Tuesday, June 07, 2011

How not to be supper

Crabs will eat anything, fresh or old, plant or animal. One of their favourite treats, though, is fresh snail meat, so fresh it's still squirming. My shore crabs spend a good part of their time trying to break through snail shells, not always as successfully as they'd like.

Big male, showing off his snail cracking tool.

Asian mud snails, up on the glass where the crabs can't get them.

These two snails are survivors, and bear their scars proudly. The lower one has had the worst of it; extensive damage near the lip, where the crabs prefer to start work, and a large patch taken out of the upper spiral. Lucky for her that their shells are so thick. Or rather, it's an arms race; if your enemies have humongous shell-cracking pincers, you'd better wear heavy armour and keep it repaired. Climbing walls helps, too.

The snail on the right has patched the big gap in her shell; only the scars remain.

Lips, patched and freshly broken.

The snails won this round.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know this about sea-snails but have been impressed by the way the shells of garden snails stick back together - sometimes in awkward shapes.

    Do you know how much pain these shell attacks cause?



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