Friday, April 23, 2010

Holy snails batman!

After two years of drought, Austin has been receiving much needed rain this spring. While I welcome the rain, maybe even go so far as to say I love the rain, it does have some downsides.

1. Snails.
2. It's difficult to do my fire ant field work when it seems to rain every three days.
3. Even more snails.
4. One of my mountain laurels died and the other one didn't bloom this year due to copious amounts of moisture.
5. Have I mentioned snails?

So I've been overrun with snails in my yard. I'm not talking here or there I find clusters; I'm talking "holy moley there are snails EVERYWHERE"! I'm talking about walking through the backyard and hearing crunching of snail shells under foot. The snail fairy hasn't been visiting anyone but me apparently, so you can leave you thank notes in the comments section below for handling everyone's snail problems. I finally had the opportunity to take my own advice from a previous blog post on snails and did some hand picking this past week. The snails were chucked into a pail of soapy water.

While I felt somewhat bad at first for potentially killing off populations of Gary (Spongebob reference there for all you fans...), it really came down to them or me, well to be more exact, them or my plants and my plants won out. Check out the haul.....536! Yes, I counted. I couldn't get over the pile that I wound up with.

Since it took several mornings of snail picking, the pile was quite gross and smelly by the time I got around to taking photos and counting, but that's okay, I'm a professional, right? I got the added bonus of capturing some photos of blow flies that were taking advantage of the pile of rotting snail corpses.

By the way....when I let the dogs out this morning I saw 3 snails hanging out on the side of the house and one on my agave. ARGH!


RBell said...

That's...incredible. As a fellow Austinite, it's hard for me to even conceive of that quantity of snails from one yard. And, indeed, thank you for being the Austin snail gathering locale.

LindaCTG said...

So far, the snails haven't made it my yard in bundles. I suspect they are about to burst on me. Years ago, I got out my frustrations with them, probably close to your count, and threw them onto our busy street. I felt sort of bad about it.

And where in the heck do they come from?!

Keith Brown said...

Regarding the mountain laurels...This year we've (Austin Tree Experts) experienced problems all over town with mountain laurels that had been planted too deep. Burying a tree's root flares is known to lead to fungal problems. When it's a dry year this is less of a problem, but when it rains a we go. I'd recommend you make sure you can see to the first roots emerging from the base of your mountain laurels. This may solve your problems.

Lancashire rose said...

I have thousands of a different kind-Tiny and flat. I also have decollates which I am leaving because they eat other snails and slugs. They are getting pretty numerous too. Hope I am doing the right thing. I have never counted but that was something I used to do when we lived in Ca. They were big ones there and I did a snail hunt every night-with my scissors.

Wizzie Brown said...

I collected another 139 snails this past weekend after it rained. Please, thank you for the rain, but I'm snailed out!

Wizzie Brown said...

Collected another 62 snails this morning....yikes!

Wizzie Brown said...

28 more snails from earlier this week- that's 765 so far that have been counted.

deang said...

When I lived in Austin's Bouldin Creek neighborhood in the 90s, I had similarly huge populations of snails, since I was basically in the floodplain of the Colorado River. During rainy periods, it was impossible to walk outside without snail shells crunching underfoot. Since I had completely natural-looking, all native plantings, with an organization known only to me but wild-looking to most everyone else, I didn't have to worry with getting rid of the things; they could eat to their heart's content. I just felt bad about stepping on them.

Karen said...

I see that thewe are posts from 2010 and here it is 6 years later in August. I am a 60 year old native Austinite and have never seen anything like this! I live near Windy Point on Lake Travis and have a pool in my yard. I've retrieved hundreds of Decollate snails from my pool! I wondered where in the world they came from but it has to be from the oak leaves way above the pool as there are both the leaves, along with the snails in there at the same time! Some are actually floating and some are at the bottom, scooped up in the net of my pool cleaner.

So, I'm looking to see if anyone else is experiencing this, with the recent rains? It's crazy! And my second thought is wondering if these types of snails, which I see are deemed as highly beneficial in eating the other "bad" snails and slugs, can actually carry one of several diseases attributed to various snails. Despite hours of google research, I haven't yet found an answer to either question of why there are tons of them in my pool and if they carry disease. Does anyone out there know the answer to either of these questions?? Thank you!!

Wizzie Brown said...

I have been getting calls on snails recently since we've had a deluge of rain this month.

I'm not sure why they are in your pool. I would hypothesize that they are attracted to the moisture and then die when they fall in.

Here's information I found on diseases or organisms transmitted bu snails:

Karen said...

Thank you, Wizzie Brown! Yes, you are correct in that they are not alive by the time I find them. They seem to have fallen with the leaves from above, however,instead of climbing. Is that possible?

I've read similar articles and as an RN, am always interested in disease transmission. However, I've not located any information yet specific to this species, have you?



Wizzie Brown said...

I say with animals pretty much anything is possible.

As for the particular disease transmission, I'm not up on snail taxonomy, so I can't really say anything about the particular snail species.