The day started like any other, until my human noticed something on the kale in her veg box. It was more animal than vegetable, that’s for sure!
That was the moment Sammy the snail joined the family. Having hitched a ride on that kale leaf, he then made his home in the sponge holder.
Now, he spends his days travelling slowly to and from the sink to drink water and munch leftovers.
And I must say he’s got a pretty sweet deal. I can’t stand the taste of snails and our housemate Harry the huntsman isn’t interested either. So Sammy lives without fear of lurking predators.
We don’t know much about his life before the sponge holder. But these days, he meets all his needs within a space no bigger than 50cm squared.
Makes you think, doesn’t it? Sammy adapted to his new surroundings and found himself a new niche. (We’ll talk more about niches later.)
And don’t you think humans could learn a thing or two from Sammy? Like life is more satisfying if you stay local, slow down, use what you have, value every drop of water and munch more leftovers.
DID YOU KNOW...
You’ve probably heard of a niche in the human world. Maybe to do with your specialism at work or your hobbies at the weekend.
But did you know animals have a niche too? In this video, Reginald the red wolf explains his niche. It doesn’t mean he’s a bricklayer or he’s great at archery.
In the animal world, niche refers to Reginald’s role in his environment, what he eats and how he interacts with the living and non-living things in his environment.
THE DIRT WORTH ROLLING IN...
- The snails carrying the weight of our global biodiversity crisis on their backs
- Home sweet home: helping burrowing owls find their forever nest
- Beyond the kale: babies turn their nose up at leafy veg, even in utero
ANDRE HUNTS DOWN THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
'Andre, my dog Rex eats anything he can get his paws on. With a garden full of juicy snails, should I be worried?'
You’re right to worry. When it comes to snails and slugs, Rex needs to turn tail. They aren’t poisonous to dogs themselves, but could carry a nasty parasite that could make Rex quite literally sick as a dog.
Luckily, most pooches aren’t into the idea of snaffling snails thanks to their coat of foul-tasting slime. If Rex seems tempted, I’d suggest training him to prefer toys and treats.
Many humans think dogs have such strong bellies they can eat anything. But in fact, my furry friends should say no to caterpillars, bees, wasps, beetles, cockroaches and crickets.
Even more surprising, some of your favourite human foods could land Rex in a spot of trouble. So, make sure to keep onions, garlic, grapes, chocolate and macadamia nuts well out of reach.
HUMANS WHO PLAY NICE WITH THE PLANET®
Energy Garden is an organisation that creates community gardens across London. Over 300 regular volunteers have created 34 solar powered spaces so far.
Often next to train stations, commuters gather to grow food, keep bees, create habitat for hedgehogs (and snails!) and even brew beer.
We really rate the practical and creative chops it takes to turn any available space into an opportunity to make a difference and affect climate change.
That's all for this month. I'm off to look for glistening snail trails in the front garden.
See you in February.
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