Manukau Courier - - GARDENING -

Walk­ing to work very early one damp morn­ing I spot­ted hun­dreds of snails on the white picket fences lin­ing street af­ter street of Pon­sonby vil­las. It re­minded me to go on a snail hunt at home.

A snail can lay up to 120 eggs at a time ev­ery six weeks or so. Ev­ery snail dis­posed of now won’t be around to con­trib­ute 500 or more ba­bies to the po­ten­tial ex­plo­sion over the rest of the sea­son.

My usual hunt­ing tech­nique is to take a late evening stroll with a bucket of hot wa­ter and a torch, but this year I have a new weapon. It’s

a nifty beanie with built in LED lights so I’ve got both hands free to gather the blighters.

Top snail hang­outs at my place are on the strappy leaves of di­etes and bulbs, un­der the rims of glazed pots and among bromeli­ads. You can even make tempt­ing places for them to hang out so you can gather them up eas­ily. Half grape­fruit skins placed up­side­down are ideal. Prop the skins up slightly on one side so slugs and snails can slither in un­der­neath.

Feed the corpses to the thrushes and black­birds the next morn­ing.

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