Only a short post today as I'm up to mischief a little later tonight…

Today in my training course I was reminded about how to deal with mental health patients, how to recognise child abuse and about the new folders we have to build explaining how we are continuing our education in order to get paid. Most of it was refresher stuff although there was an interesting bit about the capacity to refuse treatment. Something I should do a post on later.

There is a reason that I dislike working nights at this time of year, I suspect that it has to do with the love I have of animals. Even squicky ones. During the night, when it is damp, the snails come out. Perfectly camouflaged against garden paths, each one is like a little landmine of guilt. I have size twelve feet, my eyesight isn't the best and each snail that I crush makes me want to weep. I watch them during the day, their friendly little eyes looking up at me as they go on their merry way. Little do they know my unwitting genocide against their species.

I found myself the other night, picking my way through an overgrown garden to attend to an elderly man with a belly ache – nothing particularly serious but his garden path, long and dark was obviously full of snails. Soon to be deceased snails.

So out came my torch and I carefully picked my way between them, my crewmate (hoof-footed fool that he is) managed to splat one of them by accident. After discovering that out patient wasn't too ill my crewmate helped him get his coat and keys while I snuck out in the garden and started picking the snails out of the way of the partially sighted patient. I'm sorry to say that in my eagerness to save as many as possible one died in a 'friendly fire' incident.

The patient came shuffling out of the house and, despite my feeble torch light and my evacuation of as many of our shelled friends as possible, he still managed to step on two of them. Each one was a chain of guilt around my heart.

I know it is strange to post about such things here, but these are the things that go through your mind at 2am in the morning.

(And yes, I know that snails are considered pests to gardeners – but I'm not a gardener, I think I'm a frustrated Jainist – although perhaps not, as I'd quite happily roll some of our 'regulars' into the canal).

32 thoughts on “Snails”

  1. Oh the guilt! The guilt! I know it well. I used to really get upset obout running worms over on my roller skates, but they don't move very quickly do they?Now it's snails, along my long dark path. If only we could train them to congregate somewhere out of the way?

  2. Aw!I hate killing snails too. How are you on slugs, though? I don't like killing either but some people are happy to differentiate. I heard someone suggest that slugs are just homeless snails, and thus our hatred of them over snails mirrors some kind of social discrimination.

    I personally think that's balls. I think snails just look nicer than slugs. Perhaps you could have gone back to the house after the call and tried to glue the shells back together. Or replaced them with bottle caps or something. They might have been ok!


  3. I recall years ago finding a snail in the garden. So I picked it up and tossed it far away.About six months later there's a knock at my door. And there is the snail halfway up the pane in said door. He look angry and just said 'And what was that for?'

  4. “some of our 'regulars'” … less than the snails that perish. Too true.(Btw, I know just what you mean about snails. Here it's earthworms that crawl out on sidewalks to avoid being drowned after heavy rain. I pick them up and put them back in the grass. I used to wonder what people must think.)

  5. This is great stuff!!! I'm a Techie in South Central Ambulance Service, and have been reading your blog all weekend, when I should have been studying for my paramedic course which started today. My Mum always said to me, after I had related a funny/shocking/tradgic story to her, That I should keep a diary and publish it when I retired. Thankfully you've beaten me to it. If I had listen to her, and lets face it when do us blokes ever listen to our mum I would have called mine “If Only The Public Knew”. Thanks to you THEY DO NOW!!!!!!

  6. Well Mr Reynolds. I just started Uni today, with a roomfull of wanna-be Paramedics behind myself. I saw at least one other looking at Random Acts, and I suspect many do as well. I think you may have inspired some people. Well done.

  7. Everybody reading this on that course should make some secret sign so the others know. Maybe a snail on the shoulder then you can identify each other

  8. You could always pick out the bits of shell and eat 'em, a la Gordon Ramsay..We get kamikaze snails round here, I swear they KNOW it's a garden path and they only come out when you switch the lights on.

  9. This reminds me of Anna littleredboat and her trauma inducing journeys home from the pub on Iona.To this day, I can't rid myself of the mental image of getting squashed toad between the toes as a result of wearing sandals in the dark on a country road.

    It's so upsetting.

    Snails are cool. Slugs though…

    Must. Die.

  10. My five year old daughter loves snail and worms.( Anything that is alive in reality!)All snails are called flossy and worms wigs, I can not discourage her passion for all living things and I am a gardener

    On one occasion we had to rush a baby pigeon to the vet for her, she was gutted when it did not survive, we had to bring it home to bury in the garden,

    Good to know we are not the only softies out there!

  11. Mischief indeed?As for the snails mercy mission… I'm not sure if it's cute or disturbing, so just tell me you changed your gloves.

  12. I have a vivid memory of when I was a kid, going out one night with my dad. Slugs had been a big problem on his allotment patch, so we took our 'half moon' edging tools and spades and set to work on the little buggers. It was not a pretty sight, and many a slug met their end that fateful evening. Snails are just really slugs with shells on. They are a very valid part of the ecosystem, though. By saving snails you're probably preventing the demise of the planet through some improbable connection. Good work, Brian !

  13. The poor snails! I understand the feeling. My husband is terrified of spiders and would like me to slaughter them when they're found inside our home. I send him off in another room, tell him I'm going to launch a full assault on the poor defenceless creature, make horrible warrior cry sounds… and gently scoop up the spider and drop it outside in the garden.I have a soft spot for wee snails – but do agree with the rest of your readers. Slugs. Must. Go. Earwigs, too. *shudder*

  14. Don't have snails in my part of the world at least not anywhere but petstores. We do have prairie dogs everywhere, its sad to see roadkill all the time. Another is racoons, they are creepy and are not afraid of you and will attack… also squirrels… ^^;;I don't think anything is wierd about not wanting to kill snails, didn't know you can kill them like that, I think I would be freaked out if I was stepping on snails and killing them, would give me a heart attack! Also I probably wouldn't be able to sleep at night or at least have nightmares about it. ~_~

  15. Snails – Very nice with butter, parsley and garlic. My first flat was described as a 'garden flat'. For once the estate agent was not bending the truth – it's not particularly pleasant to stand barefoot on a slug when getting out of bed, or to find a slug trail across the pillow. Ended up resorting to using salt as shakeandvac.Here we have a dormouse problem – they live in the loft and over 5 years have eaten through most of the insulation, not to mention a few lighting circuits. The ceilings are wooden so we get woken up by scurrying claws running around just above your head – nothing better for freaking the kids out. I refuse to kill them – not only are they very cute, but also becoming rarer and rarer. We've stuck some ultrasonic devises and wind chimes up there top try to encourage them to move to the empty house next door. Yes, we do have a cat, she's scared of them! Not only that but she persists in bringing us live mice as presents and dropping them so that we can have the fun of chasung them round the kitchen and poking them out form under the cupboards with broom handles. She's starting to do the same for our neighbour so local popularity stakes in decline. In a similar vein, said neighbour thinks we're potty because we always leave spare room shutters open so the bats can roost.

    Sorry this is longer than intended.

  16. When I was a kid I had pet snails, and my brother ate them! I was so upset!I still save worms from puddles and dance around snails to avoid stomping on them.

    P.S. I bought your book, late night reading for after a shift! Wonder how long it'll take to get to Australia…

  17. Glad to know you have a conscience about our little shelled friends, I too hate stepping on them and their camoflage is excellent against dark pavements at night especially at this time of year when they are on the move (why? where? what for?)… it is just respect for nature and I am heartened by your comments.Sage

  18. Oh I sympathise! My route out to the car on damp evenings is punctuated by “Sorry!”, “Sorry!” all the way…

  19. i have a huge garden and there is nothing grosser than accidently stepping on snail (or killer slug, which are huge brown slugs with no shells). the crunchy sound and guts stuck to the bottom of my shoe is enough to make me vomit right there on my strawberry feild.

  20. as much as I dispise snails, I hate it when my little size 4's come crushing down on them. Evidently I stood on a slug last week with just my socks on, felt like snot, bleugh!Liz & Baby Josh

    p.s I have ordered a copy of your book, my local Ottakers had sold out *wink*

  21. I used to save snails that slimed their way into my tiny patch of garden. But one night I realised that a cull was required, if only to safeguard their food supply for future generations. I won't tell you how many hundreds went under my boot that first night…

  22. Dormice are protected species – it's illegal to kill them anyway. they're more likely to be house/field mice, which you can destroy with impunity! Although only in a humane way of course.

  23. I like spiders. They eat flies :)I can't bear to be in the same room as daddy longlegs though *shudder*.. and why do they always appear when I'm trying to EAT? They're intelligent, I'm convinced of it.

  24. I save them all too-even when it's not raining.! still find the sight of a baby snail trying to find it's way across a hazardous road, simply amazing.To any gardeners that are thinking of killing them-try food instead.I have successfully weaned the snails off my roses and hebes by leaving cat food biscuits out…they do grow an awful lot though…

  25. I have a very beautiful garden too, with long roses growing everywhere. I am not particularly found of snails as they tend to eat everything that is green in my garden. But I do nothing against them as they are gentle creatures and don't really harm anyone.

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