Wildlife Wednesday: The Silent, Still Critter in the Garden

Last week I made an exciting wildlife discovery in my yard. I hadn’t seen such a creature since childhood. Of course and unfortunately, I don’t make mud pies or faerie houses these days so my opportunities to see one are limited.

You wouldn’t expect snails to withstand the extreme heat and cold of the high desert, but apparently they can. Land snails live in Nevada and, according to an article I read, there are approximately 8 species of Mountain Snails in particular slugging it between Nevada and Utah. Further research on the interwebs has shed some light (and hope) on something that was perplexing me with regards to my new-found friend. Now time for a photo presentation to illustrate my curious concern:

The day I noticed this snail clinging to my garden's boarder wall, I took this photo…



A few days later, I saw it again...in the same spot. I thought, “Hmmm…snails have a reputation of being slow, but this one must be breaking a world record..."



After day 7 of stillness, I was becoming concerned about the life status of this fond attachment (pun intended)...


I have since learned that many land snails aestivate, which means they slow down (even more) when the environmental conditions are warm and arid. How slow? Basically, they “hibernate” in the summer. Whoah? So maybe it isn’t dead after all!

This alleviates my feelings of guilt -- I had considered the possibility that its seeming demise was my fault because I had raked up the area weeks ago. What if my activity prompted it to begin ascending the wall but it dried up before reaching the summit of the last brick...incidentally and sadly getting cemented there and ultimately becoming a permanent sculpture in my yard? Ohhh, that would be sad...

There is hope now, however, to think that maybe it has intentionally sealed itself against the brick in order to lock in moisture until it’s safe to ooze out into the world again when the season changes. Apparently they are known to do this. In the mean time though, I just hope it’s not baking in this 100 degree heat…or then again…hot-off-the-brick escargot, anyone? Ohhh noooo…! We could call it Oh No Escargot. No...let's be positive: it's just sleeping...



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Comments

chris c July 13, 2017 @10:34 am
Nice. I figured the wet winter brought them out as I've seen a few around lately..
Kung Fu Sophie July 12, 2017 @07:41 pm
Thank you for the comments - sorry I have no way of responding directly to each one!
Kung Fu Sophie July 12, 2017 @07:37 pm
Thank you, Matt!
matt behrendt July 12, 2017 @05:52 pm
Cool writing, u should continue to write
David Parker July 12, 2017 @04:21 pm
Thanks for the laugh!!
Todd South July 12, 2017 @02:59 pm
Our old house near Reno High had a ton of snails in the yard. They ate all my strawberries!
Dennis July 12, 2017 @01:34 pm
"Aestivating Snail." Hmmmm. There might be a song it that!?
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