While shopping for pressies at the garden shop I was checking out the gardening gloves only to find a large snail shell stuck firmly to a glove, a very long way from any garden.
Knowing he wouldn't survive without intervention I peeled Mr snail from that glove to see that he’d retracted a long way into his shell. I carefully popped him in my bag and put water on his foot as soon as I got a chance, wondering whether it was already too late. Once at home I placed him on a pile of grass and lettuce and googled ‘snail’ to find out a little more about this little creature.
After ten minutes or so two little eyes appear cautiously from under the shell and slowly Jimmy ventured out. Within a minute he was chewing on the lettuce! Nom nom. Now I know most gardeners would be horrified but I have a soft spot for snails, especially after reading 'The sound of a wild snail eating' by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. What a wonderful, fascinating & inspiring story.
When night came around our nocturnal friend was off on a mission, he looked like a different snail, his body stretched out in direction of travel! Before rehoming him (as far from my vegetable patch as possible) I painted a small dot of clear nail polish on his shell so I'd recognise him if I saw him again.
I quite enjoyed having a snail to visit. They really are noisy eaters!
Three weeks later a snail trail appeared on the downstairs deck, a rather unusual sight. I was intrigued that the trail was dotted, a perforation of slime. I’d never noticed that detail before and wondered if it was left by our Jimmy.
A couple of nights after that I went outside at dusk to find the trail maker half way across the deck, moving rather swiftly for a snail. I looked closely and spied the dot of nail polish on his shell. YAY Jimmy Snail had come to visit. I watched him travel across the deck, his foot creating a flowing wave over the dots of slime it left behind, only a small part of his foot touching at any one time, a great slime saving exercise!
Our neighbour’s cat also came to visit and was intrigued with Jimmy. I rushed inside to get my camera, on return said kitty had played soccer with poor Jimmy and his shell was upside down some distance from end of the slime trail. He was again fully retracted into his shell. Oh no … ratbag cat! I righted Jimmy and hoped he’d be OK. Shortly afterwards he was out again and continued on his way. I wished him all the best for a safe and happy future.
Snails probably don’t have 9 lives but they can live for 3 years (according to Wikipedia) so hopefully there’s time to see Jimmy again.