Living in Harmony With Snails
Did you know that there are potentially more than 200,000 species of snails and molluscs currently crawling around on our planet? The species that the majority of us are probably most familiar with are those found in the garden. If you haven’t yet come to see snails as the unique, fascinating individuals that they really are, the following are a few surprising facts that may open your eyes:
- Some species of snail can live for up to 25 years in the wild!
- Snails can crawl along the edge of a razorblade and not be hurt, thanks to the thick slime that they produce.
- Snail ancestry dates back 600,000 years. The snails in your garden are descended from prehistoric sea snails!
- Slow and steady wins the race. Snails can reach speeds of up to 50 yards per hour.
- Snails sometimes travel in convoys, following their friends’ tracks to conserve energy.
- Snails are strict vegetarians! Their favourite snacks include rotting leafy vegetables, fungi and algae.
- The lifespan of snails is decreasing rapidly as humans destroy their habitats on land, sea and in fresh water.
While keen gardeners may understandably prefer to keep their vegetable patch nibble-free, a recent study has confirmed that the best way to minimise damage to your plants is very simply (and gently) to remove snails to a safe distance. We recommend gathering up our shell-dwelling friends and relocating them to a cool, moist area at least 20 metres from your garden, where they can roam free and avoid roads and any other danger zones. You could even pack a few lettuce leaves as a tasty snack for the road. Or even better, why not consider introducing more plants to your garden that aren’t on their menu, such as begonias and yellow irises, in order to deter them?