I’ve had this weird fascination with snails since I was really young. If anything, it’s kind of just getting stronger as time goes on. I love the unique patterns on their shells, their complexity, their cute little eyes and those wiggly tentacles. I even find their slime charming.
Even now, I’m still learning new things about them. Yesterday, I found out that snails have hearts. You’re probably mumbling how stupid I am for thinking that these beautiful, living creatures don’t have hearts but it’s something that never occurred to me before. I guess I didn’t ask questions about the anatomy of a snail as a child and, as my interest in them never faded, I didn’t bother questioning it as an adult.
When I was younger, I kept snails as pets. I’d walk down the alley, search through the weeds and collect some in a shoe box full of greens and a little tub of water. Obviously, that wasn’t the nicest of things to do to those little snails who were just enjoying life, but I genuinely thought I was giving them a better quality of life (and I really did love them)! I gave them names, I’d stroke their shells and I’d place them on my hands for exercise – yep, that happened.
Eventually, when my brother found out I’d been keeping snails, he thought it would be funny to kill some of my little friends. That’s always stuck with me. It’s not that I resent him for it, not at all, but it’s one of those childhood memories that stayed with me. He hit them in the air with a tennis racket and cracked their shells… Children are grim. The poor things. After I screamed bloody murder at him to stop, I released those that he didn’t get his mitts on back into the alley to live the rest of their lives in peace.
I don’t keep snails anymore, of course. Can you imagine if I brought a tank home full of snails? I think Matt would die laughing. Instead, I just save them whenever I can – if I find a snail in the middle of the road, I’ll pick them up and help them cross. Last week, I saw one of the weirdest snail phenomenons. As me and Matt began our 12-mile hike into the countryside, we wandered down a quaint street to find (I’m not over-exaggerating) 7 or so alive snails crossing the road. Around them were dozens of squashed snails who, presumably, were crushed by passing cars. It was the weirdest thing.
I couldn’t just leave the rest of them to get crushed. One by one, I went on a snail rescue mission and popped them into the nearby roadside weeds. I felt like a little savoir all day.
I don’t know what it is about them but I just think they’re ace.
Do you have any weird fascinations with unpopular animals, people, hobbies?
You can read my previous post here.
Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills