X is for Xerocole (part 2)

Photo by Vyacheslav Mishchenko
Photo by Vyacheslav Mishchenko

Vyacheslav Mishchenkois a genius. His facebook page is here. (sorry for the broken link earlier)

More on drought tolerant creatures

When I think of desert creatures snails don’t exactly leap to mind but snails have some wonderful adaptations for dealing with extreme heat and drought.

Of course they prefer cool moist shade but even so they don’t seem to suffer as much here in Texas as I would have imagined.

snail in the heat

To keep their lovely tentacles nice and moist snails simply hermetically seal themselves off from the universe when it gets hot and nasty. The picture shown above was taken when it was nearly 90 degrees F outside. This snail and many more were even facing south. Why weren’t they cooked?

They close the shell with a membrane made from dried mucus — think of it as homemade plastic wrap. Then they go into a kind of suspended animation state called aestivation where they reduce their breathing rate. Then they wait. Patiently. Until the situation improves.

Some other things I learned about snails:

They can bench press 10 times their own body weight.
They have been known to dash at up to 50 yards per hour.
During courtship they shoot LOVE DARTS at each other and snuggle for about 6 hours!
These big milk snails I see everywhere are an introduced species but they are edible. Escargot anyone?
zoom zoom snail

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17 thoughts on “X is for Xerocole (part 2)

  1. I LOVE SNAILS!!! I read all about them when we got our salt water tank! I even like them more than the fish! Fascinating! I also read about the love darts and told my husband to watch out ;)

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    1. He really does! I have to agree about the slugs. When I lived on the west coast we had the banana slug monsters who could probably eat London’s Hyde Park garden overnight. Destructive and yet fascinating, too. I can like them again because I don’t have to worry about them anymore. =)

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  2. magical photo and great snail info..
    here it has been known for my partner to gather our humble garden snails and cook them.
    land oysters he calls them. and quite frankly they taste pretty good especially given the organic food source that they eat from.
    Sandra

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  3. Good Morning! The spider web and snail is an amazing picture. I couldn’t get the FB link to work. Happy Gardening : )

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