Friday, September 08, 2006

Snail Trails

These nocturnal pests regularly come out during the day when it's as wet as it's been lately. One problem with our summer rainy (monsoon) season. Some science:

The brown garden snail (European brown snail) Helix (Cyptoomphalus) aspersa Müller, was described by O.F. Müller in 1774 from specimens collected in Italy. This plant feeder has been disseminated into many parts of the world intentionally as a food delicacy, accidentally by the movement of plants, and by hobbyists who collect snails. It was introduced to California in the 1850s as a source of escargot. It has adapted well to California and is very troublesome as a pest of crops and ornamentals.

Escargot yet-- now that's something new to me! If I were French, I'd be in garlic and butter heaven with my very own garden pests. Do you suppose there's a market among the better restaurants hereabouts?

But my original intention was to talk about those funny little trails that these hungry fellows leave behind on the concrete (above and below). To really display, you need a thin film of water -- which will result in little dry spots where the snail puts down his slimy foot as he inches along. (No, these trails are not shiny, like the slime trails left on flowers and leaves.)

Funny fact I picked up from The Google researching the life and times of snails: the little elongated spiral type of snail that fed on Mom's garden down in Sun City "is sold as a beneficial predator; however, if there are no garden snails to feed upon it can become a serious pest of emerging seedlings and bedding plants."

Thus spake the Maricopa county agent. I can second that observation!

Saturday Afternoon Postscript: I was just visited by a nephew who seldom leaves SoCal and the subject of snails came up. He reports that some citrus growers have equipped their trees with catch basins so that well fed snails can be shaken out, caught and shipped to, you guessed it, France for a pretty penny. As he hears it, citrus-fed escargot are a particular delicacy -- as are avocado-fed snails.


Andrew Johnson-Schmit said...

OMG, how I have going out at night in the monsoon season; innocently taking out the trash, going to the shed for a screwdriver, etc. and k-runch, realizing I've de-snailed a nighttime visitor underfoot.

Yeach! Thank God the rest of the year you only have to worry about dodging bands of javelina.

Lane said...

I say get the dry ice and ship-em off, or get brave and saute up some o' them puppies and....feed them to a neighbor! Ask THEM how they were!

Granny J said...

I have a humane (but cruel) approach to the snail problem: I toss any I see out into the road & figure that if the little buggers live, they are survivors.

Photo Blog Blog Top Sites Blog Directory for Prescott, AZ

Local Blogs - Blog Top Sites