Friday, 3 May 2013

Dwindling Number Of Garden Snails

Empty Snail Shells - What Is Killing Them?Back in February and March 2013, there were a few blog postings at Ipoh Happenings talking about some extreme levels of solar UV radiation that was bombarding Ipoh back then. The weather in Ipoh has definitely been quite extreme in recent months. I can feel in it my skin while doing my gardening. The day time temperature can be quite unbearable at times. And this can drag on for a number of days, sometimes without any rain to cool us off.

I do wonder though if this excessive UV radiation and extreme heat is taking a toll on the snails in my garden. There seems to be a significant drop in their numbers, although nothing much has changed in my environment. There is still enough shady places for them to hide. I first noticed this back in January 2013. At that time, I could not find any live snail but just some empty snail shells under some shrubs and overgrown weeds. I had a peek at my garden again yesterday, and all I could find was just a single snail, measuring about 2 inches in length. Still a lot of empty snail shells, although the colour of these shells do appear to be fading.

I do not use any pesticide or herbicide in my garden. So they are not being poisoned. I do use chemical fertilizers but quite sparingly. Therefore, I do not thing my chemical fertilizer usage is harming them.

Snails are often regarded as the most bothersome and formidable pest in the garden. There used to be a lot of them and getting rid of them seemed to be an impossible task in my garden at one time. But with the current decline in their population, I do wonder if this is something that we should be worried about as we are all living in the same ecosystem. And in an ecosystem, we all depend on each other in one way or another, either directly or indirectly.

Update: 3rd October 2014

After a lapse of something like a-year-and-a-half, I am beginning to notice the presence of live snails of various sizes in both my front and back garden again. Now that is a good sign in ecological terms. We did have a very hot and dry spell in 2014 that is very much more severe than last year. So the extreme UV radiation might not be the likely cause of the decline in the snail population last year. I am unsure of the reason, to be honest. Flatworms maybe, as I have spotted some although I am not sure if they are the New Guinea flatworms that are causing havoc to the wild snails in Britain, Europe and the Indo-Pacific; or perhaps there was some snail disease that we are not aware of, possibly localised within the area where I live.



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