Monday, April 22, 2013

Snail - Bucking Around in the Rain

Snail
The snail is an ancient mollusk that has been gliding along leisurely for over 600 million years, leaving a trail of glistening slime in its wake. Over such a long period of time, they've adapted to all environments and can be found everywhere on the planet. If a snail dries out it dies, so they secrete mucus to keep their soft bodies moist and to provide a lubricant that enables them to crawl over rough surfaces. Snails are most active at night under the cover of darkness when it's safer and cooler. They have a ferocious appetite and love to consume fruits, vegetables and flowers which frustrates even the most experienced gardeners.

They're content to spend their days buried underground avoiding the sun's harmful rays. If the soil becomes saturated from heavy precipitation, and floods their subterranean chambers, hordes of them will emerge from the depths gasping for air. Land snails have lungs and can easily drown in too much water. They appear to delight in these wet-weather gatherings because the birds are held at bay and the slick concrete provides an ideal surface for bucking around in the rain.

I photographed this snail at Animal Kingdom Park in Florida on just such a day. The remarkable shell is spiral-shaped and grows with mathematical precision as the mollusk gets larger. My seven-year-old son was flabbergasted by their sudden appearance and became consumed with collecting and scrutinizing such unique little creatures. We traveled clear across the country to Disney World and experienced all the rides and shows but I think my kid's favorite part of the trip was capturing snails during a hurricane. I guess some of the best things in life really are free.

12 comments:

  1. Dear Dan, I love snails as well, but in Florida, where my oldest son and grandchildren were on vacation recently, there has been an infestation of a kind of snail which was accidentally introduced from another country. They are just now battling it.
    I cannot remember, but I believe it is called the giant African snail. I will go google it now and let you know if that is not the correct name. Don't let your son study or touch these particular snails, OK? xox jean

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    1. Thanks for the warning. I don't think these were African but I don't know for sure. He has allergies to other animals so we have to watch him closely around cats and dogs.

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  2. here is the article I read:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/giant-african-land-snails-miami-117000_n_3079741.html

    yes, it is really jean again xox

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    1. Okay, I will check this article out right now. Thanks, Jean.

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  3. It is a classic of evolution, outdated and yet not obsolete. Gross little things, I've always tried to leave them to their own devices. I didn't realize they were big burrowers.

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

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    1. I guess they've been around forever. I never paid much attention to them, we don't see them much in Colorado. My son sure became interested in them and wanted me to take photos.

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  4. Delightful and gives me a smile to think that your son liked this the best.
    In Hawaii we have African snails - they are quite large, although I'm not sure how big they are in comparison to this one in Florida. Your snail is quite a bit prettier. The African snails are the gardener's dismay - but are not in all parts of the island equally. They seem to love where I live, which is more damp and gets its share of rain.

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    1. I think they like damp, cool areas because they have to stay moist to survive. It is so dry where we are we don't see them. When my kid saw them in Florida, he became so fascinated and collected them and lined them up and watched them slither along leaving a slime trail behind. Best part of the trip for him.

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  5. Replies
    1. Yeah, they're cool and they grow with mathematical precision!

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  6. Wow, I never stopped to think much about snails, but they really are an amazing animal. Thanks.

    Rinelle Grey

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    1. I hadn't either until my son got so enamored by them. He kept asking me to take pictures and I thought this one turned out pretty good. I like the shell.

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