22 June 2015

The Canary of Snails

It's amazing what you can buy online these days.

The postman delivered these guys the other week.

Though I doubt he was aware of what he had picked up from the sorting office.

They came in a box labelled 'Live Plants'. A little white lie so as not to freak out the postie.

They look like something you'd buy per 100g in a delicatessen.

But these guys are not for eating. They have work to do.

These are ramshorn snails brought in to eat their way through the algae in the pond.

I don't think they'll go hungry.

I have to confess I didn't do a lot of research about water snails and how many you need per square foot of pond, or even if they do really eat the algae, so please don't take this post as a 'top tip'. We shall have to wait to see what they manage to do, and if they survive the tough old fish that skulk at the bottom.  (Do you remember Bronson?)

The reason I chose ramshorn snails was not only for their dietary preferences, or even the fun of making my family shriek 'Mum!', but also sentiment. Because I remember going to the local park after school in the 1970's and picking huge ramshorns out of the ornamental pond there. You could sit on the edge, take a snail out and watch it slowly slide back in. Then go home to watch Magpie and Newsround, followed by the Wombles.

It seems another, gentler, far distant world. Society can't sustain such a delicate thing as a public pond now. That is sad.

Perhaps water snails are the canary in the coalpit of urban parks.