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Home on the range (your garden) the slimy snail version
September 15, 2010 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Are snails ravaging your vegetable garden? You don’t want to become a snail murderer so you gently put them in your neighbor’s garden or a nearby field, yet the snails seem to return. According to 69-year old amateur scientist (also the 2010 “So you want to be a scientist” winner), this is because snails have a homing mechanism, which she learned more about by using pails, snails, neighbors, and nail polish. So if you want to get rid of snails, move them beyond their home range of 100 meters (perhaps the garden of your neighbor’s neighbor? ) Other interesting experiments for this year’s contest included a crowd experiment at rock concerts; this amateur scientist (Sam O’kell) wore pressure sensing vests and stood at different locations during concerts. Other experiments (e.g. analyzing facebook profiles, etc.) from the competition.
posted by Wolfster (30 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, duh. HELLO, they have ANTENNAE.
posted by Gator at 8:09 AM on September 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have a yearly battle with snails but I don't want to kill them, so I load them up in a bucket and take them out to the woods, but I always wondered how many of the same snails managed to return. I wanted to do the nail polish (I was thinking paint) trick to run the same experiment but never got round to it.

By the way, snails in a moving bucket are like dogs going for a car ride. They slide up to the brim, get their eye stalks up, and look into the wind. I'm like a rocket ride for those guy-gals. You can almost see them smiling.
posted by pracowity at 8:09 AM on September 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh my god, they really did paint the snails!
posted by iamkimiam at 8:14 AM on September 15, 2010


Also, "pails, snails, neighbors, and nail polish"

♬ One of these things is not like the other...dooobeedooobeedooo... ♬
posted by iamkimiam at 8:17 AM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Putting them in your neighbor's garden is just a dick move. Put them in butter, champagne & garlic instead.
posted by snottydick at 8:17 AM on September 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I really don't have a problem with killing them. But they come back and eat my peppers anyway. Stupid zombie snails.
posted by rhymer at 8:19 AM on September 15, 2010


She found that snails have a strong homing distance over 30ft, and the longest returning creature travelled 300ft.

EPIC SNAIL.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:22 AM on September 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


snail polish
posted by Reverend John at 8:24 AM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone I catch putting their extraneous snails in my vegetable garden is going to have some major 'splaining to do, or some major running to do. Who does this? Snow is one thing; snails are another.
posted by theredpen at 8:28 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always suspected snails and slugs of being smarter than humans think! 300ft? Some people won't get that much of a move on! :)
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:34 AM on September 15, 2010


Oh if you choose to eat those snails, you need to confine them and feed them a gut-cleaning diet of corn-meal, and I think only certain types of snails are in fact edible.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:37 AM on September 15, 2010


Snails (and slugs) provided me an ironclad excuse to procure the best (and cutest) snail (and mosquito and blackfly and deerfly and japanese beetle) elimination solution ever.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:48 AM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


snail polish

takes forever to dry, but still done before the hair
posted by iamkimiam at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2010


Now all we need is really tiny scrolls and really patient spies and Operation Snail Mail will be complete...

(And also very tiny chain-link vests, for Operation Mail Snail Mail.)
posted by Scattercat at 9:36 AM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always thought the way to get rid of snails and slugs was to sink a tuna can so it was flush with the ground, and fill it halfway with beer.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:39 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


So wait, does this apply to slugs too? Or do we need to do another experiment to confirm?

And will my wife mind if I use her nail polish on a banana slug?
posted by rouftop at 9:58 AM on September 15, 2010


Yes - go spend a buck on Wet n' Wild at the drug store.
posted by maryr at 11:01 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


A guy is sitting watching television when he hears a knock on his door. He opens it and finds a snail sitting at his doorstep looking at him. He picks the snail up and throws him across the street into a field. Five years later, the man hears a knock on his door. He opens it to find the same snail at the doorstep. The snail looks up and says, "What the hell was that all about!?!"
posted by Senator at 11:13 AM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


So if you want to get rid of snails, move them beyond their home range of 100 meters (perhaps the garden of your neighbor’s neighbor? )

Or in my case my neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's neighbour's garden, who happens to be a neighbour of mine. Point is, your neighbour's neighbour is also your neighbour, just not your next door neighbour. And I have a small garden.
posted by Elmore at 12:00 PM on September 15, 2010


She found that snails have a strong homing distance over 30ft

Cool, so my lob-it-45-feet-diagonally-across-the-street-so-it-lands-in-the-opposite-gutter-with-its-shell-smashed technique is fundamentally sound. *rubs hands together* EXcellent.
posted by Lexica at 12:32 PM on September 15, 2010


I hate killing things.

I once "relocated" a rattlesnake by dropping it over the driftwood berm that separated the back of my lot from the dry wash behind.

When I got home the next day, the cat was trying to hypnotize a rattlesnake in the front yard.

Of course I can't say for sure that it was the same snake, but I took this one for a long ride out into the desert in a trash can in the bed of the truck and let him/her out there with firm instructions NOT to hitchhike back.

Later I read that rattlers are very territorial and usually disperse at about 1 per acre.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:54 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of
posted by sidereal at 2:06 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"slow" jokes to be made here....
posted by sidereal at 2:07 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Example and I live in south London, and being very much night people, we regularly encounter yellow slugs in the middle of the night. I don't like to kill them, so I'll pick them up in a paper towel and toss them back into the garden through the kitchen or bathroom window.

It's never seemed to slow them down, though, and lately I've been developing the suspicion that at least one of them has been the same slug, coming back over and over again and just getting more and more angry.

Now I know. Somewhere there's a small burrow with a tiny, tiny poster of me mounted on a miniature dartboard. My days are numbered.

The fact that slugs and snails don't have hands and can't throw darts just serves to keep him mean.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:52 PM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Snails are a delicious treat for chickens, kinda like egg rolls: crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. I sometimes thought I should hire out my hens as a snail removal service. Of course, they also remove grass, and flowers, and vegetables. But seriously, before I got chickens I could pull literally hundreds (I counted 'em) of snails at a time from my back yard. After chickens, no snails at all. Unfortunately, not many plants either ...
posted by Quietgal at 3:56 PM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oversexed Female Snails Make Males Chase Each Other
posted by rosswald at 4:30 PM on September 15, 2010


Uh, hello, it's called a Salt Shaker...

It looks pretty rad too!
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:53 PM on September 15, 2010


Walking on the dirt road that I live on one day, I noticed what appeared to be a small and dispersed herd of snails heading in the direction of my garden. It looked like the morning commute.

No doubt all the snails in my neighborhood knew about the lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and mustard buffet to be found beyond my garden fence.
posted by bricksNmortar at 6:44 AM on September 16, 2010


bricksNmortar: "Walking on the dirt road that I live on one day, I noticed what appeared to be a small and dispersed herd of snails heading in the direction of my garden. It looked like the morning commute.

No doubt all the snails in my neighborhood knew about the lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and mustard buffet to be found beyond my garden fence.
"

Those snails oughta build some mass transit:

rail snails.
posted by Reverend John at 7:01 AM on September 16, 2010


Homing snails. Oddly, I find that far more interesting than homing pigeons.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on September 16, 2010


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