Friday, July 6, 2012

Trail a Snail

USFS photo
Where do snails go during the day? Are they nibbling lettuce in the garden? Are they climbing trees or cooling off in your wading pool? It depends on what sort of snail it is, and what sort of day it is. On a really hot summer day snails might be hiding in shady spots cooling off, so you'll need to look under leaves and buckets.

Snails don't move very fast - after all, they have only one foot. And when they do take off, they leave a slimy trail behind them ... a glistening, mucus-y thread that leads over rocks and pine needles. Give your snail a head start - it'll take them a minute to move 12 inches - and then check out their trails. Do they travel in a straight line? Or do they wander, meandering back and forth?

You can make a snail hide-out by turning a clay flowerpot on its side and placing it in a shady, damp area. If you want to find out whether an individual snail returns "home" every day, or whether it follows the same path day after say, mark the snail shells with colored marker or a dot of paint.

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