The Snail

Brown-lipped Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) by Graham Watkeys

Brown-lipped Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) by Graham Watkeys

An embodiment of the golden ratio, a mathematical secret of the universe hidden in the turns of a shell; a horticultural horror, an armoured spiral, chewed leaves and silver trails reveal the single footed glider.

A conqueror of the land coming from ancient seas needing only the sun gifted ghost of oceans and the shade of the night to thrive, snails are a seemingly ubiquitous part of the world, hated by some, ignored by most it has been shown that snails have more to them than meets the eye.

The garden snail (Cornu aspersum) Graham Watkeys

The garden snail (Cornu aspersum) Graham Watkeys

An experiment carried out in 2010 by a frustrated but snail friendly gardener of ravaged beans and decimated lettuce, found that snails have a strong homing instinct (search snails homing instinct if you don’t believe me) and you have to move them over 20 metres away (which is a very, very long way for a snail) to be sure of them not coming back. (And of course I did BBC So You Want To Be A Scientist - Snails - the Editor)

So simple snails have the ability to know which way is home, I wonder how the pigeon, that most famous of cartologically minded animals, feels about being upstaged by a mere gastropod?

I often see snails in the crevices of walls and rocky outcrops at Taf Fechan and knowing they could be the same individual snails in the same crevices every time I pass makes me feel we have a relationship if only a vicarious one.

Graham Watkeys - Taf Fechan Volunteer Warden