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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Strange Garden Visitor

The other day as I was pulling weeds (it sometimes happens!) I found this little fellow (well, fellow may be insulting as, "...in case of the terrestrial pulmonates, generally are hermaphrodites, it may also happen in some species that the sex changes during the lifetime.") on some decaying plant material.



Slugs chew ugly holes in my hostas, brugmansias, etc. and I have no problem dispatching them with haste.  However, there's something beautiful about the shells of snails that won't allow me to hurt them.  (No satisfying crunch underfoot.)  It probably helps that I see very few snails in my garden while armies of slugs have drawn battle lines along with a horrible infestation of weevils (I've sprayed expensive nematodes several times a year for the last three and they don't seem to be cutting the population back at all.  Any suggestions?
 
The strange part of this wildlife encounter is that I've never seen a snail with this yellow and black striping before.  The interweb says that these are banded snails and they come in a few colors.  I am more familiar with flora than fauna so I'm not sure about the identification of this one but am hoping that it's not a Mediterranean white snail that is an invasive and harmful species here as after it's time on the patio table for it's photo op.  it was set free where I found it. 
 
Neither as interesting or scary as Loree's  visitor, but hers probably wouldn't take so kindly to being put on a table for a photo shoot.  Just guessing.

30 comments:

  1. Hah! He/she is quite beautiful. Hope you don't regret setting it free.

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    1. For some reason, I seldom see snails in my garden, just slugs. This was out in the parking strip where it's pretty dry. Anyway it was lovely and I considered keeping it in a jar and feeding it fresh greens just to enjoy it. Hope it doesn't take over the world!

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  2. I guess those slugs just need to see a tailor to get appropriate duds before they visit your garden. The raccoons seem to take care of mine - all I ever see is an occasional empty snail shell.

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    1. The slugs can get pretty big and do considerable damage while the cute snails stay fairly small. Wait, raccoons eat slugs? There's a reason not to hate them. Love raccoon faces and cuteness but am not so fond of their koi loving ways!

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  3. Lucky snail, it got spared being crunched but instead for a moment became a model! You might find this video of interest....http://youtu.be/BckqviVaWl0

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    1. What an interesting video! Now I'm really glad I set the snail free! What if it were Isabella Rossellini inside that pretty shell?

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  4. These are the typical snails I see in my Kirkland WA garden (banded garden snails). I never saw this type of snail before moving up here (personally only saw the larger brown Cornu aspersum in southern or central CA), so these were a surprise.

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    1. Hooray! Not the dreaded invasive species! Maybe he/she'll make more pretty shelled children to enjoy!

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  5. I only started seeing snails recently. They're just slugs with cuter outfits.

    Deirdre

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  6. The snail I have in my yard is supposed to be a carnivore, so I let it alone,
    http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/efauna/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Haplotrema%20vancouverense
    But this year for the first time I found some small brown rounded snails that remind me of the ones from San Diego so I have been crunching them. In San Diego I could go out at night with a stick and dispatch 600 easily, so I was used to the crunch. I dispatch a lot of slugs now, they can really defoliate plants quickly, particularly bean seedlings. I think I remember seeing a snail like yours on someone's blog, it's pretty, so that would make it a little harder to crunch.

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    1. A carnivorous snail sounds like a great idea. Wonder if they eat slugs?

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  7. Pretty shell! I usually leave snails alone, too, unless I see them actually feeding on my plants. I don't see many snails, though.

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  8. Beautiful snail! I think maybe Mediterranean white snails are what I have in my garden...or something similar...but they don´t do too much harm...not like slugs...

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    1. I've never noticed any damage from snails but slugs...ugh!

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    1. And a good sport about posing for the camera!

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  10. No snails here so far, and although that is a pretty little creature, I would just as soon its kind continued to stay away. We have tons of them in our Whidbey Island garden.

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    1. Interesting where snails choose to be. One would think that they would like the same conditions as slugs of which we have way too many!

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  11. Snails are a plague here, and this fellow is lucky he visited your garden and not mine. He would be corpus delecti as we speak .

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    1. Yikes! I'm glad that they're a novelty here!

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  12. These shells are beautiful! I wouldn't have crunched them, either. I don't see as many snails but I did find a colony of slugs the other day. I left them exposed for the birds to enjoy.

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    1. Nice of you. I usually use my special slug scissors to cut them in half before leaving them for the birds.

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  13. Snails are rare here too (even more rare than bears!) and indeed that shell is a beauty.

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  14. This is such a pretty snail. Thanks to you, I'm glad its life was mercifully spared. we don't have such snails here.

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  15. Clothes make the wo/man? It's just a slug with a better wardrobe.

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  16. Rats love to eat snails and slugs, but...then you have rats. It's always something.

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  17. That's a gorgeous snail! We used to put out saucers of beer for slugs; they would drown in them. Snails may be smarter though.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.