Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Snails Stink!!!...I Mean BAD!!!

I love researching things from nature. I love finding new species of insects, birds, animal tracks, feathers, plant pods, even bones and dung and finding out what they are, or who they belong to. Before the internet, I would check out nature books from the library, or thumb through my collection of well worn "Guide Books" with subjects like Mammals of North America, Pond Life, Trees Species of Michigan or my favorite Audobon Book of Birds. That's why I started Wild Wednesday on the blog. I thought you all might enjoy the small nature discoveries that I find, and maybe be inspired to share some of your own!

That was my thought when Zach and I went fishing the other day and found this fabulous snail. I hoped to take this photo and then share with you all the fascinating things I found out about this wondrous, la la!

And I did do research when I got home...but it had less to do with the snail's biological interests and more to do with how to remove a horrible, horrible ODOR!!!

I've seen similar, large shells on the shores of our local lakes, but never this large, and never this black. The blackness, I attributed to the fact that the snail was still inhabiting the shell and giving it an opaqueness through its somewhat translucent home. I've only ever found these shells empty, this one appeared to be alive...or so I thought.

I've always had the assumption that if a snail is still in it's shell and the hard, disk-like "door" or Operculum (as I found out) is retracted and closed, the snail is alive.

This assumption is a mistake...a HUGE mistake!

The episode went something like this. 

We approached the lake shore with tackle boxes and fishing poles in hand. The sun was low in the sky, there was a warm breeze coming off the lake, cupcakes and rainbows sprouting up everywhere! Zach cast his line out and I saw the snail.

"Look at that cool shell!" I exclaimed with delight! "I'm going to take a photo of it and share it on the blog and tell the world about all the happy snail facts I will find!"...ok, so maybe I didn't say all that, but it may or may not have been running through my head at the time.

I couldn't reach it with my stubby arms, so I got Zach in on the adventure...He won't mind!

Zach plucked the snail out of the problem at all. Zach's the hero of snail blogs!

He handed me the snail and I squealed with delight!

Shortly after this I got a whiff of something coming from the lake.

"Ugh! The water smells bad over here. Something must have died! Here Zach, hold the snail while I get my camera." 

Where Zach exclaimed..."Ugh, I smell it too! Yeah, something's rotten!"

I took a few pictures of the snail, and we let him go.

We decided that we didn't want to go fishing in a lake that smelled like death so we got back in the car and started looking for another fishing hole.

In the car... we could still smell the smell. A mile down the road... we cold still smell the smell.

"What the heck! Did we step in something?"

"I don't know, but I'm rolling down my window"

It was my ever present allergies that brought the source of the smell crashing down around us. I grabbed a Kleenex from my car stash, and upon bringing my hands up to my nose, my sinuses were cleared...and it had nothing to do with tissue.

"Oh my gosh!" I gagged. "Oh my gosh, smell your hands!"

Zach took a quick whiff of his own hands, where his nose too was assaulted and gagged in a similar fashion. 

All attempts at fishing at this point were negated by the smell, and we drove home as fast as we could with our hands out the window. Every once in a while a cross breeze would swoop over and send us into gagging fits...Did I mention how much I love nature?

When we got home we both dashed for the bathroom where we began scrubbing. After the first wash, it was evident that mere hand soap was not going to cut it. I got the Dawn...Dawn cleans everything right?

Nope...not stinky snail smell.

Peroxide...nope. Lemon...nope...vinegar, baking soda, tomato juice, a combination of those...nope, nope, nope.

I even doused my hands in Odor Eaters foot powder, which just created a sickeningly mint-y version of the horridness. 

It was about this time when we started searching the internet on ways to remove stinky snail smell. I did find that this particular snail does have a name, it was most likely a Mystery snail and an invasive species at that! Stinky little bugger. Oh, and not a good idea to handle them as they might carry a parasite that can cause Swimmer's Itch, a non serious yet annoying rash.

Wait...let's reference the photo again...Yup there's my hand in the photo.

Luckily there were no break-outs.

The reason why it smelled so bad was because it was in fact dead. Evidently we are not the first two schmucks to find themselves in this predicament...ahh the internet...

Snails actually are quite famous for smelling like the third circle of hell when they die. We must have missed the memo. 

Most people suggested the above remedies to get the smell off, but that in the end, it wold just have to wear off.

Which it did, but lesson learned. Let snails lie.  


Mindie Dittemore said...

LOL beautiful snail and great story!!! So glad you didn't get the itch!

Unknown said...

This just happened to me!!! I started to clean with Dawn, then Clorox!!! I still stink!! I even changed my clothes thinking this would help... its horrific!!

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