Sunday 13 November 2011

How to get a snail to go aaaaah!

I have spent quite a lot of time lately tidying up my photo library and tagging photos and I have come across several worth posting about even if they won't be as timely as usual. I wanted to see if I could take some shots of snail's mouths. To do this, I mashed up a few dandelion leaves and painted an area of the outside of one of the conservatory window with the resulting concoction. Then I found a few active snails and this one delivered. It started climbing up the window, its foot showing the muscular ripples that power its slow advance, mouth shut tight.
As soon as the snail felt the dandelion mixture, it opened its mouth and started licking it, showing its tongue (the radula) and the chininous, dark hardened ridge in front of it. The radula is a muscular organ covered in rows of hard little teeth that can scrape surfaces and it was very evident how the snail used it to eat the bits of the dandelion leaves once it got to them.
Dandelion leaves, yum!
These are the marks left by snails or slugs while grazing algae growing on a pot
The snail also showed nicely the opening of its lung, on the right side of its body.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting articles about snails. I've tried looking at snails on glass plates but did not put any food on them. This spring I will try the dandelion leaves. The glass does get rather slimy after a while.