Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Something is afoot

And that something is a gastropod (from the Ancient Greek, gastro for stomach and pod for foot). Alas, this poor fellow is just a shell of his former self. The snail that inhabited this particular shell is long gone, perhaps drowned in garlicky butter. Or not. That's not an "eating" snail.

Those green things on the right side of the shell look like antennae, but they're just tiny blades of grass.

We see this variety fairly often in the vegetable garden and around the exterior of the house. If I'm not mistaken (and considering my minimalist research I very well could be), this is an escargot des bois, or a grove snail in English (cepaea nemoralis). It normally feeds on dead or dying vegetation, so it poses no real threat to our garden.

The shell, which I understand is quite variable in color, is often a creamy yellow like the one in the picture above. At least, that's the color that I notice most in our garden.

When I took the garbage out this morning, I noticed this guy near the driveway. I think it's the same variety of snail, but with wider banding on its shell. And look at those eye stalks!

If anyone who knows better can confirm or correct my identification, I welcome your help!

10 comments:

  1. I don't know what sort your friend there is, but as to color:

    Snails are getting lighter. So you'll likely be seeing more and more of the yellowy ones.

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  2. I bet the snails enjoyed the rain and you also!

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  3. All I can sa is that they are beautiful. Now I can see why the French love to eat them. I bet they taste as good as they look. HA

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  4. Once again, brilliant photography.

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  5. Never been able to bring myself to try escargot... These little guys look cute in the picture, but I think I prefer them in the photo rather than in front of me.

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  6. cyndi, interesting! Thanks for the link.

    evelyn, I'm sure they did!

    rick, they are cute little critters.

    mike, these are probably too small to be eaten, but the Burgundian snails aren't. We have some of those, too, but their shells are a plain brown.

    mitch, are you trying to garlic and butter me up? ;)

    bosguy, I've eaten them many times. Kind of a chewy excuse to eat lots of butter and garlic. :)

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  7. Definitely not trying to garlic and butter you up (although it's a fun idea), Walt the Fourth! I have never been much for escargot. But the shells are nice.

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  8. I got slugs, no smails. Snails are better, slugs not so much. Consider yourself lucky Walt.

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  9. ron, oh, we have plenty of slugs. They're just not as pretty in pictures. Well, some of them are...

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