Friday, June 19, 2009

Slimey Fun

Of all the critters I've kept in jars over my lifetime, I've never had the opportunity to observe snails this closely. Though our science this past week was planned for Cullen's benefit, I've been delighted to learn a few things myself!

We kept three snails for several days in a large jar with air holes and a moist dirt floor. They didn't appear to be terribly afraid of us and would tolerate some handling without even retracting into their shells. Cullen and I were both surprised at how quickly these little guys can move! Of course, being the little boy that he is, Cullen was most fascinated with snail poopy - hard, dark and shiny left all over the jar. I have to admit, it didn't look at all like I would have thought it should!

Cullen wanted very much to see how it felt to let a snail crawl on his hand. This was a great deal of fun, but he did wash his hands two or three times afterward!

The most surprising thing that he discovered while playing with the snails amazed me. Did you know that you can actually hear a snail eat? Their tongues grate off bits of leaf (or cucumber peel in this case) as they lick. When we were very quiet and held our hungriest snail close, it was easy hear a soft, rhythmic rasping as it munched away.

He made a couple of pages for his science notebook - one specifically on snail observations and body parts, the other on mollusks in general. We are leisurely moving along to echinoderms then insects next. Getting a little science worked into summer fun is easy around here. Cullen considers this more fun than anything else. Me, too!


Taylor said...

Who knew snails could chew?
(Sounds like a Dr. Suess book, huh?)

G said...

That's really cool! I bet my Fairy would love this - she seems to have an affinity for snails.

Barbara said...

Very cool science project! I think I might know of someone else who would enjoy this. Now to find a couple of snails...

Sravani said...

That is an awesome project. My kids enjoy watching and following snail trails even today:) Also if you get a chance try and get a couple of earthworms and snails together for an observation. Try to compare the distance traveled by both at a certain see which moves faster; you will be surprised to learn a few things there as well, like earthworm would consume the snail poop:))