Monday, December 7, 2009

More About Snails

In response to yesterday’s bog Ali sent this email.
‘I'm with you on this - pacifist in most things, but merciless when it comes to snails. But if there are thrushes around I'll throw the snails onto the lawn as a treat for them. One day I was fascinated to see a parent thrush teaching its fledgling young how to deal with this bounty. Having picked up a snail and taken it across to one of the bricks edging the veggie patch and using it very efficiently as an anvil, the parent stood back and watched as the youngster tried clumsily to do likewise - to be rewarded eventually by the tasty interior. We see the seagulls doing the same with shellfish on the beach: the older ones know to drop their catch on the nearest hard surface(the road, a car, a house roof), but the youngsters just drop them onto the sand and look cross and puzzled when nothing happens. The value of education.’

I did think of feeding the snails to the thrushes but our resident pair having hatched and reared their young hardly ever come to the section. Unlike a cat or dog they wouldn’t have responded to my call. Hence, my resort to massacre.

One of the saddest sights I saw was over forty years ago at the Tauranga rose gardens. Somebody had scattered slugkill near the hot house. There were dying snails galore and a large number of thrushes were busily at work, picking them up, dropping them on to the road and then feasting away. I suspected that the concentration of poison would kill them as well.

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