May 31, 2012

Escargots Anyone?

 "There's a big snail on the balcony, you should check it out when you get home."
Sensible enough advise from a wife fascinated by all animals and sweet enough to humor my newfound macro obsession. About the width of a quarter I found this snail eating some bird droppings on the pavement and started playing around with my macro gear. Eventually I poked it a bit as it had retracted into its shell when I approached.
 "Sweet merciful God, why won't it stop screaming?" you are probably thinking at this point. Snails seem to be able to fold up and invert pretty much their entire head, to the point that its eyestalks (which are probably a third of its body length each) can be not only retracted into its shell, but withdrawn completely into its own head.
 Even a pair of tentacles by its mouth (that they apparently use to smell) are likewise suctioned right into the head, presumably so nothing is dangling out and an easy meal for a passing bird. Once the face fully flopped out it peered around with its eyestalks peering in different directions and surveying its surroundings for predators or anything else that should concern it.
Once again I appreciate macro photography for taking the more insignificant things in life and making them stunning. I have seen thousands of snails in my life but rarely stop to take in what a marvel of biology they are in their own right.

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