Hi, my name is:

Garden Snail

Describe yourself: Like most of the snails in your garden I’m a foreigner to this land. I am a bit of a nomad, travelling light and taking my shelter with me. But, rest assured, when I get to your place, if conditions are good, I tend to stay for a while. Some people say I’m slimy, but I reckon you should make up your own mind on that. I’m related to Slug and he pretty much does what I do in your garden but he doesn’t call a shell home! He’s a bit of an exhibitionist and you should see what he gets up to with his missus!!!!

Hobbies: Hanging out after dark, munching on seedlings, putting huge holes in leaves, laying trails!

Likes: A moist environment, night time, cloudy days and especially when it rains in the evening.  That’s when my slime won’t dry out.  I also love depositing a good egg clutch in the soil in warm months. That’s why you might find me hiding in pots or in mulch where I won’t dry out so much.  Freshly planted seedlings are irresistible to my discerning palette. And I really love a beer – I just can’t hold it!

Dislikes: Australian native snails, birds, blue tongue lizards and frogs! I hate coffee (espresso kills me); crushed eggshells; lime; wood ash; wood shavings and sawdust. I don’t like dry weather because I need to keep my skin moist so I go back into my shell and seal the opening with slime which dries out and protects me from dehydration.  That’s why you’ll see me after rain, especially after a dry spell when I’ve become really hungry – rain melts my slime telling me I can come out safely and FEED!  But I always fall for the ‘traps with fresh beer’ trick but dislike the unpleasant aftermath (death). I hate iron based snail and slug pellets and copper strips around pots.

You’ll know you’ve met me when: All your newly planted seedlings, especially veggies and herbs, are munched right down to the ground. There are big holes in leaves, and shiny silver trails wherever I’ve visited!

Breaking up ain’t hard to do… if:

  • You come spotlighting with a torch about two hours after sunset – especially if it’s raining – and wear your gumboots for a bit of a hoedown with me.
  • Spray a coffee mix (one part espresso to ten parts water) on the plants I like to eat and around the areas I like to travel.
  • Shout me a beer and lay it on its side where I am most active. I love a beer, but it’s the last thing I’ll ever drink.
  • Create obstacles of crushed eggshells, lime, wood ash, wood shavings and sawdust around plants. I’m not the athletic type so barriers will protect your vulnerable plants from my unwelcome attentions.
  • Mulch the area with some strong smelling herbs like wormwood, mint, tansy or lemon balm. And add some pine needles to stop me right in my tracks
  • Put strips of copper foil around near the top of pots or raised garden beds
  • Put some yummy citrus rind halves out for my daytime nap. If you catch me there before dark.
  • The worst thing you can do to me is to pick me up and drop me into a bottle with water and soap in it.  That not only kills me, but it also kills any fertilised eggs that are in my shell, so you’ll also have prevented my children from having a life in the garden.