors a vacuum. Air is sucked out by mouth from one tube, creating a vacuum inside the container, which is promptly filled by an unsuspecting insect at the end of the other tube. There is a piece of gauze or muslin over the inner end of one tube to prevent insects being sucked directly into the pooteer's mouth -- I have, however, succeeded in inhaling a number of extremely small insects by accident. I don't recommend it.

The pooter has been blessed with a particularly interesting name that has been the subject of much speculation in Biology classes. While some believe that it was originally the creation of a Dr. Pooter, my own belief is that the name is derived from the sound of an insect being sucked sharply through a tube -- a rather brief but satisfying POOT.
      AIR OUT       |        |            ________
    /_____   --------        |           {Aaaaaaah}
    \        --------        |          /
                    |  POOT  -------   
                    |        -------  * <---- INSECT IN
                    |        |

WARNING: Some creatures are simply unpootable. Snails, for instance. It is also recommended that you do not poot bees, wasps, brightly-coloured spiders, birds, small mammals and fellow Biology students.