A Rainy, Snaily Monday

It’s an overcast morning and the clouds are promising much rain; as I walked around our hill, I almost stepped upon some foamy, mating snails.snails matingSince I’ve never seen snail mate before, I took a closer look and realized that it was not two snails mating . . . but three!.
snails matingBefore snails mate, they spend several hours courting . . . where they twist themselves around each other and cover themselves in frothy slime.

snails matingAfterward, they come together and shoot each other with arrows of love or love darts.

The love dart is the white part of the snail seen in the picture at left.

The love arrow or love dart is covered with hormones which make fertilization successful. After both snails have fired their darts, they copulate and exchange sperm.
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I also saw other species of snails this morning. They seemed to have come out because of last night’s rains.

This snail is another example of an air-breathing land snail. It has a one-piece, spiral shaped shell.snail on branchSnails are  nocturnal animals and they feed mainly on disintegrating leaves, mushrooms, roots and fruit.

This other garden snail has a one-piece, flat, spiral shell. I’ve never seen one alive before; I’ve only come across their empty shells while gardening.land snailAs a matter of fact I’ve placed heaps of their empty shells in our rock garden.empty snail shellsThese empty snail shells are actually the external skeletons or exoskeletons used for protecting snails against predators, the sun and against drying out.

Soon it began raining again, and as I prepared to leave the hill, I noticed that the three-some were done mating. I have never seen snails move so quickly in all my life! As the rains came, we all made a hasty dash to escape becoming wet.
after mating - snails

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