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Slip, slidin’ away

November 6, 2020
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A neighbour of mine has a regular night-time routine – slug hunting. Rain, hail or shine she is out with a torch hoping to rid her garden of these pests. Slugs and their shelled cousins snails make up a class of animals known as Gastropods, creatures which have the same general characteristics, like:

  • Snails and slugs have two tentacles extending from the front of the head, pictured left. The upper two are the eye stalks. The lower pair contains ‘smell’ organs and is retractable.
  • These animals are hermaphroditic, having both male and female sex organs (I wonder how they decide which one to use!)
  • The snail shell keeps growing during the life of the snail. Calcium carbonate is added to the shell from the base that gets larger with time to accommodate the growing body. The shell spirals in a clockwise direction.
  • Snails and slugs have a single lung-like organ. The breathing hole known as the pneumostome is on the right side of the body and opens and closes as the animal breathes (pictured above). In snails the pneumostome is hard to see as the shell often obscures the view.
  • Snails and slugs have a series of microscopic teeth known as a radula with which they scrape lichen and other vegetative matter off surfaces.

Finally snails (not sure about slugs!) are delicious sautéed with parsley butter and garlic with a squeeze of lemon, and a glass of cold Chablis (I am not sure that applies to our garden snails).

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    November 6, 2020 10:32 am

    Lovely creatures! but not for human eating… uck! Slugs eat my leafy greens …
    Good insight though Ron 🙂

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