On my regular afternoon walk to the Courtenay Airpark I noticed a rout of close to two dozen snails on the rail of a cement fence near the Old House Restaurant. The snails were Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis), a common garden snail that was introduced to North America from Europe. The shells of this medium sized snail (20-25mm) in diameter are variable, ranging in colour from brown to light yellow and often marked with dark bands.
I watched and photographed the snails for about 15 minutes. A few were active, moving slowly along the fence rail while others collected in groups of shells with no sign of the animal at all. Why had these snails gathered here I wondered? No other section of the fence had snails on it and there didn’t seem to be any snails on the ground. I asked my almost three year old son what he thought and he said that “The snails are going to fall down.”
The snails didn’t fall down – they just continued doing whatever it was that they were doing. We continued on our way having thoroughly enjoyed our glorious Grovesnail watching experience.