Wondering about snails and their habitat
In reflection, I wish I had ensured that a portion of my summer had moved at a snail’s pace. As the school year closed, I completed moving the contents of my classroom into my house. I was not impressed seeing the clutter fill up a room that should have been organized as my den. That unsightly clutter was transferred into a new classroom at a new school prior to the end of July. With my daughter arriving in August from Japan, and my son busy at university until late August, I realized that July would need to filled with classroom organization, preparation for a new school year, and an honest attempt to landscape both a front and a back yard.
Despite the onward progression of summer, I permitted myself time to enjoy the snails that live in the small garden at the front of our house. They move through the garden between a clump of hostas to a boxwood, but most often can be easily spotted gliding along the trunk of a Japanese maple tree. From a family of gardeners, I cannot remember investing much time or interest in snails in the past, yet I have indulged these colourful snails with a safe habitat in my garden for several years.
When Sophie came from Japan for the last three weeks of August it seemed like little road trips filled our days as she tried to see as many family members as possible, visit her brother even though he was in the thick of studies for his summer term, as well as fit in her training for the Run the Rock†marathon†on Texada Island. While she was away on short trips, I took further interest in these snails and decided then that I would take them in for a little stay in the new classroom early in the school year. It was far too hot in the classroom at the beginning of the year, so the snails were taken back home after just three days. We will try again next week.
We have observed some snails in the forest next to the school and we see that they quite enjoy moving along the surface of and eating skunk cabbage. We think that skunk cabbage is kind of like the big leaves of a hosta plant. We will put some skunk cabbage in our snail’s home.
We had our school gardener, Leslie Cox, visit our classroom on Monday and she said that snails are important decomposers in our garden. They will happily eat anything and don’t distinguish between material that we want composted like carrot tops or the lettuce that we are growing to eat. If you remove one animal from your ecosystem, be prepared to take on the job it has been doing successfully all along.
I hope you enjoy this short slide show, which asks that you endure some blurry video footage of the snails in my garden. As a class we will talk about how such a small animal travels these distances between plants.