Friday, 26 May 2017

Random Thoughts on Snail Watching

So, as a gardener (albeit a dilettante one) I am not supposed to like snails. They are The Enemy. They Devour the Weak, the Innocent, the Newly Sprouted. I should Cast Them Out. The sound of shells cracking under my booted foot should give me a savage feeling of satisfaction rather than the rush of guilt I actually get.

The truth is that I find snails fascinating to watch when they're on the move. To me, they are a mindfulness exercise in their own right as they take so long to get anywhere or do anything but go about their task with dogged determination. The variety of colours and patterns of shells is incredible once you really start to take a close look. I imagine a shell is as individual to a snail as a fingerprint is to a human.

As a child I remember being fascinated by their eyes, rolling in and out of facial tentacles. As a child I was also probably a bit of an arsehole, bumping those eyes to make them retract and then watch as they reappeared again. Their smaller, lower tentacles always made me think of whiskers, and still do.

To make this random post educational, here's some words you might not have heard before:
Malachology - the study of molluscs
Conchology - the study of shells

Helicophobia is the fear of snails. My internal logic tells me that a helicophile is therefore someone who is a snail fancier but alas there is no such word in the dictionary.

To any gardeners reading this in sheer disgust at me siding with the enemy, let me make it clear that I find slugs utterly repulsive and have no difficulties in casting them out. Or throwing them to the chooks.

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