Saturday, September 18, 2010

Slugs and Snails

One of the things which enchants Jack, and kind of disgusts me is the enormous number of slugs and snails here. They're EVERYWHERE. The slugs are HUGE and slimy and come in a wide assortment of colors and seriously, they're almost as long as your hand. I had a little trouble with my camera yesterday, but will post some pictures soon.

The snails are also huge and slimy, but their shells make them a bit more palatable to me; I enjoy looking at the shell variations. I think that part is kind of cool. But really, when there are THAT MANY of anything, it just kind of freaks me out- it's kind of like the realization in the movie "The Birds"  Wow-- we're totally out numbered.... I guess it's lucky we can move faster than them, but still, it's kind of creepy.

On our way to school, we get off the bus onto this little carriage road which is safer than the main road (for people anyway). There are always a ton of slugs. It's a cascade of events- one slug decided to cross the road (not sure why-- to get to the other side? To get away from a chicken?) Sad to say, he or she couldn't outrun the traffic. Then other slugs come to the wake and funeral-- (or to eat their injured or dead comrade), and they too meet the local autos and get smooshed. It's like a slug minefield on the street. You really have to watch where you're walking, or you'll slip in the slime. The snails are better protected, and they tend to stay in the underbrush, but still you see a fair number of them on the road as well.

The first day of school Jack was waiting at the bus stop and collected 8 or so snails in very short order, and lined them up on the sidewalk. The locals think that we're nuts. To them, it's nothing new- I doubt they even see them. It's how we are at home with squirrels. Not too many people stop to marvel at their bushy tails, their antics on the telephone wires, or the cute way they sit up on their haunches to eat an acorn. They're just squirrels.  Here-- they're just slugs.  (I'll take the squirrels any day, BTW) There are some kids at the American school who have them as pets- a terrarium with some dirt and leaves and sticks, a lettuce leaf or two and a couple of big snails. I'm sure that the locals think these kids are totally nuts, kind of like keeping cockroaches in a cage.  When Jack finds one close to home, he brings it into our yard and puts it in the hosta plant. He's always annoyed they don't stay put. He looks for them for a while-- how far could it go? It's a snail, after all, but they seem to disappear.  Yesterday he caught up with one.

 Jack was pleased, the snail less so.  He left it outside the house, but I'm sure it's gone this morning. He'll feel betrayed and look for it for a while, but really- a snail's gotta do what a snail's gotta do.  She's on to her next decaying plant or leaf litter.  More pictures of the slugs and snails to follow. 

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

If I had a flight scheduled to visit you, I'd be cancelling it right now. You need to find out if there is a slug off-season before I visit. I can stand a lot of things - cat vomit, spiders, etc, but slugs undo me. Jack, you are my hero.