Sunday, 26 April 2015

Snail safari

We had the first heavy rain for what seems like weeks, so decided to go on a snail safari to Pulpit Hill. We were hoping to see the huge Roman snails that live up there, but it turned out to be a real snailfest, with all sorts of lovely slimey creatures out enjoying the damp conditions.

The Roman snails were out in force. We must have seen 30 - 40, without really hunting very hard for them. They're quite well disguised in the dead beech leaves, so you have to get your eye in when you're in the woods. They're much easier to spot out on the grassy slopes.

There's something really quite endearing about them. I'm not sure whether it's just because they're so big, their big googly eyes or the fact that they don't really hide back in their shells. Whatever it is, they are a firm favourite of ours!
Bug Mad Girl can't resist picking one up for a closer look

A slug hitching a ride on a Roman snail 
This one was sat on what I think is a nice bit of wall scalewort (a type of liverwort)

A Roman snail and a Strawberry snail
We did notice a few of them buried in the mud, with just the top of their shell sticking out. Near to one was a hole about the size of a Roman snail, so we wondered if they hibernate in the mud and the hole is where one has recently come out of hibernation.
Maybe still hibernating

A Roman snail sized hole in the mud
No sign of any of the Roman snails mating yet, but the Brown-lipped snails were feeling frisky after last nights rain!

I'll let you try and work out which bit of which snail is where!

It looks like quite a slimy business! Wonder what colour the babies will be?

We came across several other types of snail, including some tiny little Door snails with long, thin, pointed shells and one that looked more like a pond snail than a land snail.

Tiny little door snail
Another door snail

Badly our of focus I'm afraid, but we thought this one looked like a pond snail
There were all sorts of other snails, different colours, shell sizes and shapes. Not sure I can identify them all though so here's a few pictures to show you some of the variety.

Yellow shell and less whorls than the others

Some lovely big black slugs were out and about as well.

There was plenty to see apart from the snails...

We found some Common Spotted Orchids growing. I'd started to worry a little as I hadn't seen any before today. They have the best leaves that look like animal print. Not long now until we see some flowers.

Leaves of the Common Spotted Orchid

We wondered if this was a different type of orchid growing - but we'll
have to wait and see to be sure!
The Wild Strawberries were flowering and the Hart's Tongue Ferns had died back and were growing their new fronds.
Wild Strawberries

Hart's Tongue Fern - just emerging

Hart's Tongue Fern - more mature fronds
The Jelly Ear is still going strong and some new 'ears' had appeared on an elder branch.

Another great trip to Pulpit Hill!


  1. Lovely blog post as usual. The one that looks like a pond snail is Pomatias elegans (round mouthed snail), well worth trying to find one moving around. They are one of my favourite snail species!


    1. Thanks Ryan, we'll have to keep an eye out for another one!

  2. Love the Roman snails. They are like the swallowtails of the snail world, they are so beautiful!

    1. They are lovely (and they don't fly away when you try and photograph them!)