A Surfeit of Snails

by Janie Jones

Can you find the snail in this photo?

a surfeit of snails

I really like snails.  I don’t know why, precisely.  They just seem really cool to me.  They have a way of somehow moving slow and fast at the same time.  They have neat colors, and I’m fascinated by their bodies which can suck up completely into their shell.  When we began the fish tank after a freak goldfish win at the county fair a couple summers ago, I bought a snail at the pet store.  I paid almost $3 for it, and after a few months it was dead.  So, figuring we had bad luck I bought another.  A few months later, the second snail was dead.  At $3 a pop, no matter how cool I find them, I couldn’t find it worth the price, so we remained snail-less for some time.

Then, a few months ago, we decided to get a few new fish, as we’d finally lost enough that the tank was looking kinda lame.  At a different pet shop, we noticed their fish tanks swarming with snails.  I asked if there was some secret to keeping snails, to which the pet shop person said, “No, but if you know the secret to not keeping snails, let us know.  They breed like crazy and periodically we have to just clean out and dispose of tons of them.”

She gave me 5 free snails.  They were pretty small, smaller than a pea, but she said she was certain that in no time they’d breed and get bigger.  I was doubtful, after my last two snail experiences, but years and years ago I’d had pet snails and they generally were hearty, and so we decided to give it a try.

There were two kinds, and I don’t know their scientific designation, so bear with my sad description.  One appears like your stereotypical snail, round spiral shell.  The other had a long spiraling cone shape shell (if you click on the above photo to enlarge it, then look right next to the head of the large plecostomus, you can see one of the cone shaped snails, it’s a pale greyish color).  We put them in the tank, and then for a few weeks we played “Where’s Waldo” trying to spot the tiny snails.  Then, one day, I noticed that I could spot no less than 6 of the traditional shaped snails.  Our snails had babies!  Within a few weeks of that, I began to see 4 or 5 of the cone spiral shaped snails, and we were off to a J curve population boom.

Now, what will we do when the snails take over the tank?  Anyone want to have some snails?

And, this lead me to another question.  What do you call a group of snails, a surfeit of snails?  A slime?  A slew?  A sublime?

Well, according to www.ask.com a group of snails is called:

A group of Snails is called a walk, rout or escargartoire.

Or more specifically,

A group of snails is referred to as a Rout. A nursery of snails is known as Escargatoire.

And, www.ask.com also provided this other informational tidbit:

The Snail is a gastropod, a soft-bodied type of mollusk. The soft body is protected by a hard shell, which the snail retreats into when alarmed. They are found worldwide in the seas, in fresh water, and in moist areas on land.  Snail like creatures that lack a shell are known as slugs.

Eeewww!  Strangely enough while snails fascinate me, I loathe slugs.  They remind me of nothing more than self-motile  snot.

So, while we are talking snails, I thought in honor of Tuesday Titters, I will reblog one of my favorite jokes.:

A snail walked into a car dealership. Immediately a salesman came up to him and offered his assistance figuring a commission is a commission and if the snail had money that was all that mattered to him.

Salesman: Hello there, erm, Sir? Can I help you pick out a car?

Snail: Mr. Snail…. Oh…. Yes…. But… I… have some… special… requirements.

Salesman: Certainly, why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for.

Mr. Snail: Well *he said slowly* I want something small and sporty that goes very fast.

Salesman: Not a problem, Mr. Snail.

Mr. Snail: But it must have vinyl seats, not cloth, not leather. For obvious reasons.

The salesman and Mr. Snail looked down briefly at a puddle of goo on the show room floor.

Salesman: Um. Right. Also not a problem!

Mr. Snail: Good. Then I want a special paint job. I’m tired of people over-looking me because they think I’m just a slow, dumb snail. I want something sleek, sharp. Something eye-catching that will stand out. Something that sizzles. Money is no object, so I’ll want it done exactly to my specifications.

Salesman: We will see what we can do. What were you thinking?

Mr. Snail: I want a fire-engine red car. Fire engines are fast, and they get noticed. That’s what I want. And, the car must have a bold letter “S” painted on each side, the hood, and the boot so people from all directions will know it is Mr. Snail when they see me drive down the street in my new car.

Salesman: O-kay. I think we can accommodate that. Is there any thing else, a vanity plate perhaps?

Mr. Snail: Oh…. Yes…. I think….

Salesman: The letter “S” maybe?

Mr. Snail: Oh, yesssssss.fish n food 047 a

So the salesman shook hand to pseudopod, some papers were slimed and some money changed over.

In a few weeks Mr. Snail returned to pick up his new car, and was very pleased with his purchase. The salesman had even made sure the new vanity plate was attached for his special customer. As Mr. Snail peeled out of the parking lot, tires squealing and accelerator pressed flat to the floor, in his compact but fast, custom-painted car the manager of the dealership looked out the window said to the salesman, “What’s the deal with the special paint job and the vanity plate?”

The salesman, already planning on how to spend his commission said absently, “I don’t know, but you can’t help but notice that little “S” car go!”


Information on snails was obtained May 21, 2013 at 8:25 am from http://www.ask.com, URL: http://www.ask.com/question/what-do-you-call-a-group-of-snails

Joke is original material from Janie Jones at Janie’s Place.

Photos are original material taken by Janie Jones.

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