I have often admired the beautiful, coiled shells of snails.
How practical: they can withdraw in their shells and the enemy might be tricked into thinking it was an empty shell.
I remember one of my uncles complaining about snails eating up his lettuce. I couldn’t really believe it. So far, I had not had any bad experiences with them.
However, this has changed this winter. Auckland’s winter has been very wet. This must have been a feast for the snails, and they seem to be either more numerous or more hungry than last year.
I thought that they were slow – hence the expression “snail mail” but I have realised that they are quite fast. If you collect them and put them in a jar, they are quite quick in trying to escape.
I have come to a point where I ask myself why God created them in the first place.
For a gardener, the birds can be a nuisance, but they help spreading seeds. The skinks eat the ants. The ants eat insects etc.
What do snails do – except eating what others have sown?
I decided to do some research. The result: snails are important for the ecosystem…
“Land snails, semi-slugs and slugs are important players in the forest decomposition process and contribute to the nutrification of soils through their decaying bodies, shells and faeces. Their dead shells can form an important source of calcium for other animals in calcium-poor habitats.
Land snails recycle forest nutrients and are prey for a number of vertebrate animals as well as other invertebrates including carnivorous snails. And their dietary preference for fungi may also be a factor in fungal spore dispersal.” (see: https://factsaboutsnails.com/snail-facts/do-snails-sleep/)
So, yes, God has created every creature with a purpose…
The snails and slugs might be a nuisance for gardeners, but they have an important role within our ecosystem.
I guess it comes down to location, location, location…. Beautiful in the forest but not among your parsley or lettuce…
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