A Snail's Tale


One of the great things that I love about going to field days and expos is the random trivia that I collect whilst there.

The weirdest things are divulged during casual conversations with the complete strangers that take to time to stop and chat. I always end up scratching my head, unsure of whether to believe them or to laugh “aha ha ha” rather wittily and wink the wink that says “You’re not going to pull the wool over this little city chicks eyes!”  Inevitably, when I return home I jump on the net and Wiki lets me know how well my True and False guessing game went.

”Did you know that that…” says a grey haired, pleasant faced gentleman pointing to the weather station “…can tell you how low the clouds are?”  Delayed pondering…”Um…no?”

Sure enough….the cloud base can be calculated by the comparing the dew point and the actual air temperature both which are measured by the MEA weather station.

Want to know the secret formula?  For that you’ll have to find me at an expo (or email me)! I’m still trying to convince Gerard to write it into Magpie 4. Who cares if it has no real world application? – it’s got the cool factor!!!

“Did you know that I’m Aaron Baddeley’s uncle? “  Hmmm…..that name sounds familiar! Oh yes….Golf.  “Really?”  Yes - also TRUE and I now have a ‘Support Crew’ Team Baddeley cap to prove it and a few stories of Aaron as a child – got to love family!

“Did you know that Lucerne gives bees a whack on the back when they pollinate the flower”! TRUE.

But my all time favourite of late is the random, random fact that was imparted by a cheeky cockie in Queensland, “The rain gauge on your weather station has a copper top to keep the snails and slugs out!”  WTF?!?!?  Seriously, this was immediately after someone had told me that the MEA AWS looked like a lunar landing module. I just politely nodded, winked that wink and moved on.

Later wiki gave me a kick in the butt….snails and slugs as it turns out, do not have iron in their blood like mammals but in fact use copper containing structures to move oxygen around! Maybe there was more to this than first appeared.  But copper on copper, what would that do? Further investigation gave me nothing. Right – it’s time to ask my brother… he knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING (I think he wrote Wiki).

Image: Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Turns out that snails and slugs being somewhat slimey and wet would indeed have issues when touching copper. Not because they themselves contain copper but because the slime would create an electrochemical reaction resulting in a small voltage (somewhat like a battery). The one or two volts generated wouldn’t hurt them (thank goodness) but would cause, and I quote, “an unpleasant tingle”.  So there you have it. Want to keep snails out of rain gauges or your even your veggie patch, get your hands on some copper!

Look out Trivial Pursuit Challengers, here I come!  


28 February 2012

Snails are pretty fascinating to watch but the slugs out on the coast are something of a terror they can stretch out over 8 inches long & demolish a garden in short order! These are not critters to squash underfoot as that goo won't go away with a rub in the grass. Some people skewer them or use knives shudder I usually flick them out onto the laneway in the hopes the birds will find them. My current terror of the garden something new to our community is a deer! Ate all my blueberries & currants before they were ripe!

- Hemant

18 April 2013

There you go...an organic battery!

- Anthony Nabkey